Performing Arts: Dance
March 24, 2014
Juilliard Dance Repertory 2014 presented a “throwback” to works from the late 70’s and 80’s Friday evening at the Peter Jay Sharp Theater. Classically based at their origins, Twyla Tharp’s “Baker’s Dozen” (’79) opened, followed by Lar Lubovitch’s “Concerto Six Twenty-Two” (’86), and Eliot Feld’s “The Jig Is Up” (’84) rounded out the program.

Six female dancers dressed in cream/white colored leotards, blouses, and crushed velvet leggings and six males in white button downs and dress pants take the stage in pairs. Their leather shoes squeak as they twist and turn, playfully shuffling between duets, trios, quartets, and sextets. Tharp’s “Baker’s Dozen,” is quick and witty with lighthearted music from Willie “The Lion” Smith, played extravagantly by Christopher Ziemba on the piano. A dancer will peak out of the curtain only to be pulled back in or thrown from stage onto the sidelines. The performers are sharp and precise in their execution, and at just tweleve minutes, the piece is short and sweet.

Another image of white, appears in the opening of Lubovitch’s “Concerto Six Twenty-Two.” Barefoot in white tops and bottoms with a hint of color on each dancer, the cast of 13 circles up on stage. Gently passing one another they break off into groups, striking long arabesques and subsequently falling into fluent sequences. The core of the piece resides in the powerful duet danced Robert Moore and Dean Biosca. Elegant and emotional, the men lift one another, sustaining plank positions before whisking each other through the space. Technically strong they perform each partnered movement with ease. However, the pair lacks chemistry diminishing the power of the duet. Moore is a natural artist and Biosca a strong technician, their efforts not quite lining up to match synonymously. By the end of the three-part piece, the dancers have carried Lubovitch’s message and intention to present day. The dancers connect; it’s in the process of coming together that beauty becomes timeless.

Feld’s “The Jig Is Up,” combines Celtic music by The Bothy Band and John Cunningham with electric, fun dancing. The cast of 14 sashays into two parallel lines, as dancers fling themselves down the aisle, hands shaking and feet tapping. The costumes are representative of fashions from the past- holey and cut shirts, mismatched patterns, and beaded tights- it hinges on a Rodarte collection gone bad, but the full use of the stage allows for the outfits to not appear too distracting. Kristina Bentz let’s her hair down as she fouettes her leg in front of her and hinges back in her solo. A few strange transitions between the eight sections- blackouts, and music fades- reduce the flow of the work. If the work was a bit shorter, its impact might be greater, but the dancers appear to be having such a good time that it’s hard not to want to jig along with them.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon

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