The Four Elements
Indiana Repertory Theatre
Dance Kaleidoscope exploded a new program as a burst of sustained energy. David Hochoy's The Four Elements is a signature for this new company of 12 who work together in evident joy and trust. Running leaps from the wings, twirling lifts, floor moves every bit as awesome as Cossacks dancing are standouts in partnering and solo work. Walter Knabe's six banners take on different dimensions with Laura E. Glover's palette of lighting playing off them. Cheryl Sparks' costumes extend Knabe's motif for shimmering water, density of earth, cycling of air, intensity of fire. Four elements of production (music, choreography, design, movement) times four elements of inspiration definitely are greater than summing the parts. "Water," set to music by Chopin, conjured up images of landscapes and how water informs, alters and inhabits a place. From a full company cavorting as children in "cascades," to Liberty Harris' solo gliding-in-wisdom "on golden pond," Hochoy took us through another retelling of the seven-ages of man.
Frank Felice's new percussive composition, Earthworks, also set in seven movements, conjures up the relentless manufacturing that goes on beneath our feet. Opening with a magnificent flow of lava undulating around Kenoth Shane Patton, he erupts from a stage-wide skirt like a land mass rising from the waters that "covered the face of the earth." From then on, it's steady enterprise to keep things moving, growing, unsettling. "Earth" is closest to Hochoy's Martha Graham tradition with angular movement.
Erik Satie's constantly shifting music fits Hochoy's concepts of air as the element that surrounds and powers us. "Air" is perhaps the least defined of the four, intriguing in its potential for expansion into a stand-alone as are "Water" and "Earth." The opening cages of cloth failed to convey what was intended to happen with earthbound bodies. However, the succeeding partnering, with bodies flying from hands to hands, more than made up for the opening lapse. Aaron Selissen wafted, spun, tumbled, leaped feather-light, simulating airborne-ness, as did the company as a whole.
Prometheus gets another round of thanks for snatching fire from the gods as a gift to humankind. He'd have applauded as loudly as the rest of us to the red-hot-matches and smoldering-coals costumed dancers irrepressibly responding to Tito Puente's "Ran Kan Kan." Jessica L. Johnson and Rebecca Jones wear the moves with sizzle.