Classical Savion, featuring Savion Glover. At the Lobero
Theatre, Sunday, October 1.

Reviewed by Elizabeth Schwyzer

I took my seat beneath dimming lights as Savion Glover hurried
onstage in an unbuttoned dress shirt with dangling cuffs. Glover’s
tousled look was, I think, intentional. The gangly-limbed,
baby-faced dancer has been hoofing for a quarter century — plenty
of time to perfect his image while honing a toe-tapping talent
unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. His brilliant string ensemble
opened with the Presto from Vivaldi’s “Summer,” and Glover
immediately started prancing about on his raised stage, shirt flaps
flying and dreadlocks bouncing. I kept picturing myself at a formal
wedding reception, with Glover as the restless ring-bearer unable
to control his impatient limbs. As his feet chattered and jiggled,
a grin broke across his face, and beads of sweat began to fly.

Glover may well be hyperactive — I’m not sure how else to
explain his ability to maintain such physical intensity for a
straight two hours. If anything, his energy built as the evening
progressed from baroque to modern, with Glover delighting in the
scores as if he was hearing them for the first time. He sometimes
spent an entire segment with his back to the audience, fully
engaged with the other players in rapid musical dialogue. At
certain times, he set the pace, and at others, he followed,
alternating between stealing the limelight with comic contrapuntal
statements, and slipping into the shadows to allow his musicians to

Glover is a master of timing. Both as a rhythm artist and as a
performer more generally, he knows when to lay it on heavy and when
to hold back with subtle understatement. He really got down to the
frenetic, layered “Scherzo” of a Mendelssohn string octet: knees
bent and hunched from the waist, he hoofed out funk beats and
scraped his heels against the music’s compositional

After soaking through two sets of clothing, Glover returned for
the third and final portion of the show to jam with each musician
in turn, inviting a drummer, pianist, and flautist to join the
others onstage for short, ecstatic improvisational sessions, each
more mind-blowing than the last. One of the many highlights here
was a duet between Glover and the pianist. They riffed off one
another with eyes locked, one man’s hands flying as fast as the
other’s feet. On my way out after the show, I caught Glover at the
stage door, dressed now in baggy cotton and chatting with some
excited fans. His jumpy energy confirmed my hunch that it was no
stage act — the guy really is just as wired as a puppy.


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