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Rehearse, Rehearse, Rehearse

by Marian Horosko
September 10, 2009
New York, NY
We all know that the way to Carnegie Hall is "practice, practice, practice." For the dance company, it's rehearse, rehearse, rehearse. The Buglisi Dance Theatre, in preparation for its tour in Italy, gave an open rehearsal before an audience in New York, their base, before their tour to Rovereto, Italy to appear on the Oriente Occidente Festival to be followed by a teaching residency in Milan. This follows a full summer/fall of workshops, intensive teaching and residencies.

An open rehearsal for an invited audience is the last test before a tour or opening night. There is no stopping for corrections, redoing a section, or major changes. When the company arrives in Italy, they might encounter a raked stage (a slight inclination from the back wall to the footlights …a former architectural device to enhance the sight-lines. European and South American stages frequently employ this device, infrequently found in the U.S. Contestants in Europe are frequently given a few minutes extra rehearsal time to adjust to the incline and prevent barreling down to the edge of the stage and into the orchestra pit.) Depending upon the degree of the incline, another rehearsal onstage will determine the adjustment.

The current small 14-member Buglisi company is beyond its customary excellence…it is now superb. What magic Jacqulyn Buglisie has created with her concepts and choreography is at its height. The company performs as one in its intentions, precision, and musicality. The partners in the works are compatible in their physicality. The male dancers are exceptional.

Founded in 1994 by Buglisie and Terese Capucilli, Christine Dakin and Donlin Foreman, who danced principal roles in the Martha Graham Contemporary Dance Company, the company has never lost its firm bearings grounded in Graham technique and now their own physical voice, and in their dedication to "movement that doesn't lie." One open rehearsal program began with Buglisie's "Caravaggio Meets Hopper," her signature piece; followed by "Sospiri," a poignant pas de deux based upon the timeless story, a legend among the peasants of Argentina, of an illicit love between a Jesuit priest and the Juliet of the pampas, Camila O'Gorman.

The third and last work on the rehearsal program was "Sand," with Helen Hansen and Jason Jordan, a couple who catch every eye, and two other couples. (Hansen, a Meg Ryan look-alike is now a principal dancer with the company.)

While rehearsing is constant for the dance company, too many without the discovery on new rhythms and insights leads to dullness. Balanchine was constantly making changes in his works to the point of adding an 8-count bar of music to a work just before the curtain went up! The famous stage and screen director, Rouben Mamoulian, in a clean-up rehearsal of the Broadway show "Oklahoma!," once changed the bidding in an auction scene bringing consternation to the actors but excitement to the audience who responded to the tension.

The next performance of Buglisi Dance Theatre will be at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, in New York, October 28.
Helen Hansen and Kyle Robinson in Buglisi's 'Interplay No. 9-1'

Helen Hansen and Kyle Robinson in Buglisi's "Interplay No. 9-1"

Photo © & courtesy of Kristin Linder

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