The David Gordon of American Ballet Theatre fame is undeniably clever and engaging, a fertile choreographic mind to prod the big-time terpsichorean machinery from badly worn grooves.
But with his little Pickup Company, which made its local debut Friday at Wadsworth Theater, the New York-based dance-maker beckons a viewer to his other realm--that of post-modern classicism. It is divine.
Gordon's gift lies in his ability to translate all experience into a freewheeling code of interaction that evokes affect without labeling it. There is no mugging or cliched clowning in "Four Man Nine Lives," for instance, a down-and-out carouse set to nostalgic Western tunes. But these hobos in battered fedoras, striped pajama bottoms, plaid shirttails and ties suggest all that is endearing about their camaraderie.
A slow perpetual motion makes a fluid stream of their collisions and connections, their casual cabrioles and cartwheels. They lightly bound and faintly slouch and softly stretch, conjuring an unlikely balletic mirage of tumbling weeds and rambling men. A tone of gentle humor pervades the piece. It is engrossing on a moment-to-moment basis, also brilliant in sum.