reviewed by Ken Klingenmeier

Last evening See the Music, Hear the Dance opened it’s very limited run at Schrott Center for the Arts on the Butler University campus. The show is offered as a tandem performance by artistic director David Hochoy’s Dance Kaleidoscope company and the Indianapolis Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Matthew Kraemer. The program consisted of a trio of DK works accompanied by the ICO, plus one orchestral piece without dance.

It was my first chance to ever hear the ICO and I must say, they have an exquisite sound – rich and clear and perfectly blended. Their accompaniment for the DK offerings added a truly dynamic factor. The opening piece, “Ancient Airs and Dances” by Ottorino Respig (1879-1936) and the act two closer, “Ma Mere l’Oye (Mother Goose)” both benefited from the alliance between the two groups.

Paige Robinson (center) in the finale of Ma Mere l’Oye (Mother Goose)

The latter piece was officially noted as a world premiere. Based on a series of Mother Goose tales incorporated into this lyrical piece by Maurice Ravel (1875-1937) we visit Sleeping Beauty, Tom Thumb, and Beauty and the Beast, among others, in a soft and colorful array of dances. Costumes by Cheryl Sparks, Barry Doss, and Lydia Tanji aid the storytelling.

The highlight of the program is a presentation of George Gershwin’s masterpiece, “Rhapsody in Blue” featuring pianist Drew Petersen. This work is among my personal favorite compositions and the ICO and DK dancers absolutely wow the audience with their performance of it. Mr. Petersen is flawless as he masterfully interprets the classic Gershwin piece.

Dance Kaleidoscope dancers present a section of George Gershwin’s “Rhapsody in Blue”

This is a work with many sections and the DK troupe expressed a myriad of ideas in showing choreographer Hochoy’s explications. Some conceptions work better than others, but those that ‘click’ are a joy to watch. For example, a famous section, the melodic interlude which Paul Whiteman adopted as his orchestra’s theme for many years, is presented as a formal dance – the men in blue tails and the women in billowing gowns (yet another nod to costumer Cheryl Spark’s prowess) as the dancers swirl as in a 1940’s musical number. It was unexpected, perfect, and refined. The long and thunderous standing ovation for all involved in the piece was well deserved.

Bottomline: the balance between musical production and dance is well presented on this occasion. Both the dance troupe and the orchestra are precisely rehearsed and give exciting performances. You will need to rush to see this coupling of live music and dance though, as it closes May 19th.

See the Music, Hear the Dance continues through this weekend with a final performance on May 19th. Go to https://dancekal.org to find performance schedules and to reserve tickets or call 317.843.3800.

  • – photos by Crowe’s Eye Photography
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