Lar Lubovitch Dance Company at MMAC

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company performed “Histoire du Soldat” and “Crisis Variations,” accompanied by live music, at Manhattan Movement & Art Center February 11, 2012.
I was slightly surprised by the space, which struck me as being rather casual. Since non-student ticket prices ran close to $50, I guess I expected a more upscale venue.

The first piece, “Histoire du Soldat” (or “The Soldier’s Tale”) is to a 1918 score by Igor Stravinsky which the composer said was to be “read, played, and danced.” Now, I don’t know about the original script, but the modern, English version read that night is terrible. This piece could have done with a lot less reading and playing, and way more dancing. The Kindergarten-like storytelling and boring musical score made me uncomfortable. Actually, that’s an understatement. I hated the narration and couldn’t believe how painfully awful it was. But, when the dancers were actually onstage, they were wonderful and beautiful. Maybe if they had danced during the narration and music I wouldn’t have minded it so much.

Actually, the partnering in “Soldier’s Tale” tied in very nicely with what we are learning in partnering class here with Amy Marshall and Chad Levy. There was a lift in which Amy had to look completely limp. This is tricky because dead weight is hard to carry, so the person being lifted has to be able to achieve the limp look but still hold their abs. We got to witness this type of lift when “Soldier” Reid Bartelme brought out the sick “Princess” Nicole Corea, dangling under his arm.

There were a lot of partnering movements that we’re learning about in class that it was good to see executed professionally well.

Where the first piece disappointed, the second piece, “Crisis Variations,” awed and amazed. I would have seen just that for my $17. This piece actually reminded me a lot of Sylvana’s work; some of the floor work in this piece was also in Sylvana’s “May Fly.” This piece also had crazy partnering in it, as well as magical patterns, and the way they danced was fluid, as can be expected from Lubovitch’s company, but at the same time they affected limpness and flailed around wildly while maintaining impeccable technique and strength. The surprising ending was so delightful it left me giddy. This piece made me excited about dance again and gave me a new standard to strive for!