My review of ‘Dancing Lessons’ at Jewish Ensemble Theatre

Screen Shot 2016-03-28 at 2.10.17 PMConventional wisdom dictates that opposites attract, and that often, the people to whom we grow closest are those who possess the qualities we lack. Inevitably, though, we must acknowledge that the antithesis is true, too: we’re just as likely to fall in step easily with people who mirror our own deficits and damage.

Being confronted by our own weaknesses (in the form of another person) might make us wildly uncomfortable at times, but it also provides us with a natural kinship– a sense of not being painfully alone in our struggles. Mark St. Germain’s play Dancing Lessons, now being produced by Jewish Ensemble Theatre, explores this dynamic as it draws together two New Yorkers who’ve never previously met, but live in the same building: Senga (Sarab Kamoo), a Broadway dancer who recently sustained a career-ending injury when a cab jumped the curb; and Ever (Michael Brian Ogden), an earth science professor with Asperger’s syndrome.

The two meet when Ever comes knocking on recuperating Senga’s door, offering to pay her more than $2,000 for a one-hour dance lesson after the building’s super has clued in Ever on Senga’s profession. Why? Because Ever has won an award, and he must consequently attend a formal dinner that includes dancing–which he has no idea how to do. Plus, he can’t cheat by way of slow dancing, because he finds human contact way too overstimulating. So as Senga–with one leg strapped into a brace – tries to acclimate Ever to moving his body in time to an uptempo song, the two start to share a little more of themselves with each other; but Ever’s bluntness ultimately causes the lesson’s de-railment. Things don’t just end there, of course. Ever later returns, arguing that he didn’t get all the time he’d paid for, and soon, a tentative friendship evolves between him and Senga that far transcends the bounds of dance instruction. READ THE REST HERE


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