INDIANAPOLIS — Performers whirl and twirl, creating mesmerizing swirls of beautiful colors and shapes. They are members of the aptly named Dance Kaleidoscope, a central Indiana dance company that is getting back on its feet, determined to bring beauty to the community under the lingering cloud of COVID-19.
Formed in 1972, Dance Kaleidoscope originally started as a place to teach kids about modern dance. Gradually over the years it became more professional. Today, dancers from around the country make up the company. Now after the pandemic shut down studios for several months, the show goes on, with changes to accommodate the new normal.
D.K. artistic associate Stuart Coleman took on the tough task of choreographing "A New Dawn," the company’s first original performance of the pandemic-era.
"It’s a crazy set of circumstances and it’s something that I didn’t necessarily foresee, I actually had a completely different piece planned,” Coleman said.
He scrapped his original choreography entirely, due to COVID-19 safety protocols that would have made it impossible to perform. Those new protocols mean you will not see things like lifts or other partnered movements.
But Coleman welcomed the challenge, saying with this piece, “One of the rules is people can’t touch and people have to wear masks and if you accept that from the very beginning then it doesn’t become something that’s inhibiting you.”
Another big difference is that you cannot watch the performance live and in person. Like many in the creative arts community, D.K. is going virtual. "A New Dawn" was filmed in December at the Indiana Repertory Theatre. It is streaming online January 8-24.
Performers like Paige Robinson say the precautions are an adjustment. But she is grateful.
“Honestly, after spending five months dancing in our living rooms, and dining rooms and backyards it was incredible to be back,” she said. “We’ll do whatever it takes because we love it.”
With so many performance groups around the country completely shut down, Robinson says she feels incredibly lucky. But like many organizations, Dance Kaleidoscope is under immense financial pressure, due to the pandemic.
D.K. artistic director David Hochoy knows many people are also struggling to make ends meet. His message to the community is, “If you can, try to help artists as well because art makes life worth living.”
“I feel like the arts is what gets us through," Robinson said. "The arts is our community, it’s our heart.”
You can stream "A New Dawn" for $25. In addition to the professional company, Dance Kaleidoscope offers classes for all ages. For more information go to dancekal.org.