A GUY THING.
Just below Houston Street on Manhattan's Lower East Side, stands a picturesque, decaying former synagogue, which its owner, Angel Orensanz, rents as-is for productions. Searching for an alternative performance venue, Lar Lubovitch imported a dance floor, seating on risers, lighting and even space heaters to transform the space into a charming, intimate black-box theater. The costly facelift complements his new hour-long dance Men's Stories, which boasts a cast of nine stellar male soloists from several of New York's premier companies. In elegant Edwardian tailcoats by Ann Hould-Ward, they perform balletic group passages in perfect unison to Beethoven's third and fifth piano concertos, which are "ripped open" to insert music and sound collages by composer Scott Marshall for emotional, dramatic sections.
Lubovitch said he wanted this to be "his most personal dance" to date. His signature ebb-and-flow movement on an all-male cast, itself makes a statement about empathy, conflict and affection--sexual and otherwise--among men. He's a master at inventing swirling motion that virtually sweeps us into its kinetic path. Moves occur sequentially on different levels; dancers mask preparations, making lifts seem to spring from nowhere. The strong individual personalities and varied dance pedigrees of his cast members lend dimension to his vocabulary.
The solos and duets are, perhaps, autobiographical. Gerald Casel (Stephen Petronio Company) whips his compact, muscular limbs to transfigured pop music; taped music in reverse accompanies fierce, wild-eyed Michael Thomas (Alvin Ailey Company). Scott Rink (Lubovitch Company) swivels his hips seductively. Jason McDole (David Parsons Company) is a gymnastic dynamo, arching his supple back in tumbling moves.
The song "Dream (when you're feeling blue)" backs a tender, arm-twining duet for Rink and McDole. At one point there's even a brawl--guy stuff. Throughout, Griff Braun's (American Ballet Theatre) clarity of line and dynamic nuance is the quintessential embodiment of the movement. Philip Gardner (Feld Ballets/NY), Roger C. Jeffrey (Tharp!), Marc Mann (Bill T. Jones/Amie Zane Company) and newcomer Kevin Scarpin complete the cast.
Finally, a puppet look-alike strides in, shaking hands with the recumbent men. Is the doll (manipulated by Thomas) a surrogate for the choreographer himself, symbolically acknowledging past mentors for creative inspiration, or thanking his cast for being surrogates for his revelations and confessions? Visually stunning and beautifully danced, the piece keeps its emotional secrets but provokes queries to resolve, as we each feel them.
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|Author:||SOLOMONS GUS JR.|
|Article Type:||Dance Review|
|Date:||Mar 1, 2001|
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