Duane Funderburk will join Carrie Rehkopf Michel and John Michel for a series of performances with local dance groups this coming week.

Support Local Journalism


Music and dance come together as Kairos and local dance studios combine for performances this coming week.

The concert players are CWU professors of violin and cello, John Michel and Carrie Rehkopf Michel respectively. The couple has been playing music together in the Kairos String Quartet since the 1990s. The Quartet was made up of several other players, and the Michels are the only remaining members. They now go by Kairos and work with a variety of other performers and groups. This coming week, they will be joined by pianist Duane Funderburk for the concert called, “Kairos Music and Dance.”

A variety of dancers local and national will be performing with the music on stage. This includes members of The Studio and Happy 2 Move. There are also members of the Pasadena Civic Ballet, and two other professional dancers from the University of Southern California. The Michels has worked with both groups before, most recently in February, when the Michels took a sabbatical to California.

The performance is set for 7 p.m., May 24 at the Hertz Concert Hall, then a shorter performance at 6 p.m., May 25 at Hal Holmes. There will also be a show May 26 at noon for preschoolers to dance along with the performance.

Also in the concert will be several CWU music students, who will be acting along with the music.

“Chamber music is a lot more complex and not necessarily danceable,” John Michel said. “For them to take on this challenge is exciting. It forces them to be creative and come up with solutions and to connect the divide of music language and dance language.”

The different dance groups will be performing at different points during the concert, with the professional dancers taking the longer pieces (8-10) minutes and the local dancing students taking some of the shorter ones. This is partly because a lot of the choreography for the local dancers is going to be directed by the professional dancers, who will not arrive in Ellensburg until two days before the concert, which doesn’t allow for a lot of time to practice.

Rehkopf Michel said the short time to practice is going to benefit the concert, as it will give some of the performance a “spontaneous” feeling. Even still the local performers have shorter pieces, which makes it possible for them to memorize all the choreography steps.

Director of The Studio and Happy 2 Move, Sara Bachman-Rhodes, said she is excited for her students to work with the Michels and has no doubts they will have the dances perfected for the concert.

“Carrie is a tremendously creative and welcoming person,” Bachman-Rhodes said. “It is great for artists to have the opportunity to perform with live music, it doesn’t happen very often. The choreographers present the dances in such a way that our dancers really have a wonderful time working with them.”

The big show will be at the CWU Hertz Concert Hall, this will have all dancers and be a more involved concert. The next performance and Hal Holmes is going to be shorter because some of the professional dancers will have to head back to California but will still be entertaining. The final performance is the “preschooler dance party,” this is a show held for preschoolers, and they are encouraged to participate in the show by dancing along with the music however they like.

“When kids hear classical music they want to move to it, and they make noise, but they can’t do that at concerts, they are supposed to sit still and be quiet,” Rehkopf Michel said. “We are doing something exactly for them. We will be playing a number of these pieces and there are dancers dancing along to it. The preschoolers can follow the dancers, but my guess is not all preschoolers are going to do what you expect them to do, so many will be doing their own thing.”

The preschooler performance is an event parents can bring their kids to, but they don’t necessarily have to be preschool-aged, according to Rehkopf Michel. As long as they want to have some fun, they are welcome to attend.