Self-presented at the Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., NYC, Jan. 25-30.
"The Conversation," the world premiere that ushered in the 2005 Buglisi/Foreman Dance season, goes on for a while before one can be completely certain that Jacqulyn Buglisi, the choreographer, is giving structure to her feelings about the recent horrific tsunami disaster. Even though the piece is dedicated to the people of Southeast Asia and had projections on the backdrop of waterfalls, rivulets, and tears that melded with the sounds of raindrops, thunder, and gushing water, the eye chose to follow the powerful dancers sweeping across the stage and being scooped into the arms of the men, who held them aloft with a surety of style and strength. Not since Glen Tetley's "Voluntaries" has such stunning partnered choreography filled a stage, and it seemed as if Buglisi had just discovered a new area of movement that thrilled her.
As usual in her pieces, the women were gowned in elegance, layers of beautiful fabric that never hindered an extended arm or leg, shaped to perfection despite daunting choreography that could leave the garments looking ragged and used. Helen Hansen's porcelain skin and supremely graceful limbs were matched by Walter Cinquinella's blond movie-star good looks; they made a glorious duo to watch, especially in the flawless lifts. Christina Marcus has a great grand battement—a startling one—but holding her leg to her nose (to underline her amazing flexibility) was jarring. No choreographic tricks are needed to remind us that she is a gifted dancer. Buglisi might think about editing this piece to make it a winning addition to the repertory.
Editing is not the solution for the next world premiere: Donlin Foreman's "Gravel Bed," which started with a titter and ended with a yawn. Foreman sprawled on a slanted wood block has trouble hanging on, setting the mood for one of his witty takes. Then the piece turns into a sermon on the mount regarding marriage, infidelity, and misunderstandings—global issues that philosophers greater than Foreman, or his playwright, Aya Ogawa, with her cumbersome phrases, can address. It was a large lapse in judgment for Foreman, and he can do much better.
"Suspended Women," in all its continued glory, ended the evening.