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reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

One of the many, very special things about living in Central Indiana is the remarkable number of Christmas entertainments that are available in the month of December. Over the years, I have enjoyed many of the holiday revues, the Christmas Carols, the symphonic celebrations, and the cheerful holiday themed plays and programs that are offered here. They are wonderfully traditional fare and they form an enduring fabric of the season for us all. This year, I had the opportunity to savor a different sort of celebration – one consisting entirely of dance.

Dance Kaleidoscope’s festive offering, A World of Christmas, is currently lighting up the UpperStage at IRT with a jubilee of dance selections that are both delightful and sublime. Under the inventive hand of choreographer David Hochoy, the DK troupe stages two very differing pieces: Hochoy’s 1997 creation, Ceremony of Carols, and his evolving set of internationally inspired and themed works entitled World of Christmas Kaleidoscope.

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One of the many beautiful arrangements from David Hochoy’s “Ceremony of Carols”, part of  “A World of Christmas”.

The first, Ceremony of Carols, opens with an immediate impression of purity and light as the dancers arrive bearing gifts created by the Herron High School sculpture class, and wearing costumer Cheryl Sparks’ varietal immaculate white creations. Moody lighting by Laura E. Glover enhances the imagery. The dancers perform a series of mostly brief presentations set to music by Benjamin Britten which places the ensemble on a softened ethereal plain. The choreography is flowing and precise, very much a set of momentary still images connected by graceful repositionings. In total, the combined sets result in a serene and hopeful feeling.

The second half of the performance, World of Christmas Kaleidoscope, is much more bright and lively. The appealing selections begin with Mariel Greenlee’s playful rendition of “Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy” celebrating Russian influences, continuing on through group dances of the USA’s “Here Comes Santa Claus” and a Hawaiian favorite, “Mele Kalikimaka”, plus solos by Stuart Coleman (a sharp “White Christmas”), and the Norwegian carol “Kling no Klokka” – a smoothly striking piece performed by Emily Dyson.  Through it all I noticed not a peep from the 3 year old in my neighboring seat, who was entirely transfixed by the wonderful dancers.

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Emily Dyson performs to “Kling no Klokka” (“Now the Bells are Ringing”) as part of “World of Christmas Kaleidoscope”.

The remaining renditions visit Spain, for an emotional duet depicting Mary and Joseph’s search for lodging; then it’s on to Jamaica, for the bouncy island beat of “All I Want for Christmas”; and Benin for a striking “O Holy Night”, one of my favorites. The set concludes with a return to the first act’s stylings for “Silent Night”.

Finale

The Dance Kaleidoscope company performs “Mele Kalikimaka”, a part of “World of Christmas Kaleidoscope”.

This awesome holiday show confirms for me the following truths: I consider DK to be an artistic treasure that we are fortunate to have access to in Central Indiana. The dancers are all strong, precise and amazing performers, whether as a group or in duets and solos. The leadership provided by Mr. Hochoy cannot be overlooked – his vision as a choreographer is creative and unique, full of vitality and imagination. This celebration of Christmas is a gift to the city, and is hopefully a pleasant new addition to Indianapolis’ traditions.

A World of Christmas continues Thurs-Sun, Dec 7-10 on the IRT 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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