June 23, 2011
Before the premiere of “Sole Sanctuary” begins Savion Glover visits a candle lit shrine set into an alcove in the brick wall of the Joyce Theater.
Photographs of his idols, the great tap legends, (Gregory Hines, Fayard Nicholas, Jimmy Slyde, Sammy Davis Jr., Honi Coles, ,etc.) are suspended above the stage and four platforms.
Mr. Glover, all in white, takes his miked platform and begins to tap with gentle swaying arms while each of the legends "light up" above him. It is as if he is entering a sacred space or zone as he creates a dialogue with the floor. The range of sounds he is capable of is astounding- a whoosh as the side of the tap, a hollow clomp, a deep boom, and a “whisk" across the wood. Some of the rhythms are visual; a clock, a train, while others conjure feelings- love, pain, anger, defiance. Still others, like the fast vibrating loose movement of one leg, are reminiscent of bacon sizzling or arpeggios being produced by a piano. At times it's like he is possessed, or working something out, but at others he is singing, practically "scatting!”
His collaboration with fellow hoofer Marshall Davis, Jr., is sometimes a give and take or a conversation, but often it feels as though Mr. Davis, Jr. is getting an education in the process. When they are in unison it is astonishing and when they are in dialogue, the rhythmic questions are asked and answered. In one section Mr. Davis, Jr. resembles an exotic bird, in his kelly green shirt. The energy resonates through both dancers’ bodies until Mr. Glover takes his only moment- standing dead, but ever present-before beginning again. The lyrics express "I cry as I smile.....God has chosen me" and here it is true. Mr. Glover dances to the back of his platform, stepping off and back to the candles and begins to extinguish them.... as the audience erupts with applause and respect.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY—Deborah Wingert