Presented by Threshold Dance Projects, Inc. at The Joyce Theater, 175 Eighth Ave., NYC, Feb. 25-March 2.
When a company has already presented the dignified ("Requiem") and the delicious ("Mean Ole' World") in last year's season, it would seem a tall hurdle to meet the self-imposed challenge and top it. But Donlin Foreman and Jacqulyn Buglisi are no slouches in the "making movement" department. Playing a "can-you-top-this" game, they have come up with "Here on the Cliffs of the Heart," a Foreman homage to the art of ensemble choreography, and Buglisi's "Sacred Currents Through Bamboo," a rich and elegant tapestry of movement. Since both Foreman and Buglisi were principals in Martha Graham's company, and since Graham bestowed on both of them her encouragement and direction, there are, and rightly so, some reverential hints of her voice in their choreography. But these bits are melded flawlessly into a new and, perhaps, even higher plane of movement that is totally distinctive of their own voice.
Program A included Foreman's delicate and glowing duet for Miki Orihara and Stephen Pier, "From Pent-Up, Aching Rivers," a personification of the word "love," followed by the world premiere of "Here on the Cliffs…." Tracking nine dancers—among them the exotic Nancy Turano and the powerful Roger Bellamy—and structuring entrances and exits as flawlessly as Foreman does clearly identify his particular forte: He is at home with handling group movement, and his company performs with an intense commitment to get it right and deliver it with precision. The beauty of taut, trained bodies in the thrill of togetherness, washed with stripes of light from above, gives joy to an audience often subject to failed experiments.
Buglisi, herself the picture of style and taste at the curtain call, has another winner in her new "Sacred Currents…." Admittedly, the athletic prowess of Dou Dou Huang, a small gymnast with amazing elevation, made a nifty start to the piece as he led in a splendid group of women melting into beautiful attitudes in plié. However, Huang seemed to be wowing the audience (applause in the middle) with his amazing agility. The serenity and religious calm created by the two duets juxtaposed against his feistiness, though a fine creative ploy, ultimately became more like an inserted marathon of astonishing tricks.