As with everywhere else, in dance audiences there are two kinds of people. There are those who read the program notes beforehand to discern the choreographer's intent and/or to get an anchor firmly attached to interpretation before the show begins. And there are those who prefer to experience a work on stage without any prior introduction.
I'm one of the latter-although I do go back to the notes afterwards to see if the intention was communicated.
In the case of "Girl at the Piano: Recording Sound," David Hochoy's 1994 piece revived by Dance Kaleidoscope as part of its season-opening concert with the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra (Sept. 5-6), I got it. At least, most of it.
Inspired by the Indianapolis Museum of Art's Theodore Roszak painting, the work focuses on a girl (Jillian Godwin) struggling toward maturity-and acceptance of her relationship with the music she creates.
While the drama was sometimes overstated-the death in the piece was presented too big and came too quickly (a hazard when setting a piece to existing music, since you can't change the climaxes), it nonetheless movingly captured the dancer/pianist's passions and confusions.
I would have preferred it be less densely populated, not seeing a need for the whole company to become involved, but that's a minor quibble. Having guest pianist Alessio Bax on stage rather than in the pit with the rest of the musicians accentuated the interplay between the dancer/pianist and the music, taking the piece elegantly to an even higher level.
How did I do with intent? During intermission, a look at the program notes left me baffled as to who the "Brother" and "Sister" were. I was pleased, though, to see that my impression that Tim June was playing "Music" and not just another beau was confirmed. Comforting, too, to see that, as Hochoy explained, the situations should be treated "as almost
piece of the evening was "Scheherazade," which showcased Laura E. Glover's expert lighting and Barry Doss' effective costumes almost as much as it showed off the DK dancers. Not having previously seen Hochoy's 1992 work, subtitled "An Arabian Nights Fantasy," I think I can be forgiven for expecting something referencing the title character and her famed storytelling skills. I'm very comfortable tossing out expectations, though, when they are replaced with the style and grace of the company and the lush, romantic playing of the familiar Nicolai Rimsky- Korsakov music by the ISO. In fact, so moving was the sound that this would have been a lovely concert even without the onstage footwork. The addition of DK wasn't a distraction, though. It was a gift-although not a flashy one.
The on-stage action was almost pastoral, without watch-me-topthis or narrative motion to propel it forward. If the work seemed to lack ambition and the choreography young, it made up for it by beautiful integration of the dancers with the delicate violins and flutes and cello of the orchestra. In all, it was an evening of gentle rather than provocative pleasures.
It would be foolish to go to a faculty art show looking for any kind of coherence in either style or vision.
Instead, it's more sensible to go to a faculty art show as you would go to one of those fund-raising events where dozens of restaurants offer samples of their wares. No, the meal doesn't cohere, but if there's enough there to appease the taste buds, you go away happy-sometimes even overstuffed.
The Annual Faculty Show at the Indianapolis Art Center (running through Oct. 5) certainly appeals to a wide range of tastes.
Although small, Cindy Hinant's playful but strangely moving sticker collage, "Panda Dreams of Panda Dreams," may be among the first to hold your attention. Katherine Hilden's "Study of Heads After Vermeer" suggests a crazy graphic novel-one I would read in a heartbeat-while her "Quoting Lines from Vermeer: The Art of Paintings" is very different, more evocative of the remains of a cave painting whose meaning is long since lost.
Glenn F. Evans' cast-aluminum, iron and bronze "Three Hemispheres," parked in the center of the gallery floor, feature turtles within not just their own shells, but larger ones as well. Matt Kenyon's "Senior Payaso" is a Pinocchio-variation with large feet, twisted arms and-the crowning touch-a push-pin-like blue beard. Nearby, in the layered paintings "Ominous" and "Impending," Carole Eney hints at something apocalyptic.
Looking for something to tether you to the here and now? Dan Cooper's "Indianapolis Dusk" would, at first glance, seem to help. But what are the downtown buildings doing looming over Broad Ripple? And don't look for guidance from Gayla Hodson's "Virtual Tour." Rather than a map, you get flowers over buildings in a work that seems ready to be plucked for sale.
If that's not enough, there's a good chance you'll covet Loren Hill's "Choco-lot" vase and her "Beijing Rings," a porcelain bowl with concentric circular top, curved legs and head-trip interior.
Others works are equally strong. Some are not. The latter are easy to bypass graciously.