Los Angeles Dance Review: SAVION GLOVER’S STePz (Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge)

by Myra Joy Veluz on March 11, 2014

in Theater-Los Angeles

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WAITING TO CLIMAX

To use a sexually potent metaphor, STePz’ display of tap choreography was long on foreplay, producing many unfulfilled climaxes which led to an awkward happy ending. The slow build up, I believe, was due to the show’s lack of intensity, and should not to be Savion Glover's STePzmistaken for the caliber of tap dancing executed by Savion Glover and his peers. Sadly, rekindling my rhythmic lust is going to take some time.

Rather than presenting a smaller set of dances that showcase the best choreographic ideas, there were 12 numbers awkwardly pieced in 2 halves over the span of 120 minutes. The stories or intentions of the pieces were very obvious given that the audience chuckled, gasped, and even clapped during the most rhythmically challenging displays of tap dancing. However the predictability of the work led to boredom. For instance, I was delighted when Mission Impossible finally took the stage. Surely, the duet between Savion Glover and Marshall Davis Jr. was going to blow my mind as the dance was set to Lalo Schifrin’s iconic theme song. After three minutes of redundant tap steps I wanted to say, “We get it! You’re trying to see who will mess up the step first.”

Even the laughter from the audience during Shasta couldn’t deter my attention from feeling like I was constantly being led on. Yes, we understand that the ensemble is poking fun at ballet but where does that lead us to next? It isn’t enough Savion Glover's STePzto make a parody without having a grand finale of some sort. The dancing spoke volumes about the mastery of rhythmic steps, but a reevaluation of the order of pieces and their transitions could have been refined.

Thank goodness though for Stepz, a solo from Mr. Glover, and Stevie Delicious, a vibrant, jazz-inspired piece paying homage to Stevie Wonder. The transition from seeing Savion at his most vulnerable to a happy-go-lucky rhythmic sensation dancing with his friends made all the difference. If the show’s rhythm had grown with the same passion as these last two pieces, the audience—which was low in attendance—could have experienced a catharsis. Instead, the evening was out of step, and we only saw slivers of awe and joy.

photos by Lois Greenfield

STePz
Savion Glover featuring Marshall Davis, Jr. & 3CW
Valley Performing Arts Center in Northridge
played on Friday March 7, 2014
for future events, call (818) 677-3000 or visit VPAC
for more info, visit Savion Glover Productions or HooFeRzCLuB
for tour info, visit CAMI Music

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