Tuesday, March 31, 2015
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

Sign up for some ‘Dance Lessons’

Brash dance instructor Michael Minetti (Justin Samuel Cowan) and mild-mannered preacher's wife Lily Harrison (Becky Saunders) trip the light fantastic in "Six Dances in Six Weeks," playing through Dec. 18 on the Pollock Stage at the Sacramento Theatre Company. Courtesy photo

By
From page A7 | November 17, 2011 |

Check it out

What: “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks”

When: Through Dec. 18, 6:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 8 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; 12:30 p.m. Wednesdays and Thursdays, 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays

Where: Sacramento Theatre Company, 1419 H St., Sacramento

Tickets: $34-$38 general, $29-$33 seniors, $15 students; sactheatre.org; (916) 443-6722

At its core, “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks,” currently on the Sacramento Theatre Company’s Pollock Stage, is a story about loneliness, isolation and friendship. This play, by Richard Alfieri and directed by Michele Hillen-Noufer, is both hilariously funny and painfully poignant.

The material is somewhat dated and the plot is repetitious and predictable, yet in the hands of talented actors Becky Saunders and Justin Samuel Cowan — both newcomers to STC — it turns out to be an enjoyable evening of theater.

This is the story of an older woman, Lily, who arranges for private dance lessons in her St. Petersburg Beach, Fla., condo. Enter Michael, a middle-aged ex-Broadway chorus boy with a huge chip on his shoulder. The sparks fly from the beginning. Lily is the wife of a Baptist minister; Michael can’t control his temper and uses foul language.

Each of the seven scenes in the play follows the same format — Michael arrives for the lesson, his boom box and the foot cut-outs he places on the floor to help learn the dance steps in his duffel bag. There are personality clashes resulting from some hidden secret one or the other are trying to protect, Lily threatens to end the lessons, they talk, they argue and they dance.

The scene ends with a phone call from a downstairs neighbor, Ida, who is upset about the sound of dancing feet on her ceiling.

As they work through their differences, secrets are revealed. Lily’s husband isn’t out running errands, he actually died a few years ago. Michael’s wife isn’t sick, he has no wife because he’s gay and mourning his own losses. As they work their way through the swing, the tango, the Viennese waltz and others, a grudging friendship begins to form as more secrets are shared and the loneliness that both people feel begins to dissolve.

Saunders and Cowan make these characters believable and play beautifully off each other. Lily is reserved and her Southern gentility has been forged by years of being a minister’s wife, always smiling, always gracious, keeping all of her real feelings bottled up. She has perhaps never encountered anything as open, brash and vulgar as Michael.

Michael uses anger to protect himself, suspecting homophobia in every person he meets, but he senses Lily’s vulnerability. Over the weeks, he responds to her desperate need for friendship, which early on telescopes the emotional final scene, “Bonus Lessons.”

The set for this show, designed by Mims Mattair, also a newcomer to STC, is perhaps the most memorable I have seen in the Pollock Theater. He uses the entire stage, from door to door for Lily’s condo, complete with kitchenette and a sweeping view of the ocean. It is all painted white and the brightness draws the audience into Lily’s world.

Despite its predictability, and the dated material, “Six Dance Lessons in Six Weeks” is an enjoyable production, especially in this age when “Dancing with the Stars” has brought dance into greater prominence.

I wonder what Lily and Michael would have done with the Paso Doble.

Comments

comments

.

News

 
Coroner confirms West Davis deaths were murder-suicide

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

Special playground dedication slated

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1

 
Bob Dunning: Wrap your head around our MRAP need

By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2

Solo crash kills Woodland man, 22

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A2

 
Officials say Iran nuke talks will continue in new phase

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

Police: Missing athlete died on freeway

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
French eye cockpit entry rules

By The Associated Press | From Page: A2

 
‘Old Autos’ at Hattie Weber Museum

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

Summer garden alert!

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4

 
Davis FFA and ag students host plant sale

By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A4

Poker tourney benefits DMTC

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Camp Shakespeare begins Saturday

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

Davis tops list of best schools for the buck

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A4

 
Lenten giving project highlights climate justice

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A4 | Gallery

DCCNS plans open house April 8

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Parent-child open house previews new Waldorf classes

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

 
Parenting class meets Tuesdays

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

Neighbors invited to adopt Willow Creek Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
RSVP for Gerber Young Community Leader reception

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Yolo animal shelter seeks donations

By Lauren Keene | From Page: A5Comments are off for this post

 
Move over, Muggles

By Wayne Tilcock | From Page: A5

Pence Gallery recruiting volunteers

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

 
Tour de Cluck has selected its coops

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5 | Gallery

City extends nomination period for Huynh Awards

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A5

 
CBH hosts Passover Community Potluck Seder

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A5

Meeting examines Northstar Pond priorities

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

 
Pets of the week

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

.

Forum

Maybe he loves the outdoors …

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

 
Why can’t we be friends?

By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

César Chávez’s peaceful civil disobedience forged a great legacy

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8

 
A conversation about power

By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A8

A California comeback for gerrymandering?

By Tom Elias | From Page: A8

 
.

Sports

A very palpable hit

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1 | Gallery

 
 
Over the years, The Show has been a reach for Davis

By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

UC Davis opens hopeful spring football camp

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B1

 
UCD roundup: Sleiffer seals Aggie tennis victory over Montana

By Enterprise staff | From Page: B2 | Gallery

Grizzlies beat Kings to end three-game skid

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10 | Gallery

 
Snubbed Temple, returning Stanford highlight NIT semis

By The Associated Press | From Page: B10

.

Features

.

Arts

30 years of dance in Davis with Pamela Trokanski

By Chloe Lessard | From Page: A1 | Gallery

 
Yolo Mambo will play at winery

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

Thursday Live! plans a blues party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Jane Lynch performance rescheduled to August

By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Hear some April Fool’s night jazz

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
Dance the night away at house party

By Enterprise staff | From Page: A9

 
‘A Year with Frog and Toad’ a delightful family show

By Bev Sykes | From Page: A9 | Gallery

Mischief to play at Picnic in the Park

By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A9 | Gallery

 
.

Business

.

Obituaries

.

Comics

Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 1)

By Creator | From Page: B5

 
Comics: Tuesday, March 31, 2015 (set 2)

By Creator | From Page: B7