The Georgia Association for Health, Physical Education, Recreation and Dance presented the annual Kaleidoscope Dance Concert at the Savannah Theatre at 5:00 pm on November 12th, 2012. The mission of the concert is to allow dance professionals and students attending the annual state convention to see what other dance groups in the state are doing, and it is also frequently an opportunity to discover emerging dancers before they enter their professional careers.

This year’s concert, directed by GAHPERD Dance Vice President-Elect Karen Clevenger (University of West Georgia) included works by Savannah middle school Garrison School of Performing Arts, the arts high school Savannah Arts Academy, the University of Georgia, the University of West Georgia, and a guest appearance by the Sassy Classics, a group of ladies from Raleigh, NC, ages 65-85, directed by National Dance Association Teacher of the Year Freddie-Lee Heath.

Kalela Massey, in the University of Georgia’s “Raymonda Variation.” Photograph by Samantha Tankersly, courtesy of UGA.

The Savannah Theatre is a lovely performance space. Unfortunately, the stage included a permanent bandstand. The remaining space was too small for the larger group dances, and even some of the historical classical ballet solos which were choreographed to use a full stage. The dancers would have needed many more days of rehearsal than that afforded by a three-day convention in order to re-stage their dance pieces for the space. One University of West Georgia dancer, thinking on her feet, used the bandstand at one point, in one of the more interesting moments in their presentation of Bee Bop, swing, and pantomimic dance.

The Sassy Classics received an enthusiastic ovation from the audience as they broke into a Rockette-style kick line. The ladies are accomplished performers who interacted with the audience while strutting their stuff in sequined costumes, high heels, and feather boas and headdresses.

The mixed-repertoire program was heavily weighted toward ballet and musical theatre dance, with only a little jazz and modern dance. The Garrison dancers, directed by Milne Cato and LaShaundra Osborne, show a great deal of promise. They presented a beautifully choreographed ballet with the girls in long tutus. Aside from the space issues, they danced well, and several of the dancers stood out as developing performers as well as technicians.

Garrison Middle School in Chasse. Photograph courtesy of Garrison Middle School.

A series of classical ballet variations were presented by the University of Georgia, directed by Joan Buttram. Kalela Massey, in the “Raymonda Variation” was particularly notable for her beautiful cambré and fluid arms.

The most exciting part of the concert is always when audience members are overheard commenting that they have not attended the Kaleidoscope Concert in the past, but that it will be going on their personal schedules at all future conventions. Several of these comments were made as the audience filed out to attend the nearby reception. The dancers did their part in recruiting new people for the Georgia dance audience pool. Watch for future performances by these groups, coming to a theatre near you.