MODA Blog

Maya's Kaleidoscope

Maya's Kaleidoscope

kaleidoscope/kəˈlīdəˌskōp/ noun 1. A cylinder containing mirrors and bits of glass reflecting light so that when peered into, creates an endlessly shifting landscape of colors and patterns. 2. From the Greek kalos, meaning beauty, eidos, meaning form or shape, and scope, meaning to see.

This past weekend, UChicago Maya presented its winter showcase Kaleidoscope at Logan Center. Maya is a co-ed fusion group combining elements of Western and Eastern dance traditions, led by directors Christine Chin and Angela Shen. Themed kaleidoscope, the performance featured 17 pieces created by eight choreographers and represented the culmination of four months of hard work.

The small stage was bathed in pink light that reflected off of the small mirror fragments hanging from the ceiling. White linens were draped from the upper level balcony.

The first piece featured six dancers - five female, one male - in gauzy white tunics to the dreamy melody of Sara Bareilles's "Kaleidoscope Heart" before quickly morphing into the next piece, with tense music, sharper movements and metallic costumes before shifting to a joyous number set to a Passion Pit song. The seamless transitions were an integral part of the kaleidoscope theme, reflecting the idea of constant change. Dancers were continually entering and exiting the stage, only coming together as a whole for the very last piece.

The choreographers' varying but cohesive interpretation of the theme was truly mesmerizing. The pieces incorporated the usual mix lyrical, hip hop, jazz, and even show tune elements of dance, but went even further by including tumbling, group lifts and tricks (like a three story human pyramid!). Dancers twined themselves around each other, held hands, and even skipped across the stage. The kaleidoscope theme was subtly referenced throughout the entire show by the recurring move of coming together and breaking apart.

An hour of dizzying nonstop twirls, kicks and leaps later, the dancers gathered in the center of the stage. Standing in circles around each other, arms outstretched, palms touching, heads thrown back, backs arched, they finally paused for a moment-the ultimate twist of the kaleidoscope. The dancers fled the stage and the audience rose for a standing ovation.

Photography by Dan Ehrlich

What other performances by groups on campus have you enjoyed? Which ones should we check out? Let us know in the comments below!

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