reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Dance Kaleidoscope completes it’s 2016-17 season with a compilation of pieces presented on Indiana Repertory Theatre’s OneAmerica Stage. Dance is a Contact Sport features two excerpts from DK Artistic Director David Hochoy’s catalogue of works, along with a creation by guest artist Kiesha Lalama and the premiere of a new work by choreographer Stephanie Martinez.

The evening begins with a selection from Hochoy’s 1991 work, First Light. This dance is presented over a spectacular piece of music – “Short Ride in a Fast Machine” by John Adams. The composition, described as “a fanfare for orchestra”, gives the DK troupe an intense musical bed full of rising action with which to convey their most energetic movements. Propelled by this force of ever-increasing tension, the dancers are very successful in raising our pulses and taking our breath away. Of special note is the dynamic lighting by Laura E. Glover coupled with the intensely colorful costuming by Cheryl Sparks.

First Light

DK dancers perform David Hochoy’s “First Light” as part of “Dance is a Contact Sport” presented at IRT.

The mood changes to a smooth and romantic pace with Jillian Godwin and Zach Young’s sublime performance to Patsy Cline’s “Crazy” from Mr. Hochoy’s Deep in the Heart of Country (2014). This familiar ballad’s message of helpless love is sweetly imparted by the dancers’ skillful work and it provides a needed resting point between two very lively selections.

Crazy-Jillian Godwin-Zach Young

Jillian Godwin and Zach Young perform “Crazy” as part of “Dance is a Contact Sport” presented at IRT.

Kiesha Lalama’s Catapult, which she created with the DK troupe in 2015, begins with stillness. But this quietude is very much like a launch pad before the rocket blast. Soon enough the music (“Forget Your Limitations” by Rishi and Harshil) rises and the troupe catches fire, launching into a powerful display of energetic imagery. The assorted combinations work through amazingly vigorous sets of group dance, and featured solos, duets and trios. I was left breathless for a second time as DK’s corps of performers showed just why they are so highly regarded.

Catapult-Mariel Greenlee sized

Mariel Greenlee performs Kiesha Lalama’s “Catapult” with fellow DK dancers as part of “Dance is a Contact Sport” presented at IRT.

Intermission followed with an open discussion by Stephanie Martinez about the piece we were to see next – her new False Start, Pass Interference.


DK dancers perform the rollicking conclusion of Stephanie Martinez’s “False Start, Pass Interference” as part of “Dance is a Contact Sport” presented at IRT.

This long form work examines, celebrates, and satirizes sports in our culture, with good humor and raillery. Costumes by Michele Hankins emphasize “team” and the accompanying sound track features everything in sports – from field action and arena celebrations, to commentaries, tv commercials and congratulatory fan-songs. Very free-form and abstractly original in style, Ms. Martinez’s creation shows us aspects of sports participation, viewing, and fandom. And in the midst of all the frenzied hoopla, it slows down to take time for a beautifully sensitive look at a couple (Mariel Greenlee and Stuart Coleman) dealing with a situation due to sport fixation. Some of the composition’s highlights include Jillian Godwin’s feisty referee, Brandon Comer’s wild and wordy commentator, and something I believe I have never before witnessed – a singer dancing the national anthem! False Start, Pass Interference is a wonderfully imagined and perfectly presented new piece. Its unique and thoroughly enjoyable form presents a program dance on subject matter that surrounds us, but which is rarely featured in a format such as this. I’ll hope to see more from Ms. Martinez’s interesting creativity.

Dance is a Contact Sport only runs thru Sunday June 4th, so you will need to get your tickets rather quickly. You can get performance and ticket information by going to or by calling the IRT Ticket Office at 317.635.5252.

  • — Photos by Crowe’s Eye Photography