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Capture/Release: A Celebration in Honor of Lar Lubovitch at the Micheal Schimmel Center for the Arts….

July 14, 2013
Lar Lubovitch Dance Co. in “As Sleep Befell”. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Lar Lubovitch Dance Co. in “As Sleep Befell”. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

I have such growing respect for Lar Lubovitch…the first time I had seen his work was at the Baryshnikov Arts Center in which he premiered Crisis Variation in 2011.  The evening’s program also included Men Stories, a work created in 2000. That evening I left the performance in confusion, both pieces had been vastly different in choreographic styles.

But, in the last couple of years, after having seen several more pieces created by Mr. Lubovitch, I now recognize that his genius is that you never quite know what to expect from him. First, without a doubt his version of Othello is probably one of the greatest ballets produced in the Twentieth Century. The piece he created for the Martha Graham Dance Company’s Lamentations Variation I think is the strongest and truest of any of those contributed for the project.

So I was very excited about Capture/Release: A Celebration in Honor of Lar Lubovitch, a celebration of the company as they enter into their 45th Anniversary Season and Mr. Lubovitch’s 50th year in dance.

Featuring live performances by Ransom Wilson’s acclaimed group, Le Train Bleu, with special guests: vocalist Helga Davis, violinist Cornelius Dufallo, percussionist Pablo Rieppi, Ian David Rosenbaum, marimba, and Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler. Part of the River to River Festival and co-produced by the Michael Schimmel Center for the Arts on Tuesday, June 25.

Helga Davis opened the evening by singing Wanna, (for Lar) a capella. To say her voice was magical is an understatement. Ms. Davis’ voice was a symphony unto itself. Her singing filled the auditorium with vibrancy and life, what an opening for the evening it was.

Lar Lubovitch Dance Co. in “As Sleep Befell”. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Lar Lubovitch Dance Co. in “As Sleep Befell”. Photo by Julieta Cervantes

Lar Lubovitch Company member Katarzyna Skarpetowska choreographed Listen, Quiet, with music by composer Paola Prestini and the choreography commissioned by VisionIntoArt. The dance features Kronos Quartet cellist Jeffrey Zeigler, percussionist Pablo Rieppi, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company members Nicole Corea and Reed Laplau.

The words Listen, Quiet are project on the backdrop and we hear pre-recorded private conversations between a friend and an artist. The stage is a world of mystery, on stage are the cello and percussion players, the percussionist is behind an array of hanging objects such as bottles and bones. Nicole Corea and Reed Laplau perform a very physical and intimate duet, as one they would move together then detach and mirror each other’s moves.

Mr. Laplau’s performs a solo that is both fast and athletic with lots of floor work. He would suddenly leave the floor with a huge jump and fall into the next movement.  Ms. Skarpetowska sits on the side of the stage at a typewriter and becomes part of the music as she hits various keys in assorted rhythms with a saccadic retentiveness. In the background is a video projection of a woman underwater, she seems at home in the water, as if it is her natural element. She is wrapped in a piece of red fabric that she sheds as if a second skin.

Ms. Skarpetowska’s work as a choreographer has been getting a lot of attention lately and with this piece you fully understand why. Listen, Quiet is a tapestry of visuals and a non-linear work that speaks from the deeper recesses of both the heart and the psyche. It is one of the most original pieces I have seen in years….I cannot wait to see it again

IgNEouS 1 for Marimba and String Quartet by composer Andy Akiho and featuring marimba player Ian David Rosenbaum and re-imagines the marimba through a woody assemblage of no-headed mallets. It’s a brilliant score but I long to see bodies in motion accompanying the piece. The music has drama and I found myself folding my breath in moments of stillness, waiting for what was to come next.

As Sleep Befell is a world premiere dance with music by composer Paola Prestini and choreography by Lar Lubovitch (choreography commissioned by VisionIntoArt). The dance features vocalist Helga Davis, Cornelius Dufallo, Pablo Rieppi, and Jeffrey Zeigler with a large ensemble, and the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company. As Sleep Befell is inspired by the adhan, both a Middle Eastern call to prayer sung by muezzin to summon people to the mosque and a song that Islamic fathers sing to their newborns.

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As Sleep Befell is a work for six men. Wearing long white skirts the dancers kneeled as one to the floor. With the vocalist Ms. Davis in the center, the string, wind and percussion players are arrayed in an arc behind them, all are also wearing white.

The work has a sense of freedom, an essence of harmony within the dance that is matched by Ms. Prestini score. The men move with their hands interlocked and then break apart. Their movements have a lyrical flow that evolves into a celebration that was both tribal and ritual in nature.

“Capture/Release: A Celebration in Honor of Lar Lubovitch” was a one-night only performance co-presented by Lower Manhattan Cultural Council, Pace University, VisionIntoArt, and Lar Lubovitch Dance Company as a part of the River To River Festival 2013.

VisionIntoArt (VIA) is an interdisciplinary arts production company that commissions, develops, and premieres new music work by emerging and established composers and their collaborators. With the founding belief that collaboration fosters artistic innovation, VIA supports music-centered multimedia projects with music, film, theatre, dance, and visual artists, and provides artist-driven opportunities to develop and present contemporary work.

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