Credit: William Frederking

The members of Lucky Plush Productions jokingly call themselves the “keep
it real dance company.” They abandon the pretentiousness that’s often
associated with dance performance, instead balancing formal technical
elements with a casual, relaxed perspective. This makes their productions
feel spontaneous and improvised, even though the ensemble works within a
tight framework.

“The shows are very choreographed and scripted,” says Lucky Plush artistic
director Julia Rhoads. “The performers are not actively creating the show
in real time, but there’s the feeling because we try to have that practice
of really listening to each other.”

“Tab Show,” playing this weekend at Harris Theater, highlights the
company’s signature approach with two pieces. Curb Candy remixes five
moments from past works in a dream-like traveling road show, and Rink
takes its inspiration from the roller rink to explore how people
relate in an active space. “There’s something about the old roller rinks
where people were navigating all these things in real-time,” says Rhoads.
“You try to dance and roll around with someone and create relationships
where people are always falling down. It’s funny and absurd.”

Lucky Plush’s works begin with a concept and prompts that the troupe riffs
on with movement and dialogue, which they refine during the rehearsal
process. If Rhoads comes in with script pages, the material morphs as it’s
interpreted by the artists. “The most important thing is that authentic
voice,” she says. “When the audience feels like the show is unfolding live
with them, they feel more included. They’re leaning forward and there’s an
element of the unknown and anything can happen.”   v