Saturday, March 26, 2011


By Nancy Condit

The University of Central Oklahoma’s Kaleidoscope Dance Company Spring Concert Campus Collaborations showcased department collaborations with dance faculty and students, performing a combination of modern, jazz, hip-hop, and  ballet.  The last performance is at p. tonight, Saturday, March 26th at Mitchell Hall. 

UCO’s dance concerts are always anticipated by this reviewer because they bring something new to the stage with each series of performances.  This was a lower key, more introspective performance than usual, but more thought-provoking.  It would be great to see more collaborations in upcoming concerts, coupled with the well-know Kaleidoscope energy   The most memorable collaborations were “Simply Beatrice,” “Still,” and “Quiddity.”  The concert was the idea of Tina Kambour, assistant chair of dance.

“Sincerely Beatrice,” choreographed by  Robyn Pasternack, was a lovely barefoot, demi-point ballet danced around the grand piano and pianist David Forbat, collaborator from the School of Music, with a DMA from the Peabody Academy.  The composer was not given.  The five women performed a classical based dance, at one point very effectively leaning in a serpentine line against each other, starting at piano bench by Forbat and reclining onto the floor.  They were the nymphs of the music.  Forbat was a pleasure to hear.  “The goal of the collaboration between the Music and Dance Department was to create… a conversation between the two.  As David stated, ‘I suspect we are feeding off each others’ creative energy.  Certainly they are helping me to play with spontaneity – to dance with them, in mind and fingers, at the keyboard.’” From the program.

“The Still Point,” choreographed by Michelle Dexter, was a wonderfully meditative modern dance.  Collaborators were Diane Rudebock, department of kinesiology and health studies, Jacqueline de los Santos, department of art, and KaDee Bramlett, school of music.  Bramlett was also the composer of “Dreams” for Guitar and Piano and a performer, on the piano, with Mark Nokes, on the guitar.  Bramlett, Nokes and Kerry Folsom are also members of the group Quantum Calm.

Inspired by the labyrinth, the piece started with an oval setting of luminaries.  The dancers did wonderful circular moves, both as partners  and individually, exploring standing and floor space.  The music was melodically repetitive, reminiscent of a waltz.  The costumes were split skirted long lavender twilight colored dresses over open footed tights.

“Hip-Hop Time Machine,” choreographed by Hui Cha Poos and Emily South, was a funny view of the history of hip-hop.  The music was composed by collaborators Chris Hicks, Nathan Buchanan and Calvin Green, and Alejandro Lawson (ACM).  Most of the music performed on tape was by them, and included the group Shades – The Immaculate Nathan B, C.Y.?, and Ali.

A tall mannequin dressed from the ‘70s, with a ‘fro of the time, and suspenders on his jeans, tried to learn each subsequent style of hip-hop the dancers performed,  until he found the woman he could dance with, took her back to his place, posed her as a mannequin, and they stayed.

Dexter and Poos each have dance companies.  Dexter’s modern dance company “Perpetual Motion” will be performing June 3rd and 4th at the Plaza Theater on
N.W. 16th Street
.  Poos has a popular dance company R.A.C.E., which is tentatively scheduled to  perform the third weekend in June, with its performance titled ”R.A.C.E.: The Amazing R.A.C.E., when Reality Meets Dance,” with a place to be decided.

“Quiddity” was choreographed by Tina Kambour, with music by Rachel’s.  Collaborators were Ruki Ravikuman, chair of the department of design, and Adam Gault, a graduate student in the department of design.  The collaborative work was dedicated to the campus group GATE (Gay Alliance for Tolerance and Equality). 

The one word that came across in this piece was harmony – harmony in the effective white line drawings and words with the modern choreography and dancers, who then performed in harmony rather than precision groups.  Across the light blue-lit backdrop appeared phrases in script like “Always be yourself” or lists of “Why can’t you… be more like a girl?”  a giant outlined hand was drawn with two yo yos hanging from two fingers, and a balloon from the thumb.

Also impressive was Dexter’s modern dance “Bridges,” in which people walked in a continuous loop across an ever-changing bridge.  As one dancer became tired, another would catch them, carry them, until they could walk on their own, and support others.  Finally sections of the bridge were propped upright and the dancers gave each other a hand up. This was very similar to an ideal life.

For those who are looking for a comparison for the demands on contemporary dancers compared to ballet, while the jazz “Tarantella Suite” was not as technical, it was just as frenetic, energetic and enjoyable as the ballet version 

The dance was choreographed by the late Richard Denson who was a faculty member of the dance faculty from 2003-2006.  The performances were dedicated to him.

Tickets are $14 and down.


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