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Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
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Dance Kaleidoscope's Kings & Queens of Country full of Whimsy

by Rita Kohn
March 9, 2014
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
4602 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208
317-940-6444
This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
Bursts of color, constantly changing configurations, lots of whimsy and a bit of heart-twanging are Dance Kaleidoscope's gift of Spring after a Winter of challenge in Kings & Queens of Country.

The world-premiere work set to music by Shania Twain, Johnny Cash, Martina McBride and more and choreographed by DK artistic director David Hochoy and Cynthia Pratt featured a mix of emotion.

Act One consisted of seven songs choreographed by Pratt unfolded various aspects of "Heart's Desire" from lost love made visible by slinging back a few sitting at the bar ["Drinkin' My Baby Goodbye"] to making tracks with "All the Roadrunning."

"Jolene" is a triad of intertwining limbs —who gets the man? Who gets the boot? Change-up of mood with Aleska Lukasiewicz and Noah Trulock melding into mutual infatuation with "Little Yellow Blanket." A lovely statement about long-term commitment rings out in "If I Needed You." Johnny Cash's driving beat pulsed through three couples with "Ring of Fire."

The showstopper was Mariel Greenlee and Timothy June taking us into layers of grief with "September When It Comes". Choreographed within the style of Flamenco, the dancers begin with defining the geography of the space-where they've come from; where they are now. Circling, they move from performance to inward contemplation, rootlessness. Raw human emotion imprinting; it's a story in space I'll remember.

David Hochoy choreographed Act Two into a breezy tour "Deep in the Heart of Country." Dolly Parton's "Here You Come Again" plays out in big moves lightheartedly pointing to gender-free, it-goes-both-ways "And here I go, here I go." With "Mammas Don't Let Your Babies Grow Up to be Cowboys" the story is pointed—they "ain't easy to love and harder to hold." Jillian Goodwin and Zach Young, conversely play out "Crazy" so we don't know exactly who is on the flip side of love. Hmm. Need to see this again to get all the nuances. Same for "Stand by Your Man," a youthful flirty duet between Emily Dyson and Justin David Sears-Watson turns on its head with the appearance of sexy Timothy June. What's a girl to do when the competition is a guy? Attend and find out yourself. It's a pithy counterpoint to Act One's "Jolene." And who but Hochoy would think to set Tanya Tucker's "Oh Lonesome Me" country swing to Jillian Godwin and Liberty Harris cutting it up as tap dancers?

"I'm a Ramblin' Man" intones Waylon Jennings and DK's quintet of male dancers take us on their jaunts cross-country emulating multiple means of transportation. But fasten your seat belts when the ladies let loose with "When God-Fearin' Women Get the Blues." They're flying off the stage to who knows where.

"Living in an old van," "Free" spins out another unexpected tale. And when the company uplifts with "Up!" you know in your bones when it gets that bad, there's no place but up. Closing the show is a good old-fashioned hoedown with everybody high steppin', whirlin', twirlin' having fun at one of those "Big Balls in Cowtown."

Guy Clark's costumes join with Laura E. Glover's lighting and projections for delightful visual effects. It's fun watching new apprentices Phillip Cranshaw and Missy Trulock integrate into the company.

For the record, "The West" is center stage in Indianapolis with Ansel Adams photographs on exhibit at the Eiteljorg Museum through Aug. 3 and Indianapolis Opera presenting "Girl of the Gold West" March 21 and 23 at Clowes.
Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in 'Kings & Queens of Country'.

Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in "Kings & Queens of Country".

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography


Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in 'Kings & Queens of Country'.

Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in "Kings & Queens of Country".

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography


Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in 'Kings & Queens of Country'.

Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in "Kings & Queens of Country".

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography


Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in 'Kings & Queens of Country'.

Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in "Kings & Queens of Country".

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography


Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in 'Kings & Queens of Country'.

Dance Kaleidoscope dancers in "Kings & Queens of Country".

Photo © & courtesy of Crowe's Eye Photography

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