The Lewitzky dancers, a handsome troupe of 12 dancers, is a company in harmony with itself and with its times. Lewitzky's vital choreography, fashioned with consummate technical skill and imagination, appears to be balanced at the point where audience appreciation and artistic originality meet.
Not that Lewitzky is not quite capable of being much more avant garde, of leading her viewers farther into the future, but the two works selected for the amusement of a varied public on Saturday night succeeded beautifully, both as art and entertainment.Most stunning was the piece danced last, "Nos Duraturi" - sensible programming under ordinary circumstances, but rather unfortunate at the end of a festival day; for many of the audience, surfeited by a long opening work, left early.
Those who remained were overwhelmed by the sharp, hungry intensity of this setting of Stravinsky's "Symphony of Psalms," which captures in movement the drive and urgency of the music, alternating with lyric exaltation.
Lewitzky's design for space, always almost palpably geometric, is especially beautifully conceived in this work - from the large choric climaxes with everyone in vigorous motion, to the pensive solos, duets for man and woman, two men or two women; and especially in the beatific "Alleluiah" where the dancers break into poetic groups of three. Three lines of four dancers sometimes worked in contrary movement - a simple device, but filled with an exhilarating sense of opposition.
Few could shake the mental image of striking simultaneous lifts of all the women at once, or the equally indelible sight of two figures lifting a third to prone position - four arches of three, pacing the stage. In Lewitzky hands they flow from one spectacular pose to another smoothly and originally, and always gracefully. Permeating all was a strong sense of the beauty of the human body, its lyric possibilities, and power to express in plastic legato flow the power of this music.
The company opened with "Impressions III," set to a synthetic score that exactly apprehended the sense of a series of sketches in dance depicting works by Paul Klee.
The piece was too long at 45 minutes, and lost some of its momentum toward the end; but most of it was delightfully descriptive, clever and amusing, as the dancers traced the astringent colors and shapes of the abstract Swiss artist, in a series of "pictures at an exhibition." Though there were many group dances, this piece thrived on individual artistry, as each dancer used his own special technique and spirit to interpret the movements, often as angular, springy and bouncy as the art works they depicted.
The opening picture used a white string to unite the dancers - a simple but effective visual device. A child at play explored the possibilities of a large ball in leisurely tempo; some dancers perform a circusy street dance with an Oriental feeling.
Among the most striking was a vignette using frames to enclose all or part of the body, as dancers showed how each could relate to these rectangular shapes, as big as door size or as small as face frames. A giant Klee face was supported by tap-dancing feet; three ghostly figures draped in sheets cavorted singly or holding hands as they swished about the stage. One often had the impression of dolls doing these little dances.