Guests From Dance Theatre of Harlem Enhance Less-Than-Eloquent Choreography


Henning Rübsam has made fresh, flowing, and expressive solos to Schubert songs. But he burdens his company, Sensedance, with all manner of group works—ranging from jazzy to intellectual—that are crammed with steps and weak on coherent phrasing and overall structure. Stymied in this way, his ambitious new Django—an entertainment set to a suite of ingratiating numbers by the French Gypsy composer-guitarist Django Reinhardt, a pioneer of European jazz—brings little pleasure or release. Similarly, his Chorale and Quartet, both to postmodern music by Ricardo Llorca, offer little analytic enlightenment. The radiance the program possessed was due largely to the presence of performers borrowed from the beleaguered Dance Theatre of Harlem, who seem to operate from sources deep inside them. Akua Parker combines sensuousness with vivacity; Melissa Morrissey veils the exactitude of her technique with a delicate, vulnerable air; while Ramon Thielen offers unforgettable images of power and human dignity.

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