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Rep Theatre outdoes itself with `Chairs'

This one's gonna make some of you cry.

The Repertory Dance Theatre has outdone itself with Zvi Gotheiner's "Chairs."The Israeli choreographer had stated in the past how reluctant he was to have another dance company - other than his own - perform this work.

He worried in vain.

In RDT's hands this work brought tears to some of the high school students' eyes Thursday morning. And looking around, even some of the dance company's administrators were wiping their faces.

What a beautiful work of art. The movements, the use of space, the music and, of course, the use of the namesake props were all put together in an intricate web of emotion, insight and vision.

Gotheiner has managed to make breathtaking magic with 10 dancers and 10 wooden chairs. Sure the music he used - everything from Beethoven to spoken word soundtracks - drove some of the points home, but they would have been nothing but ramblings without the dancing.

"Chairs" is not about what kinds of dancing can be done on top or around chairs. The work is about the human experience. The chairs become boundaries, burdens, life support and sacred objects.

During the 65 minutes, the RDT dancers picked up, tipped over, carried, scooted, stepped on and twirled about the chairs. But there was more. In addition to the solos, duets and quartets, the 10 dancers took center stage in flowing variations that were both powerful and though provoking.

Relationships, insecurities and aspirations peaked through the movements as the dancers spun in anguish and tenderness around and on top of the chairs. In the audiences' eyes, the chairs were seen from the top, side and bottom giving a new dimension to the work. The chairs also became a bed and an abstract birth canal during the work's powerful climax.

The entire selection flowed evenly. Timing was most crucial during the standing, sitting and stepping. But there was also the element of balance that was so important as dancers lifted each other while standing on only one piece of furniture.

Subtle and heavy repetition were used interchangeably throughout the work, which never lost any of its energy. ("Chairs" is performed without an intermission). And the dynamic lighting shifted the focus and made the transitions from one segment to another in a smooth, uninterrupted way.

The Repertory Dance Theatre brought to life the abstractness of Gotheiner's work, and gave it a deep sense of substance. And many audience members will find themselves reflecting back on their lives, or looking to the future, as they see some of the scenes unfold in the intimate black box theater.

Once again, what a beautiful work of art.