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Lar Lubovitch

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photo by John Van Lund, 1971

About

An internationally acclaimed choreographer, Lar Lubovitch has for more than four decades transcended the boundaries between ballet and modern dance with his lyrical, technically grounded, and rapturous choreography. Born in Chicago on April 9, 1943, Lubovitch attended New York City’s Juilliard School in the early 1960s, where he studied with dance icons Antony Tudor, Martha Graham, José Limón, and Anna Sokolow. He danced for key modern dance choreographers including Pearl Lang, Donald McKayle, John Butler, and Glen Tetley, as well as with the Manhattan Festival Ballet and Harkness Ballet, before founding his own company in New York City in 1968. At a time when the polarization of ballet, modern, and postmodern dance was extreme and many were reconsidering the meaning of dance, Lubovitch bridged the divide by drawing on the different forms in which he had been trained, creating choreography that honors dance legacy while remaining an individual expression of his artistic vision. In addition to scores of dances created for Lar Lubovitch Dance Company and other companies such as American Ballet Theatre, Lubovitch has created award-winning choreography for Broadway musicals, ice dancing, and films. His choreography is known for its deep musicality, virtuosity, and what critic Clive Barnes described as a “sensuously serene quality.” In 2016, Lar Lubovitch continues to create new work as his company approaches its fiftieth anniversary.

Pictured above: Lar Lubovitch, seen here in a 1971 photo, studied and performed with key choreographers in both ballet and modern dance, and has described himself as “heir to a great fortune of movement.” (Photo by John Van Lund, courtesy of Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival Archives)

Photo by Jack Mitchell

Pictured left: Sylvain Lafortune and Rick Michalek performing Concerto Six Twenty-Two in 1986. One of Lubovitch’s best-known works, Concerto Six-Twenty-Two was created in response to the AIDS crisis. The second movement of the piece, pictured here, features a tender male duet, celebrating friendship between men, rooted in dignity. (Photo by Jack Mitchell, courtesy of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company)


FURTHER RESEARCH

Read an essay by Maureen E. Maryanski -- Selected resources


Pictured below: Little Rhapsodies, performed by Jay Franke, Rasta Thomas, and Sean Stewart in 2007, was set to music by Robert Schumann, one of many classical composers Lar Lubovitch has drawn on. In discussing his more recent dances, Lubovitch continues to emphasize dance as a way “to describe music with movement” and as a “form of movement poetry.” (Photo by Nan Melville, courtesy of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company) 

Little Rhapsodies, photo by Nan Melville

Pictured left (below): Julie Kent and Marcelo Gomes of American Ballet Theatre performing Othello, 2007. Lubovitch created this full-length narrative work for ABT in 1997. (Photo by Gene Schianvone, courtesy of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company)

Pictured right (below): Lar Lubovitch (third from right) and dancers in Marimba, 1976. One of the stand-outs among Lubovitch’s early works, Marimba was set to a score by minimalist composer Steve Reich. Maureen Maryanski writes of this era, “Flowing and circular qualities coupled with a telephone-style transmission of movement between dancers onstage filled these dances with energy and vibrancy.” (Photo by Colette Masson, courtesy of Lar Lubovitch Dance Company)

Othello, photo by Gene Schianvone

Marimba, photo by Colette Mason

 

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Sylvain Lafortune and Rick Michalek in an excerpt from the second movement of Lubovitch’s Concerto Six Twenty-Two, with music by W.A. Mozart ("Concerto for Clarinet and Orchestra," K.#622). In 1993, New York Times critic Anna Kisselgoff called this “the most famous male duet in the international dance world,” adding that “the dancers' mutual support speaks of a caring relationship.” Choreography copyright © Lar Lubovitch 1986.