“Depth beyond its lighthearted surface”

“Stroman’s Take Five, naturally, featured the music of Dave Brubeck and Paul Desmond, and it provided a bright, cheery opener. Danced by six women in sherbet-hued dresses and five men in classic black shirts and pants, the choreography capitalized on percussive rhythms with precise foot and hand gestures. The precision, paired with smart repetition, also helped highlight the music’s uncommon time signatures, including the 5/4 that drives the famous song, ‘Take Five,’ in the work’s final section. The dancers performed with balletic jazziness, and their clean delivery gave the piece a hint of depth beyond its lighthearted surface. They also let snippets of character shine: Kaori Nakamura couldn’t find a partner; all the boys got distracted by a playfully seductive Lesley Rausch; Sarah Ricard Orza floated dreamily above a line of sleeping couples who supported her from below. The whole piece had a ‘Broadway ballet’ feel, complete with smoke and a few flashing lights, which is not surprising given Stroman’s history. Live music bolstered the success of the piece, too—a reminder that jazz, like ballet’s classical scores, is important to hear live.”