Got to hand it to them: 10 Hairy Legs show what modern dance should be

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The American male modern dancer is a unique entity. He is bigger or wider, shorter or more athletic and rougher than his classical ballet counterparts. He lifts, flies and rolls like a wrestler, yet at times carries himself with a grace and delicacy that can only be downright feminine.

The all-New Jersey based, all-male dance company 10 Hairy Legs showcases, by far, the best American male modern dancers one could have the good fortune of seeing these days. Palm Beach audiences were indeed fortunate to have that opportunity this weekend at the Kravis Center Rinker Playhouse.

One does not go to see 10 Hairy Legs to see the dances. One goes to see the dancers. None of the five repertory works presented is ever going to be remembered as a masterwork. The dances — created by world-class dance makers David Parker, Megan Williams, Hedi Lansky, Stephen Petronio and Doug Elkins — are at best journeyman works.

What makes up for this is the fact that every one of these dances is performed by a five-man company (10 Hairy Legs… get it?) of fantastic dancers. The company is technically even, well-rehearsed and qualitatively crystal clear. In short, these men dance on a level that simply must be seen to be believed.

Leading the ensemble (as far as time on stage) is Derek Crescenti, who is in four of the five dances. Crescenti is a brilliant technician who can make the most difficult passage come across as legible and wonderfully defined. He brings a delightful humanity to the stage that balances his prodigious technique.

Alex Biegelson is a beautiful giant of a dancer, super clean and astonishingly fast and slippery. He has the most mature command of movement qualities and dynamics. Robert Mark Burke reminds one of a young Arnie Zane, ambiguous and beautifully propellant as he devours the physical space before him.

Alexander Olivieri is a quicksilver dynamo, fluid, grounded and sensual. William Tomaskovics’ dancing is best defined by the simple joy it radiates to the audience. While far from a technical lightweight, what you see first and foremost is his great love of being on the stage and in the moment.

If you missed this fantastic company, by all means make it a point to see them as soon as you can.