|(Koko Lanham) - Irina Tsikurishvili stars in “Twelfth Night” at Synetic Theater, part of the Silent Shakespeare series|
To the regular Lindy hoppers at the Jam Cellar dance night in Columbia Heights, the new odd couple was easy to spot. She was 40ish and European — Russian, maybe? — and he was her quick-on-his-feet, much younger partner. That they could dance was obvious, yet they were struggling a bit with a basic rock step.
The mystery couple turned out to be Synetic Theater choreographer Irina Tsikurishvili and actor-dancer Alex Mills, out on the town on a clandestine swing-dance mission to learn the Lindy hop and brush up on their Charleston before staging a 1920s-inspired production of Shakespeare’s “Twelfth Night.”
“People kept telling us, ‘You guys are picking this up so quickly,’ so finally we had to tell them why we were there,” Tsikurishvili recalled.
The results of their reconnaissance trip will be onstage tonight, when Synetic opens the 10th installment of its “Silent Shakespeare” series — dance-theater productions that convey stories through movement and music, without any of the Bard’s dialogue. On one hand, the setting feels calculated to capitalize on the “Gatsby” craze, but it’s also a choice that makes artistic sense for the troupe. Irina and her husband, Paata Tsikurishvili, who directs the show, have long been influenced by the aesthetic of silent films — particularly the comedic mime work of Charlie Chaplin — and they knew setting a show in the ’20s would open up new possibilities when it came to choreography.
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