Above: Les Saltimbanques, the painting by Picasso that inspred Lar Lubovitch's newest creation, TRANSPARENT THINGS.
Thursday November 15, 2012 - Three recent works by Lar Lubovitch comprised the programme tonight at Florence Gould Hall where Lar's superb troupe of dancers held the stage to fine effect, abetted in the final work by excellent playing of the Debussy G-minor quartet by the Bryant Park Quartet.
Opening with the ravishingly dark and lyrical LEGEND OF TEN, set to the Brahms F-minor quintet, the Lubovitch dancers showed from the first moment both their collective technical expertise and their individuality as poets of movement. In this dance of swirling and evocative patterns, the heartfelt music buoys the dancers throughout; from time to time a dancer will step forward and briefly pay reverence to the audience before melding back into the flow of the dance. The gorgeous and distinctive Lubovitch women - Nicole Corea, Laura Rutledge and Kate Skarpetowska - are partnered in ever-shifting match-ups by the beautiful men of the Company: Attila Joey Csiki, Reed Luplau, Brian McGinns, George Smallwood and Anthony Bocconi. A central pair - Elisa Clark and Clifton Brown - weave their ongoing pas de deux into the ensemble; tall and radiant, the couple bring an unusual sense of dignity to what might otherwise simply be a romantic duet. Clifton's imperial wingspan and the hypnotic styling of his arms and hands are a blessing to behold, and Elisa matches him in expressive nuance. Compelling dance from all, and the work is surely one of Lar's greatest masterpieces.
Darkness of a more jagged and comtemporary feel marks CRISIS VARIATIONS, in which a smaller ensemble of dancers - Nicole Corea, Laura Rutledge, Attila Joey Csiki, Reed Luplau and Anthony Bocconi - writhe and struggle against unseen demons whilst yet another of Lar's imaginative duets - danced by the enigmatic Kate Skarpetowska and the dynamic Brian McGinnis - ebbs and flows among the struggling community. Kokyat's image of Kate and Brian, above, captures one of the pas de deux's most spine-tingling moments.
What gives CRISIS VARIATIONS its unique flavour in the Yevgeniy Sharlat score; in this turbulent and entrancingly crafted music, individual instruments - harpsichord, saxophone, organ - lend a nightmarish gleam to the tapestry of movement. The ballet, though steeped in deep despair, is not without subtle hints of tongue-in-cheek self-pity.
The newest of Lar's works, entitled TRANSPARENT THINGS, is a pure joy. Reid Bartelme's costumes translate from the Picasso painting with remarkable faithfulness, and the dancers take to the mirthful and sometimes self-mocking characters of this vagabond troupe of entertainers with flair.
Attila Joey Csiki (above, Steven Schreiber photo) is perfect as the mercurial Harlequin, his solo dancing marked by the pure grace of his pliant style. Kate Skarpetowska and Laura Rutledge seem literally to have stepped out of the painting; Brian McGinnis is a tower of strength in his billowy red suit and Clifton Brown in simply marvelous to watch. Boysihly beautiful Reed Luplau brings a touch of innocence and a creamy, chiseled chest to his velvet-clad Blue Boy.
Playing from memory, the musicans of the Bryant Park Quartet give a rendering of the Debussy score which ranges from sentimental to ebullient. Violinist Anna Elashvili seemed ready to spring from her chair and join the dance. At the close of the ballet's third section, the dancers invade the musician's space and are momentarily stilled; Attila lovingly rests his head against the cello. In this charming moment the marriage of music and dance are quietly celebrated. Brilliant!