Lehrer Dance Sells Out the Mainstage Theatre at UB’s Center for the Arts – Rave Review
It may have been cold, raw and damp outside on Saturday night, but inside, in the Mainstage Theatre at the University at Buffalo’s North Campus, things were red hot.
Lehrer Dance Company, the homegrown troupe that has earned worldwide acclaim in recent years, took the stage before a sold-out crowd for a one-night visit.
The group, fresh off of a week of shows, performed six numbers, including two world premieres, “Chukchi” and “Like a Dream in the Night” – the latter which ended the evening, backed by the folk-rock band 10,000 Maniacs.
When founder Jon Lehrer spoke with The News last week, he described his dance routines as “a combination of athleticism and artistry,” and he wasted little time in delighting the 1,700 who filled the center with both.
From the opening number, “Cash or Check,” with its high-energy playfulness and period costumes transporting you back to 1920s America, the eight-member dance company showed off their artistic side.
Above all, group members looked as though they were having a blast – as though there was nowhere else they’d rather be. The enthusiasm was contagious in the crowd and set the feel for the evening.
To be sure, live dance is a niche event. But Lehrer and dancers offered something for everyone. If you love dance, their original pieces wowed you and if you’ve never been a fan, you couldn’t help but be awed by the flawless choreography, the electric energy onstage.
Adding another layer to a magnificent evening of dance and music was the fabulous storytelling. While virtually no words were spoken, each dancer, through facial expressions and body language, delivered a tale so powerful words weren’t needed.
And, if you thought dance numbers are stuffy and serious, “Loose Cannon” was a laugh-out-loud funny dance number that took the art of sleeping to a whole new level.
Though you’d be hard pressed to single out the best number of the evening, the world premiere of “Chukchi,” inspired by and dedicated to the indigenous people of a small village in Russia where the company performed and trained, was a spectacle worthy of Broadway.
With a tribal feel and set to the music of their Russian hosts, Ergyron, “Chukchi” was breathtaking. When the lights went down, it drew the loudest applause of the evening, and rightfully so.
Fans who came to see 10,000 Maniacs had to wait until the final number, the second world premiere, “Like a Dream in the Night,” but it was a wait well worth it as Mary Ramsey and Co. joined the dancers for a magical finale.
With the troupe dressed all in white and the band in the background, they offered up a high-octane finish set to a mix of old and new music, including Maniacs staples, “Because the Night” and “These are Days,” which brought the crowd to its collective feet.
The Buffalo News
“Lehrer’s red-hot dancers dazzle in UB performance”
Updated 10:34 AM
October 4, 2015