Indianapolis Museum of Art
Bi-Quad, performed June 30 by Susurrus dance company at the Indianapolis Museum of Art Amphitheatre, is what I imagine it felt like to be present at a newly developed Shakespearean take on mid-summer sans spoken word: human movement in an open roof, manmade arena surrounded by trees and sounds and sights of both nature and human intervention. The audience focus is on multidimensional sensory stimulation. Music by Sally Childs-Helton is a prompt for the four discernible codas abetted by props. Costumes by Michael Burke mirrored photographic black/white/sepia tones. The audience was arrayed on what is the expected performance area.
Melli Hoppe’s choreography traditionally is democratic, taking what individual dancers know their bodies respond to and creating a corps panorama much as lines build a poem both visually and contextually. That’s the Susurrus way at its best.
Bi-Quad is both a response to and an extension of the IMA exhibition Nature Holds My Camera: The Video Art of Sam Easterson (see next page). One need not have witnessed the exhibit prior to the performance. Taking the nature walk both before and after deepens the appreciation for what the company of dancers accomplished.
Beginning with repose in a number of attitudes, the eight dancers responded to the call of birds leisurely, deliberately, carrying chairs to the terraced seating area, and developed movement with, on and around the chairs. Singularity melded into duality and eventually flock mentality.
The musical change-up, adding reeds and percussion, signaled another exploration with balance bars in a trio of discernments for all sorts of insects, animals and humans responding to nature. Another sound cue supplanted balance bars with rope tied to the railings. In tethered movement we felt the boundaries, the limitations, the exercises for breaking out, breaking away. At just the right moment, the straining melted into a softness not so much as acceptance but as reality recognized, another parallel to Shakespeare’s Midsummer Night’s Dream.
And so the interlude closed, with dancers returning to momentary repose and dispersal.
Within an hour after the performance, the full moon, veiled and so close as to be intrusive, the feeling of a camera’s eye lingered and touched again on the memory of eight bi-peds interpreting their outdoor space from inner qualities.
What made the program intriguing were the open emotional qualities each dancer shared throughout. No one rushed, no one articulated beyond the truth of the moment. Everyone had something to communicate that grew from inner depth. Bravo to Nicole Gatzimos, Laura Johnson, Kimberly Martin, Nina Ryan, Ashley Nichole Saunders, Christy Stosmeister, Amanda Stover and Mollie Thomas.