A Percussive Prayer: “SoLe Sanctuary”

Savion GloverPhoto: Lois Greenfield

Photo credit: Lois Greenfield, Marshall Davis Jr. unfortunately not pictured.

presented by Celebrity Series of Boston and World Music/CRASHarts

Featuring Savion Glover and Marshall Davis Jr.: The Last HooFeRz Standing
Directed and Choreographed by Spirits Known

Saturday, January 12, 8pm ONLY (alas!)
Ran 2 hours without an intermission
The Boston Opera House
539 Washington Street, Boston.
Celebrity Series of Boston and World Music/CRASHarts Facebook Pages

Savion Glover’s SoLe Sanctuary is an homage to the great performers that have inspired his career. It is also a devotional to God; a spiritual testament to his journey as a dancer and artist. Starting from the opening moments when Glover is meditating over candles, the program wavers between personal statement and percussive prayer. It is a deeply intimate perspective of Glover’s experience as a dancer, man and child of the divine. It is no secret that Savion Glover is a talented tap dancer. He was a popular guest star on Sesame Street in the late 80’s. He became a regular in 1990. For a certain generation, Glover represents golden childhood memories. The draw is obvious; to see the wunderkind transform to an especially talented adult-Legend can lead the individual to recognize personal transformations as well.  

Glover’s dance ranges from small movements to flashy grand gestures across the stage. Some of them are so subtle that the tap sounds appear to resonate from the naked air yet the sound was strong and loud.  Often his tapping was the only soundtrack to the dance. The music was used for specific pieces in the program such as the first and last pieces, “Entering the Monastery of His Out’Ness” and “Amen.” Glover sang his own accompaniment for “Gee Oh Dee.” The gentleman not only dances but sings very well. It’s almost not fair.

Glover is joined for the majority of the evening by Marshall Davis Jr. Mr. Glover is very, very talented so please understand that I mean no disrespect when I say that Davis Jr is better. Glover is flashy but Davis Jr. radiates an inner peace that Glover has not yet attained. Davis Jr.’s solo numbers foreshadow the performance that Glover will one day be capable of. This is good. It means even a legendary performer like Savion Glover has room to grow.

The 11 pieces blend together into one seamless performance. The first 20 minutes are shocking in their awe-inspiration: Glover and Davis Jr. are a wonder to watch. The next 20 are magical. The next 30 are surreal. The rest of the performance is a wash. 2 straight hours of anything whether it’s prayerful tap or macrame is a lot to take in. So while Mr. Glover was amazing, the performance template needs editing. A five minute curtain close would give the audience time to refocus and refresh for the 2nd half.

Dancing clearly brings Glover (and Davis Jr.) great joy. His head is in another reality whereas his feet are firmly in this one. He doesn’t make much eye contact with the audience but it doesn’t deter from the performance – he is either with God or the men that he honors with his dance.

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