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Reviews

Classical Savion

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Presented by the Joyce Theater Foundation Inc. in association with Nederlander Worldwide Entertainment LLC in association with Savion Worldwide LLC & Columbia Artists Theatricals at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., NYC, Jan. 4-23.

If you're expecting to hear "Tea for Two" or "Puttin' on the Ritz" while watching Savion Glover's talented taps, you're in for a disappointment. Instead, Glover has assembled a talented group of string musicians to play the stunning music of Vivaldi, Piazzola, Bach, and Mendelssohn, melding with it the extravagant rhythms of his boundless imagination, and like hot fudge cascading on vanilla ice cream, he has created a rich and delicious treat.

Glover could use a good stylist to trim the facial hair and coif his locks. It seems as if the hairiness is his way of hiding, though clearly his talent is not something to be hidden. The weight of his dreadlocks, tied together in a formidable clump atop his head, seems responsible for the crouching position he assumes as he dances. Staring down at his rapidly moving feet, he shuts out his audience, fully concentrating on the intricacies of blending his tap phrases with classical music, and the shadings and nuances of his foot sounds embellish the music in odd, thoughtful ways. Pattering with one foot while the bows saw across the strings of the violins in identical measures, Glover's feet mesh uniquely with the dynamics of the music, and when he stomps on the wooden platform, the sound reverberates like a wake-up call.

Most of the second half of the program is devoted to introducing the musicians and allowing them a moment in the spotlight. Glover announces their names and their instruments, then listens, taking the time to show his appreciation and gratitude. This interlude is a bit long, veering into a finale called "The Stars & Stripes Forever (For now)," which fell a little flat after the illustrious choreography for the classical selections.

Once destined to be the protector of the hoofing legacy as practiced by the old guard, Glover has treaded his own path, discovering new ways to expose his art form to the masses. The picture of the late Gregory Hines placed on the piano in memoriam may be Glover's way of saying not to worry—he will take over from here.

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