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Dance Review

Glover mixes soul, speed, and some flamenco

Savion Glover brought “SoLo iN TiME’’ to Boston Saturday night, with fellow dancer Marshall Davis Jr., accompanied by percussionist Carmen Estevez. Here they are pictured in New York. Savion Glover brought “SoLo iN TiME’’ to Boston Saturday night, with fellow dancer Marshall Davis Jr., accompanied by percussionist Carmen Estevez. Here they are pictured in New York. (Ruby Washington/The New York Times/ File 2009)
By Thea Singer
Globe Correspondent / January 31, 2011

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Hoofing sensation Savion Glover is also an on-the-spot composer-musician-instrumentalist par excellence who bangs out crackling, intricate scores with his size 12 1/2EE feet. Pair his “Hooferz’’ style with the raw emotion of flamenco, as he did Saturday in his new “SoLo iN TiME,’’ and you’ve got a steamy call-and-response, an acoustic dialogue that catapults you out of your seat.

The intermission-less show has 12 pieces, with names such as “Blue Afro’z’’ and “Craneos en el Mar.’’ It’s often tough to tell where one leaves off and the next begins, but no matter: Soul impels Glover, pushing him further and faster and deeper and denser, each click and slide and rat-a-tat-tat as articulate as the last, until you expect him to rocket off the stage in an explosion of sparks that merge with the billows of smoke hovering in the lights. It is smoke generated, no doubt, by Glover himself, from the shudder, smack, and heel-toe kiss of steel against wood.

Heat drives the three musicians, too. Glover and guitarist Gabriel Hermida don’t so much react to as anticipate each other’s moves. Eyes locked, they let fly a contest of ricocheting rhythms: Hermida’s rapid strums blur his hands, his picks flash light. In answer, Glover chugs across the miked stage before a jittering, shivering foot slows into steamy shot-blasts. The back-and-forth accelerates like a runaway train.

Percussionist-vocalist Carmen Estevez flaps loose arms, her hands lily-like but solid on the box drum she hugs between her legs. Her voice is throaty, her notes long and sweet. Glover occupies the space between those notes, now spiraling skyward, now crouching low in profile. His feet produce rivulets of sound, water rushing across rocks. He darts a toe into the ground counter to the melodic line: Nailed it.

Francesco Beccaro’s bass resounds, but his “conversations’’ with Glover don’t reach a similarly fevered pitch.

Glover calls himself a “hoofer,’’ not a “tapper.’’ A hoofer uses every part of his foot: side, sole, arch, ball, rather than just heel and toe. That organic ripple fuels Marshall Davis Jr. in their duet, Davis’s legs spread, his feet barely lifting off the ground as crescendos bubble forth.

But no one’s a match for Glover, whether he’s reverberating one foot on the floor while the knee of his other leg launches toward his nose, or he’s rattling both feet simultaneously, the left chatting away to the right.

In mathematics, there are an infinite number of points between two points on a line. In Glover’s hoofing, it seems, there are an infinite number of beats between two beats. That’s partly because he carries history in his bones. “Diane Walker, in the house. Jimmy Slyde, above us. Leon Collins, above us,’’ he says midway through the program. Amen.

Thea Singer can be reached at thea.singer@comcast.net.

SAVION GLOVER: SoLo iN TiME Presented by Celebrity Series of Boston and WorldMusic/CRASHarts

At: Boston Opera House, Saturday night