Trey McIntyre's Split perfectly mirrored the riffs and cymbal crashes of jazz percussionist Art Blakey's Split Skins. There was no message here -- just an abstract, good-natured celebration of kinetic energy. Split had some "wow" moments, especially with the fun hand gestures for its six performers. Kendra Moore, a swift, small-bodied dancer who looks like she could fly up into the rafters if her partners weren't holding her down, stood out here and also in Jim Vincent's new counter/part, which was previewed. (It officially premieres next month in Chicago.)
Following an early intermission, superstar boy hero Darren Cherry took the stage for an opening solo in the world premiere of "Split," performed to a recording of Art Blakey's all-percussion piece "Split Skins." Red-headed Cherry is a dancer of modest demeanor and explosive talent. With his willowy body, extra-fluid spine, and light soundless jumps that float up like Marilyn Monroe's skirt in a puff of wind, Cherry is one to watch. Gregory Sample, who performs with an intriguing mix of irony and sincerity, entered with another solo, fluttering his hand over his head like a feather, an idea, a hello. The two were joined by the confident and playful Sandi Cooksey for a wiggly trio, all bouncing around merrily to Blakey's relentlessly joyful drum music. Mary Nesvadba, Steve Coutereel, and Shannon Alvis rounded out the cast with elan and enthusiasm.
The dance phrases employed in "Split" were intense and layered. Multi-dimensional, multi-referential to jazz, ballet, post-mod, etcetera; the movements were complex and full of ideas. In many ways this was a primo Hubbard St. piece; the dancers looked great and they sold us the jazzy-modern fun good time with conviction.