As a dancer, Bryan Arias has  an impressive resume. He has performed for Ohad Naharin, Nederlands Dans Theater, Jiří Kylián, Complexions and Crystal Pite. Now, as a choreographer, Arias' work echoes his experiences: airy curves, fluid releases, and tender partnering. His latest piece, A Rather Lovely Thing, premiered at Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival over the summer, and was followed by performances at Festival des Arts de Saint-Saveur and Montreal's Danse Danse festival, where I caught the performance.

Arias is joined onstage by fellow dancers Ana Maria Lacaciu, Jermaine Spivey and Spenser Theberge. Together they make a wonderfully skilled quorom, a kind of dream-team of Gaga-esque elastic extensions and pillowy landings.

The piece started in silence and stillness, with costumes in architectural neutrals and warm clean lighting stretching across the white tarkett. With the help of a rubber mask, we were introduced to an old man character; lonely, tired, limping through life with a body worn by the passage of time.

Meanwhile, upstage, the other dancers worked methodically, manipulating a specially-made folding chair that flipped over to become a mini-ladder, then a chair again. The chair made its way laboriously across the stage, then moved diagonally toward the centre. The dancers inserted arms, legs, torsos; turning the object from a chair to a ladder to a sculpture by turns. This fits within the larger scope of the piece; I found that a rather lovely thing works away on studiously unpacking things and staring at them from different angles until they click into focus, or cease to make sense at all.

The partnering was touching, and sometimes playful. Not as starkly sculptural as Jiří Kylián's, nor as unexpected as Crystal Pite's, but there was definitely more than a trace of the choreographer's history stamped throughout. The pas de deux between Jermaine Spivey and Ana Maria Lacaciu was especially beautiful, and in fact Spivey's performance generally was a highlight of the show. He has a wonderful movement quality, masses of control and the eye is drawn to him time and time again. In the company of dancers of Lacaciu, Theberge, and Arias’ calibre, this is no mean feat – all are star performers at the height of their powers.

The score for a rather lovely thing zipped around from Frederic Chopin to Max Richter before finally settling on Nina Simone at the very end. Some of the piece lost momentum here and there –there was a whole section of Bizet that didn't really work for me music-wise and a couple of sections of the choreography that were perhaps a little too meditative, but over the whole the work managed to loop back to the starting point and give the audience a satisfying resolution; the old-man mask comes back out and the dressing ritual begins again, this time in reverse. It's perhaps a neat “ashes-to-ashes” way to bring the work to a natural end.

This is a serene, almost pacific piece of choreography that asks for intimacy (very politely). I wish that I'd been seated a little closer; even though all the seats in Place des Arts' small-scale Cinquème Salle are technically “good seats” (the theatre is not much bigger than Jacob's Pillow's intimate Doris Duke Theater, where this piece premiered) I felt I may have I missed out on some of the smaller details and quieter moments by sitting in the back row. If you have a chance to see a rather lovely thing, consider getting seats closer to the stage than you would normally be inclined to book.

All in all, the choreography provided some nicely poignant moments, and the dancing was very, very good. Arias' piece was exactly as it said on the box: a rather lovely thing.