Modern romantics

By MARCIA B. SIEGEL  |  July 8, 2008

Saturday afternoon at Jacob’s Pillow, the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company offered three examples of a more straightforward romanticism in their evolved modern-dance style. There are traces of Paul Taylor in both Morris’s choreography and Lubovitch’s. Morris shares Taylor’s wry view of the world; Lubovitch works the lyrical side. Morris avoids conventional beauty and sentiment; Lubovitch indulges our longing for it.

In addition to the Mozart Concerto Six Twenty-Two (1986), there were two pieces I hadn’t seen from 2007: a men’s trio, Little Rhapsodies, to Robert Schumann’s Symphonic Etudes; and the Dvorák Serenade (Opus 22) for 12 dancers. The dances surfed and dove through the music with rounded, circling, soaring, swooping movement and flowing group patterns.

In the Schumann, Jay Franke, Attila Joey Csiki, and Rasta Thomas dance solos and team up together as friendly rivals. It’s a showpiece that brings out their individual qualities — Franke’s expansive strength, Csiki’s airborne quickness, and Thomas’s ability to invest a whole gamut of not specifically emotive moves with identifiable feelings.

In the Dvorák Serenade, I was noticing with appreciation how Lubovitch can make duets that don’t resort to decorative postures. Mucuy Bolles and Scott Rink continuously facilitate each other’s movement. The “feeling” part is built into the action of embracing, propelling, supporting — and in the way that though it looks beautiful, it doesn’t seem contrived. The dancers are involved with one another and not with impressing the audience. The notion of making expressive movement without making pantomime was a cornerstone of modern dance, and it still serves us well.

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