Review “Supreme Love” (Tapman Productions): Supreme Loved!

Monday, September 7, 2015 Permalink
Starinah Dixon, from left, Ian Berg, Jumaane Taylor, Alexandrya Fryson, Donnetta Jackson and Tristan Bruns

Starinah Dixon, from left, Ian Berg, Jumaane Taylor, Alexandrya Fryson, Donnetta Jackson and Tristan Bruns

Tapman Productions presents M.A.D.D. Rhythms‘ SUPREME LOVE.

What I supremely love about SUPREME LOVE is the diversity of the dancers. Ian Berg towers on the fringe.  Alexandrya Fryson radiates a youthful glow.  A polished Donnetta Jackson moves with confidence.  This group doesn’t necessarily look like they go together but they do.  They really do!

Choreographer Jumaane Taylor brings this eclectic crew to life.  Taylor starts the show with he and his dancers lying in the darkness.  In rhythm to the sultry jazz, the tappers arise and put their shoes on.  And then there is no rest after that. For the majority of an hour, Taylor, Berg, Fryson, Jackson, Tristan Bruns and Starinah Dixon dance in perfect synchronicity.  Their movements are transfixing.  It looks effortless but the physicality required for this dance marathon is marveling. 

In one of my favorite sequences, they take turns as a soloist tapper.  As one dancer showcases her/his tapping chops centerstage, the others slowly pace back and forth behind the dancer.  At one point, the filing stops and the dancers rapidly clap effectively ‘handing the baton‘ to the next soloist. It looks spontaneously cool.  I’m certain it’s not. 

A year ago, when I thought about tap dancing, I imagined Fred and Ginger in a tux and a gown.  Or I envisioned the Rockettes, a group of women that looked identical, same height, same color, same hair.  Since I’ve been coming to Tapman productions, I expect variety.  Taylor aids my preconception by having his dancers initially in street clothes.  The individualistic wardrobe matches the diversity of the dancers.  As they dance, they lose their distinctiveness as they become this united tour de force.  And Taylor again coordinates how I see the group later by dressing them all in versions of white garments for the finale.  The visual has a soulful synergy.  There is a symmetry from beginning to end of SUPREME LOVE. It seems to take us from death to life to afterlife.

And for the curtain call, as with all Tapman Productions, the audience is invited to shim sham.  For my performance, a woman got up and got down dancing with the ensemble.  After seeing the 2015 season, I feel like I should be able to join in the festive ending.  Maybe next season!

                            

Running Time: Fifty-five minutes with no intermission

At Athenaeum Theatre, 2936 N. Southport

Choreographed by Jumaane Taylor

Music direction by Rajiv Halim

Fridays at 7:30pm

Saturdays at 3pm and 7:30pm

Sundays at 3pm (no performance September 6th)

Additional performance September 10th at 7:30pm

Thru September 20th 

Buy Tickets at www.tapmanproductions.com

Production photo by  Javier K. Villamil

For more reviews and information on Chicago theatre, visit Theatre in Chicago.

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