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Buglisi Dance Theatre – Requiem, Sospiri, Caravaggio Meets Hopper, Three Vintage Waltzes, Interplay No. 9.

by Marian Horosko
May 19, 2008
Baryshnikov Arts Center
450 West 37th Street, Suite 501
New York, NY 10018
646-731-3200
As Threshold Dance Projects, Inc., for info on BDT's residences and performances: contact www.buglisidance.org.
BDT, a contemporary dance company, established in 1994, is under the artistic direction of Jacqulyn Buglisi. Her credentials as a performer include a twenty-year association with the Martha Graham Dance Company, where she was a principal for 12 years. With more than 50 ballets to her credit, and numerous teaching and world-wide commissions, Buglisi has taught in some of the most prestigious schools in the world, including The Juilliard School. Members of her company have included other former members of Graham: *Terese Capucilli, *Christine Dakin as well as Kevin Predmore and Virginie Mécène. Twelve dancers comprise the company.

In a recent program on May 19, at the Gilman Performance Space at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Buglisi presented former works, three short waltzes reconstructed from the Denishawn era, and a world premiere. Opening the program was her signature piece "Requiem" (2002) to Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem." It is a riveting work that invokes the tragedies of 9/11/01. Beautifully costumed and performed as solo excerpts with enormous intensity, the piece is a searing statement. Buglisie, like Graham, Joose, Kylián and Forsythe is among the few choreographers who have protested warring and lamented the pain of loss for those left behind.

"Sospiri" (1989), danced by Virginie Mécène and Kevin Predmore, tells the story of a Juliet of the Argentine pampas and her lover, the Jesuit priest Ladislav Gutierrez, both executed by a firing squad for their illicit love. The two seem to become more and more eloquent each time they perform this short Buglisie work to Elgar's "Sospiri."

"Caravaggio Meets Hopper" (2007) still seems to be a work in progress, as it juxtaposes painters Italian Caravaggio and American Edward Hopper. Without the full set design available in the gymnasium-like space, an contributing visual is lost. But this cast finds more definition in the characters than earlier performers. Buglisie, during a pause before the next works, explained her method of research and redoing and dropped, almost without knowing, a phrase Graham often exhorted from her company during rehearsals: "Live in the moment!"

In tribute to Denishawn dancer Jane Sherman on her 100th birthday, 3 short waltzes from that turn-of-the-century era were: "Valse Caprice" (1924) by Ruth St. Denis, to music of Cecile Chaminade, performed by Marie Zvosec with the charm and joy these early dances seem to require (and don't forget those scarves); an excerpt from "Liebestraum Waltz" (1924) by Ruth St. Denis and "Brahms Waltz after Denishawn" (2007) by Buglisie were danced by the company's Nicole Kidman look-alike, Helen Hansen, who seems to grown in confidence and projection each season. Piano accompanist for the waltzes was Melody Fader.

The world premiere of "Interplay No. 9." to music of Chopin, Bach and Scriabin was performed by the same pianist and danced by 9 members of the cast. It is set as a contemporary Viennese picnic in the Tirolian Garden at Schönbrunn Palace. As a sprawling work executed in a romantic, leisurely manner, it tells its story of relationships in solos and a pas de deux.

Buglisie's work speaks in a strong, pulsing voice, with theatricality, in shapes and combinations that remain in the mind's eye long after the movement stops.

* indicates on teaching leave
Marie Zvosec in 'Requiem'

Marie Zvosec in "Requiem"

Photo © & courtesy of Kristin Lodoen


Helen Hansen in 'White'

Helen Hansen in "White"

Photo © & courtesy of Kristin Lodoen

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