Inside DK

Q & A with Stephanie Martinez

Stephanie Trio

Chicago choreographer Stephanie Martinez is much in demand—many people have said her "star is on the rise," including Dance Magazine. For Dance Kaleidoscope's performances of Dance is a Contact Sport (June 1-4 at IRT), Stephanie has created a marvelous dance/theater piece that has taken both her and the DK dancers out of their comfort zones.

In ten words or less, how would you describe your new piece?
A look into the sports world told through an abstract point of view.

Stu Mariel Steph whiteWhere did the idea for your new piece come from?
The idea came from my first time in Indy when I was creating on the company. I was walking around downtown before my  premier and was struck by the passion and enthusiasm the fans had for their sports teams. I feel that way about dance and thought what a great opportunity it would be to merge them both together.

Did you and your assistants work on the piece before traveling to Indianapolis?
Yes, my assistants and I did quite a bit of pre-prep and research before we came to DK. This is not an ordinary ballet. It took months to conceptualize a clear idea and the music design was a whole other beast to tackle. The movement vocabulary also needed to be created beforehand.

How much did your vision for the piece change once you were in the DK studio?
As far as the work and my vision, I really allow for any new creation to take true shape in the room. We plan but allow things to unfold. That’s the magic of process. The work actually evolved and exceeded my expectations.

How would you describe the DK dancers?
The DK dancers are incredible people and artists. They truly can take ideas, material, and concepts and bring them to life. This was not an easy subject because it could have been perceived as literal and perhaps a bit corny. I really wanted the dancers to amplify the love of sports through a fans eye and they embraced the challenge, evolving in front of my eyes.

What was most surprising from your time in the studio, creating this piece on DK?Marie Cody sm
The most surprising thing that came out of this process was finding out how much personality the dancers have individually and as a group. They were incredibly open to new ideas, unafraid to make mistakes, and able to laugh at themselves when beautiful mistakes did happen. The fun and energetic ballet you are about to see is a direct result of the willingness and playfulness they had with me in the room.
 
What’s next for you?
I will be spending time at home in Chicago preparing for my upcoming commisions for Ballet Memphis, Cincinnati Ballet, Dallas Black Dance Theater, Charlotte Ballet, and a world-premier for the Joffrey Ballet.

Get Tickets to see Stephanie's new piece for DK here.

Black and white photos by Chris Crawl, color photos by Freddie Kelvin.

Designing DIVAS Costumes

Costume designer Guy Clark has designed several sets of costumes for DK. His current project is designing and overseeing the build on a splashy new set of costumes for DIVAS (Feb 9-12 at IRT). Get tickets with this link or call 317-635-5252.

Q: What was your inspiration for these two sets of costumes?
A: My inspiration comes from a variety of sources -the music, the dancers, and the choreographers. The individual looks of Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin certainly inspired me as I was designing -not necessarily to design pieces they might have worn, but to bring a bit of the personal style of each of them to the pieces.
 
Q: Please tell us about the hand dying that your costume shop has done for DIVAS. 
A: The dying is a combination of vat-dipped ombre and old-fashioned tie-dye. Each piece is unique, created  by Jessica Hayes and Stephanie Eubank, the very talented drapers at Indiana Repertory Theatre, with the skilled assistance of the IRT costume shop staff -Christi Parker, Kelsey Sikes, and Judith Skyles. We've also had great help from our new intern, Butler student Laura Scobell, and local fashion legend (and former IRT costume shop draper) Catherine Fritsch.

Codys costume

Q: Did you listen to any of the music that would be used in the show as you designed?
A: I always find the music a great source of inspiration while I'm designing for DK. I grew up listening to Aretha Franklin and Janis Joplin, so I was already very familiar with their music.

Q: You've designed for most of the DK dancers before. Were you at all inspired by their personalities or the way they dance?
A: The DK dancers have taught me so much about the very practical aspects of designing for dance, as have David and Nick. Watching how each dancer moves, as well as how the troupemoves together, helps me imagine costumes that I hope will be appealing on each dancer and have a cohesion of design.
 
Jill Janis costume
Q: The design for Jillian Godwin in the Janis Joplin piece is more elaborate than the others. Tell us about your creative process and intent for that costume. 
A: Jill's costume came out of discussions with her andchoreographer David Hochoy. For her solo piece, I imagined Jill's look as more a character from the song "Me & Bobby McGee" than as a Janis Joplin costume. 
 
Q: The silhouettes and fabrics for both the boys and girls' costumes in the Aretha Franklin piece are inventive. Please tell us about the inspiration and desired feel for them. 
A: The Aretha pieces developed from conversations with the choreographer, Nick Owens. We were working to bring movement into the costumes. The fabric we chose is a lightweight stretch  net that Ihope reflectsthe elegant sensuality of Ms. Franklin's voice.
 

 

Meet the DK Dancers - Video

The DK dancers have passion and dedication for dance and Dance Kaleidoscope. In this video by WFYI Productions, the dancers voice their feelings about dance while dancing in urban areas around Indianapolis.

brandon video

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October 2016

Dancing Outside DK

DK dancers Phillip Crawshaw, Jillian Godwin and Stuart Coleman are appearing in performances with other companies this summer. We wanted to catch up with them to hear how their expereinces there are going.

Artistic Director David Hochoy says, "DK dancers are known for their versatility and their ability to seem at home in a number of different styles of dance. Audience members are constantly saying to me, 'I didn't know they were such good actors!' It's healthy for our dancers to venture into new explorations of their talent and artistry, so I encourage them to pursue these opportunities. There is indeed no limit to the ever-expanding well of creativity and expression that dwells in all of us."

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Q & A with Phillip Crawshaw

May 17, 2016
Phillip Crawshaw QA

Why do you dance?
Dance is not only physically demanding, but incorporating the emotion and spirit of the dance is challenging, yet so rewarding. Although I love to talk, words never come easy to me. Dance allows me to communicate through my body. I have tried stepping away from dance a few times, but I have always returned to dance. Sometimes being away from something, you realize how much love and passion you have for it.

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Q & A with David Hochoy

DK's Artistic Director, David Hochoy, was approached by Alexa Harris who is working on a project about what it's like to go into the dance field called Careers in Art Project. She granted DK permission to publish her Q&A here.
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What is your favorite part of being DK's artistic director?
Choreographing dances, and watching the dancers evolve with time, training and patience.

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Q & A with Mariel Greenlee

April 18, 2016
Mariel Greenlee sm

Why do you dance?
Because it was always the only activity, and later, the only way of life that made sense for me. It's my language of choice, my passion and my greatest joy.

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Q & A with Caitlin Negron

April 18, 2016
Caitlin headshot

Why do you dance?
I feel like I have to. I am most myself and at ease when I'm in the studio dancing, learning and creating with other artists. I saw a dancer at a conference accept an award one time and he said thank you in his "first language" with a small dance. That's how I feel and why I dance. It is the most natural way I know how to communicate.

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Q & A with Aleksa Lukasiewicz

April 18, 2016
Aleksa headshot

Why do you dance?
I dance because it the most fulfilling activity I have ever come across. It is a physical, mental and emotional challenge. I get to open up and be myself, yet also play an endless amount of characters. I get to be part of a team and accomplish amazing feats, then sometimes I get the chance to shine on my own. It never gets boring and not to mention, its fun!

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Q & A with Mandy Milligan

April 12, 2016
Mandy2015

Why do you dance?
I dance because I love the architecture of the body, and I love telling stories that are too complex for words. I also like the idea that an emotion can take over your body so completely that it makes you move in a different way. Only dance can show that.

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Q & A with Zach Young

April 8, 2016
Zach Young sm

Why do you dance?
I dance because it allows me to express any and every emotion known to man. Being able to express myself onstage for an audience and having them be touched by that means everything to me.

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Q & A with Jillian Godwin

April 6, 2016
Jillian Godwin

Why do you dance?
Dancing is the best medium for me to express myself. I was always shy and slightly clumsy as a kid. My grandma told my mom to put me in a dance class, so she did and it took off from there.

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Q & A with Timothy June

April 6, 2016
Tim 2016

 

Why do you dance?
I've been asked this question many times, and I think I give a different answer each time. The first part of the reason is rather selfish: I love movement and the way it makes me feel. I love the feeling of being on stage and making art. Live performance is temporary and I love the stress and pressure of knowing there are no do-overs or second chances. The second half of my answer is that I dance to communicate. I love when dance has an emotional effect on an audience. There is an unspoken dialogue from dancer to audience that inspires me. Dance can be used to entertain and wow audiences, but it can also be used to speak to their souls. 

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Q & A with Emily Dyson

April 6, 2016
Emily approved sm

Why do you dance?
I am not always good with my words or speaking in front of people and dance allows me to be the most honest version of myself without any reservations. Dance also helps push me to new boundaries and gives me the opportunity to discover something new about myself every day.

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Q & A with Brandon Comer

April 6, 2016
Brandon headshot

Why do you dance?
I dance because I get to share my joy and passion for what I love through my art. Being on stage is like no other feeling in the world. The adrenaline rush you get when you get done with a show and you're exhausted and the crowd is cheering is one of my favorite parts about my job. It makes you feel accomplished about all the hard work that you put into each rehearsal and show.

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Q & A with Stuart Coleman

April 5, 2016
Stu approved sm

Why do you dance?
Before I was dancing, I was dancing. Years before my first dance class, I was choreographing dances to songs on the radio and spontaneously breaking out in dance in front of my classmates in school. Taking dance lessons just gave me structure to a passion that was always inside me.

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Q & A with Noah Trulock

April 4, 2016
Noah 2015

Why do you dance?
Dancing resonated with me. It was one of those things that the more I delved into it, the more I wanted to know. Before I knew it, I was dreaming about the seemingly impossible idea of becoming good enough to make it to a professional level. And here I am!

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