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Rita Kohn
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Indiana Repertory Theatre
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Dance Kaleidoscope - The Elvis Project

by Rita Kohn
January 8, 2011
Indiana Repertory Theatre
140 W. Washington Street
Indianapolis, IN 46204
(317) 635-5252
4 ½ stars
Dance Kaleidoscope, Indiana Repertory Theatre, Jan. 6-9; choreography by David Hochoy, "Elvis in Love," and Cynthia Pratt, "Taking Care of Business"; review from Jan. 8 program, marking the 75th birthday of Elvis Aaron Presley.

This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
Elvis is here. Not as a tribute to, or as an artist-impersonator of, but his artistry as a timeless, charismatic personality whose sense of humor, humility and kindness endure in his music. DK's two-part program visually, viscerally interpreted 20 songs that remain inter-generational because falling in love, making amends for behaving badly toward the one we love, and adjusting to lost love are part of our lives at every stage and age. Yet most important is Elvis' grasp of the context through which lyrics and music make their journeys, and so pertinent to this point, the stand out of the evening is David Hochoy's rendering of "Love Me Tender" on the Vietnam War service and death of two friends. Based on a tune adapted from a familiar Civil War ballad, "Aura Lee" (or "Aura Lea"), the simplicity of lyrics: "Love me tender, love me sweet, never let me go. You have made my life complete, and I love you so," against the depth of loss is seared in memory for this audience member. Danced in military settings by Brandon Comer and Zach Young, with Company members burying and mourning, this vignette serves as a personal wake up to the Iraq War bankrupting us on all levels. Elvis recorded "Love Me Tender" in 1957, a year before being inducted into the Army and serving 1958-1964.

Both acts of this premiere program began with "Slicin' Sand, Take off your shoes, put down your hair/Turn on the music and we'll get somewhere/Dance, dance, dance…" The wonderment is in the diverse choreographic interpretations by Hochoy and Cynthia Pratt. Hochoy's is sifting sand statuary coming into being and drifting out; Pratt's is hot, slinky erotic sun filled. Both suites fulfilled the dictum to "dance, dance, dance" and both interwove falling in love with making up: "Don't Be Cruel" and "Patch it Up" and "Always on My Mind." Both depicted young and tender vs older and wiser. Both caught the Elvis whimsy: Hochoy's flirty "His Latest Flame;" Pratt's smart "Trouble" deliciously ending with a human motorcycle. And both showed diverse attitudes: with Hochoy's "Teddy Bear" Jamie Ripsky and Brandon Comer romp through a teen scene; with Pratt's "Steamroller Blues," Brandon Comer, Kenoth Shane Patton, George Salina and Zach Young deliver a virtuoso jaded macho outlook. The Elvis Project deserves repetition. If you missed this premiere, go next time. Costumes, lighting, choreography and above all, the dancers, were in top form. Too bad the Colts weren't.

For a 75th birthday tribute to Elvis log on http://www.elvis.com/timeline/default.aspx
The Elvis Project

The Elvis Project

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography


The Elvis Project

The Elvis Project

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography


The Elvis Project

The Elvis Project

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography

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