Inside DK

Missy Thompson & Paige Robinson: On the Marquee

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Photos of dancers Missy Thompson and Paige Robinson have been in all the ads and signage for this weekend's performances of Women Sublime at Indiana Repertory Theatre. We thought we'd do a Q & A with them, so you can learn more about these two talented, beautiful women. If you're reading this before October 20, get tickets to see them in Women Sublime here.

Q: What was your first reaction when you saw this marquee at Indiana Repertorie Theatre?
Missy (M): I think it’s pretty awesome! It’s definitely a career milestone for me, and such an honor to represent the company in that way.
Paige (P):
It’s really weird to see myself larger than life, literally. I love the picture and think it looks beautiful but definitely weird to see myself up there.

Q: What does it feel like to see your photos all over town in ads for the show? Have friends or family contacted you after seeing the ads?
It’s a pretty cool feeling, seeing yourself in ads and on posters, but it also adds a feeling of responsibility to the company and to the integrity of the show as a whole. This show has some pretty serious content that tackles some very important issues. I feel humbled to be a part of this, and I know my family is proud.
I had a student come up and tell me she saw me in the mailer and in her mom's email. The look on her face was pretty priceless. My students are some of my favorite fans.

Q: Now on to the more important questions. Cats or dogs?
M: Dogs! Cats and kittens are cute, but I have always been a dog person. I love how loyal they are and what great companions they make.
Cats! I have two right now named Ellie and Maya.

Q: What are you reading right now?
M: I enjoy reading, but I pretty much stick to my favorites that I read over and over such as Jane Austen novels and classics like "Breakfast at Tiffany’s."
P: I love to read. I just finished reading "Little Fires Everywhere" by Celeste Ng. Now I’m reading "The Goldfinch."

Q: Are you superstitious?
M: I’m not superstitious. I’ve never really gotten into that.
P: Not particularly but before shows I have some habits and rituals.

Q: At the theater, what do you do 30 minutes before a show begins?
M: I’m usually finishing up my hair and makeup and keeping my body warm backstage. I don’t have any habits or rituals that I do—I like to keep my mind in the moment and be  prepared for anything that could happen in the show.
P: When we get our half hour call, I like to be almost done with my hair and makeup. I always put my costume on first then my lipstick. Once I get up to the stage I have a few things I have to do physically before every show, some of which warm me up and some of which just center my mind. I always have my headphones in and I have a pre show playlist I listen to. I don’t like to talk to people, I need to be alone to focus. 

Q: Do you get nervous? What do you do to stay calm before the curtain goes up?
M: Sometimes I get butterflies just before the curtain opens, but once I’m onstage those go away. I love to get lost in the moment onstage. There is a beautiful energy and freedom in performance that you can’t experience anywhere else. If I had to call it anything, I would say I get a rush of excitement.
P: Of course I get nervous. I get less nervous the more experience I’ve had but I have a trick. My figure skating coach told me to take deep breaths and to breathe all of my nerves and anxiety into the audience, towards my mom specifically, so that she would hold all my nerves till I was done. I think of that and take big deep breaths before every show. 

DK Senior Dancer Jillian Godwin

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September 23, 2019

Now in her 17th season dancing with Dance Kaleidoscope, Jillian Godwin is the senior dancer. This is a respected and important position because she helps pass the company's traditions and work ethics on to the younger dancers. 

This is a special time in my career. As I watch the newest dancers in the company, I realize that one day it will be time for them to take on my role. So, I want to show them every day what a dedicated, driven artist looks like.

I’ve seen quite a lot of change in myself since I started back in the early 2000’s. I was still just trying to find out who I was then and how I wanted to dance and express. I’ve come to realize that I am now dancing with my spirit to the fullest.

Jillian senior photo pullquoteThe only thing that has changed for me is the faces I see every day at work. I’ve seen a lot of dancers come and go for one reason or another, but I’ve seen lots of growth in the caliber of dancers.

We have heathy bonds with each other inside and outside the studio. And everyone has had open arms to the new dancers.  We want to work together to create a cohesive unit.

I was definitely mentored a lot by Liberty Harris and Kenoth Shane Patton as well as André Megerdichian. They pushed me to be the best I could be.

Artistically, we have grown as an organization with David Hochoy’s leadership, with guest choreographers coming in and with the dancers creating new works. 

Today, my role is to be present, to still be moldable, and to help where I'm needed. I don’t give out little corrections or thoughts as often because I believe we get better by doing.

I want to pass on the importance of the spirit of a dancer. You may have the most beautiful body, extensions, lines and jumps. But all that is nothing if you don’t infuse your dancing with your life experiences and imagination – even revealing the broken pieces of your heart you’ve put back together and the light that lives inside you. That is being an artist.
     —Jillian Godwin

Here are thoughts from three of DK's newest dancers on what it's like to join the company.

Jill senior newbie trio

Being a newbie, we are always hearing about effort and the things we demand of ourselves. Watching Jillian Godwin, it is apparent that she demands only greatness of herself. She inspires me daily.
     —Kieran King

As someone new in the company and someone fairly new to the Graham technique, I look to my colleagues for aesthetic and inspiration. They’re always there to answer my questions and coach me. I’ve felt myself become a part of the group seamlessly.
     —Aaron Steinberg

Coming into Dance Kaleidoscope, I was both nervous and excited. The amount of kindness and generosity the other dancers have shown me is immeasurable. Jillian Godwin was one of the first dancers I talked to, and she immediately helped me feel at home by sharing her expertise, experience and passion.
     —Sarah Taylor

DK is grateful to the following 2019-20 season sponsors:
Sponsoring Jillian Godwin - Miriam & David Resnick
Sponsoring Kieran King and Aaron Steinberg - St. Vincent Sports Performance
Sponsoring Sarah Taylor - Cheryl & Jim Strain

Photos of Jillian Godwin, Kieran King, Aaron Steinberg, and Sarah Taylor by the talented Chris Crawl.

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 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 Aleksa Lukasiewicz

April 18, 2016
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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 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 Emily Dyson

April 6, 2016
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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 Stuart Coleman

April 5, 2016
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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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