'Aspects of Love' explores matters of the heart

Dance Theatre of Tennessee offered an appropriate coda to the Valentine season this weekend with “Aspects of Love," a celebration of dance, music and love that handles all matters of the heart.

Led by longtime Nashville Principal Dancer and Artistic Director Christopher Mohnani, DTT presented six pieces during their winter performance. Included in that tally is the thought-provoking piece, “Two of You." A sexually-frustrated married man (Brian Williamson) leaves his devoted wife (Jennifer Drake) and adolescent daughter (Marian Faustino) to embark on a relationship with a young admirer (Jayson Pescasio).

Creator Ea Torrado developed this compelling story, one that tackles the tricky subjects of societal homophobia and romantic desire, after her former roommate was romantically involved with a married man.

In a terrific performance, these four dancers portray the difficulty of sustaining satisfying human relationships. Expected to embrace traditional societal roles, Williamson spends the prime of his life mingling instead with an attractive boy who has vigorous aspirations for their romance. The affair, though, creates its own dilemmas. Pescasio's expressive personality on stage evokes the image of a headstrong young man who thinks with his heart and not his head. That turns out to be trouble for Williamson's character, who's unable to handle someone else's fiery emotions let alone his own. In the second stage of the piece, the couple's fortunes take a surprising turn that crescendos into a volatile ending.

Williamson, the most powerful member of this fine ensemble, deftly handles the tough position of being the traditional family man turning totally against his nature to fit society's mold. His acrobatic gift portrays both the pleasures and pains of his situation. Playing the role of the lonely wife, Drake shows signs of strain in her face, but her exquisite form portrays confidence and composure. As she tries to handle the intense pressure, her fluid movements betray her longing for her husband and the life they once knew.

Among other features of "Aspects of Love" are the more buoyant pieces "Paquita Grand Pas Classique" and "Nuts." The finale, also titled "Aspects of Love," was the showpiece of the event, featuring both classic and contemporary songs performed by Michael Buble and choreographed by Williamson. The exquisite costuming is reminiscent of the 1950s, and the sheer joy of the dancers demonstrated that love can indeed conquer all. The addition of the DTT Youth Ensemble was a nice touch that exhibited the promising young talent that might rise up to join the already excellent cast of DTT in the future.

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