Center for the Arts Presents Lar Lubovitch Dance Company

Posted: November 4, 2010 at 1:00 am, Last Updated: November 3, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Lar Lubovitch's "Coltrane's Favorite Things." Photo by Chris Callis

The New York-based Lar Lubovitch Dance Company will appear Mason’s Center for the Arts Concert Hall on Friday, Nov. 5 at 8 p.m., performing exciting new works as well as classic pieces from Lubovitch’s repertory.

In this appearance, the company performs 1978’s “North Star,” a beautiful and mysterious piece set to Philip Glass’ work by the same name and 2005’s “Nature Boy: Kurt Elling” (formerly titled “Love Stories”), set to jazz music from the American songbook performed by Elling.

The company also performs the Washington, D.C., premiere of one of Lubovitch’s newest works, 2010’s “Coltrane’s Favorite Things,” set to John Coltrane’s 1963 “Live in Copenhagen” interpretation of Richard Rodgers’ “My Favorite Things” and performed in front of a rendering of Jackson Pollock’s painting “Autumn Rhythm (No. 30).”

Born in Chicago, Lubovitch studied dance at the University of Iowa and the Juilliard School, where his instructors included Antony Tudor, José Limón, Anna Sokolow and Martha Graham.

After graduation, he performed with numerous ballet, jazz and ethnic dance companies before forming the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company in 1968.

In addition to choreographing more than 100 dances for his own company, Lubovitch has created dances for numerous professional ensembles throughout the world, including the New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theatre, Paris Opera Ballet, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and the White Oak Dance Project, among others.

Lubovitch also did the musical staging for the 1987 Stephen Sondheim and James Lapine musical, “Into the Woods,” for which he received a Tony nomination, and in 1993, he choreographed the Broadway show “The Red Shoes,” for which he received the 1993-94 Astaire Award from the Theater Development Fund.

Subsequent work included the musical staging for “The King and I” and Walt Disney’s stage version for “The Hunchback of Notre Dame.”

In addition to his work for stage, screen and television, Lubovitch has also created ice dances for Olympic gold medalists John Curry, Peggy Fleming and Dorothy Hamill, as well as a full-length ice-dancing version of “The Sleeping Beauty” for Olympic medalists Robin Cousins and Rosalynn Sumners.

In 2007, Lubovitch founded the Chicago Dancing Company, a nonprofit organization with a mission of presenting a wide variety of quality dance while building audiences in his native Chicago. As a part of the effort, the Chicago Dancing Festival was launched in collaboration with Chicago’s Museum of Contemporary Art and the City of Chicago.

The festival’s official premiere was a free one-night-only dance concert in Millennium Park that was attended by more than 8,000 people and featured dancers from seven leading American dance companies.

Lar Lubovitch Dance Company has performed in virtually every state and more than 30 countries since it was formed more than 40 years ago. In recognition of its work, the company has received numerous grants and awards from the National Endowment for the Arts, New York State Council on the Arts and the Lila Wallace-Reader’s Digest Fund.

“Lar taught me not to be afraid of beauty — he embraces it,” says Susan Shields, a professor in Mason’s School of Dance who was a member of the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company for eight years.

“Working with someone like that for so many years infused my relationship with dance. It is an idea I try to pass on in my work with our students. I am excited that they will see work I know so intimately.”

Shields danced in “North Star” and called it “so magical that the audience will surely feel as though they have traveled through the night sky.”

The Mason Dance Company will perform Lubovitch’s “Dvorak Serenade” at its 2011 Gala Concert on March 25 and 26 with Shields as the rehearsal director for the piece.

A discussion, free to ticket holders, begins 45 minutes prior to the performance on the Center’s Grand Tier. Pre-performance discussions are sponsored by the Friends of the Center for the Arts.

Tickets are $44, $36 and $22. Charge by phone at 888-945-2468 or visit

Write to gazette at