The ancient Greeks were devoted to physical fitness, and yet even they were astonished by the athleticism of the Georgian people. The mountainous nation on the shores of the Black Sea still breeds ´em tougher than most, judging by the feats of the Georgian State Dance Company. Wielding sword and buckler, men whirl and slash their way across the stage to the frenetic beat of music that was old when the world was young. Dancers leap straight into the air, spin a full revolution and drop to their knees -- then repeat the same twirling leap a dozen times over with increasing speed, always launching from their knees. Its a supernatural display of vitality and pure power, but theres also a grace and exuberance to these ancient dances; watch the backline of dancers lithely perform a series of slow-motion poses on tiptoe in unison while the solo performers dazzle center-stage. Strength, beauty, a riot of color, and sound that fascinates and makes the heart pound -- this is an evening out unlike any other. Dance St. Louis brings back the Georgian State Dance Company for the first time since 2002 at 8 p.m. Friday and 2 and 8 p.m. Saturday (October 12 and 13) at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri-St. Louis campus (1 University Drive at Natural Bridge Road; 314-516-4949 or www.dancestlouis.org). Tickets are $28 to $50.
Fri., Oct. 12; Sat., Oct. 13, 2007