Lar Lubovitch Dance Company’s 46th anniversary season program, ANCIENT TALES, was notable for its delivery as well as its content. With program notes describing ancient myths and primeval folklore, one was not expecting the evening to open with a grown man dressed in a boy scout uniform.
Indeed, the reimagining of “Artemis in Athens”-originally created for American Ballet Theatre by Lubovitch in 2003-was set at a summer camp. 10 Juilliard students, Alessandra Ferri, Lubovitch dancer Tobin Del Cuore, and the live musicians were dressed in full scout gear. The iconic ballerina, Ferri, was ethereal as ever. As the Goddess of the Hunt, she acted as a welcome distraction to a stage cluttered with young scouts. No one would deny Lubovitch’s power to examine a story through choreographic device. However, it seemed that there was a disconnect between the setting and the storytelling of this myth that relied too heavily on the type-cast guest artist.
“The Black Rose” brought more successful diversions to the concept of folklore and tales. The original score, created for Lubovitch by Scott Marshall, punctuated a dark and disturbing series of dramatic events. The robust dynamics and theatrical antics of the Lubovitch dancers were on full display in the telling of this gory tale. What began as a fairly conventional lore of a lovestruck young girl mixed with the desire of a darker character soon spiraled into disturbing scenes that implied rape, child birth, and cannibalism. The iterations of contemporary music and loud costumes were enough of a distraction from the wonderful physical expression of the dancers without this terrifying scene.
Lubovitch put forth a variety of intriguing ways to display a narrative in the evening’s program. However, the untouched formalism that is usually so present in his choreographic endeavors was sorely missed.