You can expect the unexpected with the 58 Group–and that unpredictability goes well beyond its unusual character as a combined troupe of dancers and jazz musicians. In the piece Autobody, premiered last September, the musicians played power tools, strolling among the dancers like so many nonchalant serial killers. And the upcoming 90-minute site-specific work at HotHouse (as yet untitled) subverts any expectations we might have that the piece will be about dancing in a nightclub. The opening has the curious air of being set outdoors on a summer night–the gentle, random chiming of the bells the dancers wear somehow sounds like crickets singing or leaves rustling. True, the next section, “Flamingo,” uses the dancers’ exotic, dramatic carriage to suggest showgirls, but the emphasis is on their delicacy rather than their sexuality. And when everyone–dancers, musicians, and audience–moves to the back room, the piece transmutes again, taking on the character of a psychological drama as we hear a text about gifts (“What’s inside the lovely box? Bright and full yet faraway”) and watch one dancer become isolated from the rest. Artistic director Ginger Farley and musical director Cameron Pfiffner have devised mostly new choreography and music for this labor of love, which promises to be unique in the world of Chicago dance. Wednesday through next Saturday, May 20, at 7 and next Sunday, May 21, at 2 at HotHouse, 31 E. Balbo; $5-$15. Call 312-362-9707 for tickets and information. –Laura Molzahn
Art accompanying story in printed newspaper (not available in this archive): photo/Brian Hill.