BWW Review: ROOMING HOUSE by Lucky Plush At The Kennedy Center
Lucky Plush's Rooming House changed the way I think about dance. The piece's blend of theatre and movement feels brand new and exciting. The dancers communicate constantly as they move, speaking in a dialogue more natural, and more funny, than most plays. Together they try to understand character and motivation through dance, examining everything from the Orpheus myth to recent headlines to their own childhood memories. It's as beautiful and as it is unique.
The real strength of Rooming House lies in the chemistry of its ensemble. While the piece is clearly lovingly choreographed it never loses its sense of exploration. The feeling of a tight knit group of performers stretching towards the truth radiates off the stage. This heady sense of improvisation pulls the audience in, making us feel more like workshop participants than passive observers.
Julia Rhoads' choreography is playful and expressive. I especially loved watching the gender-neutral partner work; it's a thing I rarely see on stage and the beautiful results here showed how much of a missed opportunity that is. Rhoads incorporates all sorts of flavors in to her movement without ever losing sight of the whole; elements of modern, hip-hop, ballroom, and voguing are all integrated seamlessly.
Michael Caskey's original music also deserves recognition. His rhythmic score melds perfectly with the dialogue, creating a sense of propulsion without overwhelming the ensemble.
I highly recommend Rooming House, even if you normally feel confused or alienated by traditional dance performance. If any company can change your mind, it's Lucky Plush.
Rooming House is at the Kennedy Center from May 2 -4th, 2019.
The photo is of Kara Brody and Michel Rodriguez Cintra with the ensemble. Photo credit to Benjamin Wardell.