Just when you think Lar Lubovitch’s dances are a bit too syrupy he produces a gem – romantic, yes, but with a touch of folksiness. Dvorák Serenade to four movements of that composer’s well known Serenade in E has at times an exhilarating Slavic brio shared by both choreographer and composer.
Scott Rink and tall, mysterious Drew Jacoby are the couple at the centre of this dance universe. In silence at first, they entwine in lyrical lifts and lunges. Totally engrossed in themselves, they are counterpoint to an ensemble that waltzes in circles around them, ebbing and flowing in continuous movement, only standing quietly to provide a background of waving arms.
Occasionally there is a brief duet but the fluidly whirling formations never stop. Wendy Winters’ shimmering chiffon shifts for the women and shorts and sheer tops for the men enhance the perpetual motion of the piece. It is one of Lubovitch’s big, sweeping ensemble works, the sort he does best.
On a less grand scale, his new Little Rhapsodies to Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes (played on stage by pianist Pedja Muzijevic) featured a trio of outstanding dancers, Rasta Thomas, Jay Franke and Sean Stewart, displaying their considerable virtuosic talent.
The piece shows off the strengths of all three, Stewart’s supple lyricism contrasting nicely with Thomas’s bounding elevation – huge jumps that land him in the middle of the action. Each dancer has a signature solo: Franke’s is quirky and fun, Thomas’s is dashing and sad. The piece ends with the three linking arms, clenching their fists, turning their toes up and clicking their heels like lads at the folk dance festival.
Love’s Stories has Stewart to redeem the gimmicky Nature Boy by sheer dance power. The work is a series of duets, standard romantic themes danced to classic pops here reinterpreted by Kurt Elling, whose rendition of Smoke Gets In your Eyes sounds like the smoke’s more stuck in his throat. It is pretty much a cliché but Lubovitch’s fine dancers manage to give it more conviction than it deserves.
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