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Dance Kaleidoscope choreographers Nicholas A. Owens and David Hochoy have brought their visionary talents to the fore with the creation of Voices of a Generation: The Folk/Rock Revolution, which had its World Premier Thursday evening at IRT UpperStage.  Employing songs recorded by Bob Dylan, Simon and Garfunkle, Leonard Cohen, Stephen Stills, Joni Mitchell, Carole King, Richie Havens and The Byrds, this piece certainly spoke to me, because the generation voiced in this assemblage of 1960’s popular folk and rock music is my generation. Mssrs. Owens and Hochoy have taken on the job of showing the fabric of an older generation by expressing these familiar tunes with mood, color and form. Aided by costumes by Guy Clark and lighting design by Laura Glover, the results are extremely successful.

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From top: Paige Robinson, Mandy Milligan and Mariel Greenlee perform their haunting “Suzanne” (Leonard Cohen) in DK’s “Voices of a Generation”

Of course, an equal credit in the endeavor goes to the cadre of DK dancers. Performing tirelessly through the program of 17 songs, their movements and visuals provide exciting, joyous and even tearful moments. First act highlights include: Timothy June and company’s lighthearted “Mr. Tambourine Man” (Bob Dylan), a raucous Company rendition of “The House of the Rising Sun” (Nina Simone), and “The 59th Street Bridge Song (Feelin’ Groovy)” (Simon and Garfunkel) performed in a merry, bouncy solo by Brandon Comer. Leonard Cohen’s “Suzanne” is featured in a haunting depiction by a trio of dancers – Mariel Greenlee, Many Milligan and Paige Robinson, followed by a strong and stirring “For What It’s Worth” (Buffalo Springfield) showcasing six company members. The first half of the program ends with a very effective and emotional “Bridge Over Troubled Water” (Simon and Garfunkel) by the Company. I noticed more than one person wiping their eyes after this moving selection as the lights came up for intermission.

Dance K

The second act brings a change to brighter costumes and a continuance of first rate performances. There is a fine example of comic dance as Mariel Greenlee offers a witty solo for her amusing perception of “Twisted” (Joni Mitchell), followed by a display of thoughtful story-telling  in “Homeward Bound” (Simon and Garfunkel) with Noah Trulock in the lead role. A beautifully earnest interpretation of modern-day types of love is next with “Will You Love Me Tomorrow?” (Carole King). Following that, the company gives us a joyous conveyance of “Freedom” (Richie Havens), a sensitive and lovely “Both Sides Now” (Joni Mitchell) and a most striking version of “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (The Byrds) to close the offerings. As the audience stood to acknowledge what we had witnessed, I felt that this program could certainly not be topped for its originality, it’s sparkling performances and by this company’s knack for entertaining. I hope they will consider a tribute to the next decade sometime soon.

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The Dance Kaleidoscope Company ends “Voices of a Generation” with the impressive “Turn! Turn! Turn!” (The Byrds)

Bottom-line: DK’s new collection of dances is an evocative and colorful hit. A wonderful musical catalog, strong performances and extraordinary choreography make it a must-see, even if music from the 60’s is not what you grew up loving.

Dance Kaleidoscope’s Voices of a Generation: The Folk/Rock Revolution runs through March 6th on IRT’s UpperStage. Ticket information and schedules can be found at http://www.dancekal.org or by calling 317.635.5252.

  • – Photos by Crowe’s Eye Photography

 

 

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