Ooh La Laa
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre
Through Feb. 19
Gregory Hancock Dance Theatre lets loose with Ooh La Laa in their Performer's Edge cabaret setting. Christine Colquitt carries off a scintillating Josephine Baker glyph replete with black poodle wig and plastic banana mini. An hour later, she spellbinds in the beautiful Duet from The Hunchback of Notre Dame, with Martin Casanova equally changing from sassy in Porter's "I Love Paris" to break your heart with his sense of loss.
Between these extremes we're served a potpourri of Gregory Hancock's choreography and costumes in lighthearted and thought-provoking pieces to evoke multiple moods of Paris to showcase the company in solos and duets. Rachel Rutland Maryanovskaya dreams as a maid, Sarah Collister and Jesse Sebastian partner in a story of abuse and retribution. Heather King high kicks and cartwheels in "Because We Can."
Excerpts from the abstract "Crop Circle" features the company in bold lifts and the countering of angular upper body movement within the roundness of foot travel. The stage pictures, in constant motion, invite and repel.
The fast-paced, comedic "Cuchi Cuchi" particularly brings attention to the company's newest additions, Brittany Crosby and Jesse Sebastian.
The standout piece is "Salome" with its strong character roles akin to opera-as-movement in arias, duets, trios and quartets. Set on music by Nicholas Lens, the drama builds as relationships wire-tighten for the jarring final moment.
The 14-member Student Dance Ensemble moved lithely through "Complainte de la Butte." Michelle Meltzer, in anticipation of the Grand Prix competition, exhibited coolness in the complex choreography of "AlphaAhpla." Lindsay Campbell pleased as the French poodle. Sophia Cothrel, as Marie Antionette, dispersed cake to the audience.
"Be Our Guest" opened the program as a romp. "Pleuvoir à Paris" closed with a wisp of nostalgia. A slow, painterly promenade with black umbrellas, to "Fatiguee d' attendre," segued to a languid "La Vie En Rose," followed by fluid solos and partnering to "Clair de Lune."
Ooh La Laa continues Feb. 10-12 and 17-19 at Performer's Edge, 12995 Old Meridian St., Carmel. Call 317-846-2441, www.gregoryhancockdancetheatre.org.