LET’S DANCE AT THE  IVORYTON PLAYHOUSE


BONNIE GOLDBERG

Move over, Arthur Murray, there’s a new dance instructor in town. While he’s smooth on his feet, this teacher is brash, irreverent, outspoken and definitely in your face. He’s got both everything to prove and nothing to lose. Come meet Michael Minetti, brought to overconfident and slightly irritating life by Michael Iannucci, in the charming and ultimately heartwarming “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” by Richard Alfieri at the Ivoryton Playhouse until Sunday, May 22.

The Playhouse will be rolling up the rugs to make room for intimate instruction in the Swing, Tango, Viennese Waltz, Foxtrot, Cha-Cha and modern moves like the Monkey. Michael has been hired by a gracious and genteel older Southern lady, Miss Lily Harrison, to come to her lovely Florida condo to provide private steps and patterns in the graceful art of the dance. Valerie Stack Dodge is the Steel Magnolia gentlewoman who is not prepared initially to deal with this caustic man with a weird sense of humor.

Their first lesson is almost over before it begins. Michael is insulting and rude and Lily is bewildered and offended by his attitude. When Michael apologizes, with a series of lies about his background, Lily reluctantly assents to give him a trial run. As Michael describes each dance as a communication of the soul, this unlikely couple achieves a rhythm and fluidity. Clearly they are both enamored of the magic of the movement and they gradually reveal their fears and secrets and past lives. Each is a loner, having learned not to trust. Together they build an unlikely but sincere friendship both on and off the dance floor. Sasha Bratt has orchestrated this inviting tale of tolerance, understanding and compassion on a welcoming set designed by William Russell Stark, with choreography by Apollo Smile and stylish costumes by Lisa Bebey.

For tickets ($44 adults, $39 seniors, $22 students, $17 children), call the Ivoryton Playhouse, 103 Main Street, Ivoryton at 860-767-7318 or online at www.ivorytonplayhouse.org. Performances are Wednesday and Thursday at 7:30 p.m., Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m., with matinees Wednesday and Sunday at 2 p.m.

Get set to experience the joy of the dance as Michael and Lily take the steps to climb that illusive stairway to paradise.


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