Reviewed by Lisa Jo Sagolla
Presented by Threshold Dance Projects, Inc., at The New Victory Theater, 209 W. 42nd St., NYC, Jan. 31-Feb. 4.
From the moment Terese Capucilli peaks out from between the curtains and mesmerizes the audience with a sly glance, we know we are in for an evening of high drama. Her artfully histrionic dance impersonation of Sarah Bernhardt, "Against All Odds," choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi, opens an evening of passion-filled dances performed by Buglisi/Foreman Dance at The New Victory Theater. The company's movement style is broad and dramatic and reflects, in both tone and vocabulary, the backgrounds of its artistic directors (Buglisi and Donlin Foreman) and its associate founders (Capucilli and Christine Dakin)—all former stars of the Martha Graham Dance Company.
In "Suspended Women," Buglisi's stirring paean to the commonality of feminine experience across the ages, percussive changes in gaze, quick falls to the floor, and wrenching torsos bespeak lifetimes of objectification and emotional strength cloaked in passivity. With the stony entrance of four aloof men, suddenly the women are lifted to magnificent heights, flung to the floor, and tossed around. When the men depart, a softness overtakes the choreography, bringing the piece to a calm, yet unresolved, conclusion, the women forever haunted by the spirit of male force.
Designers Clifton Taylor (lights), Jacobo Borges (set), and A. Christina Giannini (costumes) made the premiere of Buglisi's "Sand" a ravishing event that romantically evoked the torrid, sandy atmosphere of an arid desert hideaway.
The evening's crowd-pleaser, the premiere of Foreman's group work, "Mean Ole' World," was danced to Lisa DeSpain's hip blues score, performed live by the combo Catfish Corner. Although the "Martha-Graham-goes-to-the disco" nature of the movement vocabulary is stylistically jolting at first, Foreman's fine craftsmanship forms the actions into cleverly developed sequences, including a cool, clapping passage that takes off from a "high-five" gesture and sends claps and slaps in every imaginable direction. Foreman is most successful here when he works closely with the rhythms and arcs of the music, which pull him farther away from Graham and closer to an original choreographic voice of his own.
The program was completed by Foreman's splendid "Suite; Arms Around Me," previously reviewed by this critic.
Terese Capucilli in "Against All Odds."