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    Marimba: Susana García; Jonathan E. Alsberry; Katarzyna Skarpetowska; Kevin Scarpin; Christopher Vo; Mucuy Bolles; Katherine Wells; Brian McGinnis in Lar Lubovitch: A Look at the 70s
    Photo by Yi-Chun Wu
    Marimba: Susana García; Jonathan E. Alsberry; Katarzyna Skarpetowska; Kevin Scarpin; Christopher Vo; Mucuy Bolles; Katherine Wells; Brian McGinnis

    Lar Lubovitch: Back to the 70s

    DTW show revives 3 pieces


    Dances over 30 years old can seem timeless or dated or both, to judge from Lar Lubovitch's restaging of three of his oldest works at DTW.

    Choreography by: Lar Lubovitch.
    Dancers: Jonathan E. Alsberry, Charlotte Bydwell, Mucuy Bolles, Atilla Joey Csiki, Jay Franke, Susana García, Leon Kupferschmid, Aaron Loux, Nathan Madden, Anila Mazhari-Landry, Brian McGinnis, Marla Phelan, Rachelle Rafailedes, Kyle Robinson, Kendra Samson, Kevin Scarpin, Katarzyna Skarpetowska, Michaeljon Slinger, Yara Travieso, Allison Ulrich, Christopher Vo, Katherine Wells, Arika Yamada .
    Music by: Steve Reich, Philip Glass.
    Lighting design by: Jack Mehler.
    Reconstruction (Marimba): Scott Rink.
    Reconstruction (North Star): Peggy Baker and John Dayger.
    Reconstruction (Cavalcade): Leonard Meek.
    Dance Theater Workshop
    October 1-4, 2008

    Marimba (1976) was flow pretty, fueled by music from Steve Reich and lighting by Jack Mehler. Slow-motion running with slowly effortless lifts, groupings of dancers breaking like waves on a beach, superfloppy movement punctuated by sharp jumpouts and a crack-the-whip line shedding and regaining dancers give the entire piece a soft, organic continuity. Reich's music in this piece is hypnotic and seamless, and nothing in the choreography breaks this flow. Subdued and shifting light also soften the ambience to an almost nocturnal place, as if the piece is being performed in warm moonlight. The ten dancers give this piece a strong sense of group, and arms raised to the heavens give the piece a tribal, offertory feel, like some ancient ritual honoring nature. Marimba feels fresh and original even now.

    North Star (1978) begins with much of the feel of the first piece, this time with a starlit feel and music by Philip Glass. Another long flinging line of dancers breaks into segments and different groupings that continually disperse and regroup, though this time there is a much stronger sense of center and cenripetal force working on an overall circular shape, like iron filings being repelled and attracted by a circular spinning magnet. Two successive quartets pair dancers to let one lift the other, a device Lubovitch uses often and well, this time for swimming motions or circular arcs. If there is a figurative North Star in the piece, it would be Kendra Samson in her spotlit solo, an angsty solo with a beautifully flailing end in which even her hair seems alive with soft explosions. This piece too feels totally fresh and timeless.

    Cavalcade (1980) followed intermission and seemed separate from the other two pieces in feel as well. In contrast to both Marimba and North Star, large chunks of Cavalcade feel dated and clumsy, even cheesy. Though the central section of duets and solos is really quite strong and dynamic, a lengthy opening group segment lacks the smoothness and flow of the group sections of the other pieces and often feels a bit awkward, with, for example, helicopter-arms traveling turns looking uncomfortable on each dancer who attempts them, and a mercifully brief ending full of rhythmic-gymnast pink-ribbon-spinning just feels cloying. However, most of the duets and solos in the middle of Cavalcade are as fun and flatout brilliant as any anywhere, full of big balletic jumps and softly floppy bouncing high spirits, especially in the solo of Brian McGinnis.

    Overall, this DTW program was an eye-opener and a revelation, a reminder that Lar Lubovitch is and has been a major player in the modern dance pantheon, influential and important for his original vision and energy and the beauty of his organic movement and groupings.

    OCTOBER 7, 2008

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