Published: January 27, 2005, Thursday
Buglisi/Foreman Dance …This is a troupe, in the generally impoverished world of modern dance, with a lot going for it. It has 12 fine dancers, not counting the still active Mr. Foreman and, on Tuesday, five fine apprentices. It has a superior sense of production values, especially the eloquent lighting by Jack Mehler and Clifton Taylor. The company's taste in music is compelling, piece after piece. It tours extensively.

Ms. Buglisi's two most recent pieces, ''The Conversation,'' which had its world premiere on Tuesday, to… music with the cellist Maya Beiser, and ''Rain'' (2004) last night, with the fine live percussionist Glen Velez rather crowded out by recorded Villa-Lobos and Mahler, looked like glacial…bodies cantilevered forward, questing; rolling on the floor; arms stretched out, in anguish or ecstasy.

Mr. Foreman's major new work, ''Gravel Bed,'' … was different… a clever tango score by Daniel Binelli, played live. This looked like a slice of 1930's…theatrical Americana with an expressionist twist: a sloped piece of wooden flooring and three misshapen doors, pained lovers poking in and out in search of something or other. There was even a playwright, Aya Ogawa, wandering about intoning phrases… Ms. Buglisi's ''Suspended Women'' (2000) holds up admirably: 13 women staggering and lurching about in tattered period costumes (distressed hoop skirts, ball gowns), frenzied and imbalanced literally and figuratively, with four men passing among them…

…''Three Duets'' by Mr. Foreman…all were striking, the first a kind of neo-pharaohonic animated frieze, the others romantic pas de deux, ballet seen through a Graham prism. They were nicely danced, especially by the spectacularly muscled Davon Rainey in the first and the Kidmanesque Helen Hansen in the third. Mr. Foreman's ''Suite; Arms Around Me'' (2000), the last piece last night, is another bit of 30's Americana…It is full of invention and emotion: four couples slow-dance under a spinning disco ball, to lovely recorded music by Joe Zawinul, Andy Monroe and Josh Haden, with live cello improvisations from Caroline Stinson. Three couples break out into romantic exfoliations; the fourth, Mr. Foreman and Banning Roberts, form a cool, quiet counterpoise to the others, maybe the weight of age and wisdom. It was very beautiful.


Buglisi/Foreman brings poetry to dance; Excerpts
Energetic, emotional, dramatic and creative performance harkens to Martha Graham Dance Company sensibilities.
By F.R. JELLINEK , Special To The Daily News
Published Sunday, March 20, 2005

Buglisi Foreman Dance gave an overall superb performance Friday evening in the Rinker Playhouse at the Kravis Center for the Performing Arts.

Outstanding was the meticulously crafted choreography that afforded wonderful insight into the human condition, and the magnificently skilled dancers.

The program, while totally creative movement-wise, was reminiscent of Martha Graham Dance Company's theatrical and emotional sensibilities. In fact, choreographers Jacqulyn Buglisi and Donlin Foreman were principal artists with the Graham Company for two decades.

Opening the program was Scene 1: Pollen in the Air — A Romantic Scene in the Park, choreographed in 2003 by Buglisi to the music of Sibelius, Beethoven and Schumann. Danced by two couples (Emerson with Cinquinella and Hansen with Fukuda), it was about the wistful and playful aspects of sexual encounters. The stage was filled with red-and-white balloons, and the women were dressed in brightly colored, multi-layered, crinoline skirts that reinforced the concepts of gaiety and naivety.

While certain movement phrases were merely amusing and mimetic — the dancers sniffing puppy-style at each other, men attempting to peek under women's skirts, thwarted attempts at a first kiss, and a preoccupation with fannies — there were others that carried forward the trite story line. It also demonstrated the dancers' skillful ease when leaping, turning, and executing unique lifts.

Next was But What if We Lose the Dream, choreographed by Foreman this year to the music of David Lang's World to Come, Section 1.

A somber duet to somber music, danced by Foreman and Christina Marcus, it seemed to be about unhappy people unsuccessfully trying to relate…Were they each part of a frustrating dream?

Requiem, choreographed in 2002 to music by Gabriel Fauré, was mesmerizing. While originally inspired by Italian Baroque painter Artemisia Gentileschi, it became, after 9/11, a theme more reflective of that sensitive time and dedicated to those who lost their lives that day.

As the curtain rises we barely see, through dry-ice smoke, five women (Emerson, Hansen, Marcus, Lin, and Zvosec) seated on boxes, with backs to the audience and upper bodies folded forward. Each is wearing a unique and fantastic Baroque-style dress, designed by Buglisi and A. Christina Giannini, consisting of endless yards of multicolored and elaborately embellished fabric. The skirts completely encased the boxes, making the dancers appear diminished in stature and power — inconsequential in the scheme of things. As the piece progressed, the dancers, in mostly slow-motion movements, rose and literally grew in competence and strength until they appeared other-worldly tall because of the costuming — their skirts continuing to cover the boxes.


Impassioned movement, ferocious belief; Excerpts
By Susan Reite
Published January 28, 2005

There are turbulent, impassioned outpourings of movement on the Joyce stage this week. Each member of Buglisi Foreman Dance performs with urgency, and every phrase through which they move communicates a ferocious belief. Their bodies have sleek, elegant lines, but they can twist and spiral from their cores and writhe on the ground with an intensity that makes it clear that for them, dancing is a means to reveal inner truths and express deep concerns.

All three dances in the first of two programs strongly emphasized a female point of view. In Jacqulyn Buglisi’s new “The Conversation,” women are sources of support or rescue for each other in the face of violence and neglect. The program opens and closes with four women, quite separate, warily standing their ground as the image of cellist Maya Beiser, who shaped and performed the varied, moodily intense score, looms above on a vast screen that forms the dance’s backdrop…

Doors and screens are spread around the stage during Donlin Foreman’s new “Gravel Bed,” and the six dancers take refuge behind them, lurk watchfully and guard their space. When the curtain rises, Foreman is captured by the deft lighting as though trapped in a tiny area, sliding and rolling on a tilted wedge of wood. The dancers become part of a perplexing drama set in motion by the boldly melodramatic speeches of Aya Ogawa, who stalks the stage…

Foreman skillfully creates the illusion of a much larger world. Their lurking and evading, set to the wonderfully atmospheric and unpredictable piano and/or bandoneon compositions by Daniel Binelli (performed by him and pianist Polly Ferman), suggest hidden intrigues, and the brevity of the encounters reinforces the ultimate isolation.


A Conversation Between Too Much & Not Enough; Excerpts
By Rachel Straus
Published Thursday, January 27, 2005

Jacqulyn Buglisi’s new dance “The Conversation” rushes forward with a turbulent energy comparable to nature’s brute force. The choreographer’s 11-year company Buglisi Foreman Dance…have always focused on producing works that seethe with physical foreboding. What comes as a surprise in Ms. Buglisi’s new work, which had its world premiere Tuesday at the Joyce, is the choreographer’s timing in choosing Indonesia as her geographic source of inspiration.

“Conversation” begins auspiciously. The curtain rises to show four women standing apart from each other and rooted to their spot. In A. Christina Giannini’s lace and silk Balinese-inspired dancing costumes, the women float against a surging, cloud-filled projection of a sky. Then an image of Ms. Beiser, playing her cello, four male dancers enter the stage and violently hoist dancer Helen Hansen aloft their heads; the other women leave, curiously oblivious to Ms. Hansen’s ravaging…throughout “Conversation” Ms. Buglisi demonstrates her talent for indelible images.

In Mr. Foreman’s world premiere “Gravel Bed,” former Graham principal loosely uses the tango dance form to describe the tension and disappointments that surface between men and women. On stage, playwright Aya Ogawa spoke in interludes from her text about hope…Then composer Daniel Binelli on bandoneon and Polly Ferman on piano performed live…Mr. Foreman’s choreography featured lifts that sent the three female dancers circling around their partner’s heads like lassos…the dancers in “Gravel” moved with a grace and technical virtuosity that reflected their total commitment to the work. The busy Buglisi Foreman Dance will present four more dances through Sunday, including Ms. Buglisi’s spectacular 2000 “Suspended Women,” which complete the Company’s Tuesday night performance and remains a tour de force.


Buglisi/Foreman makes 'Conversation'
Dancers let their bodies do the talking at Joyce Theater through Sunday; Excerpts
Published Friday, January 28, 2005

Like playwright Tony Kushner, whose "Homebody Kabul" dramatized Afghani upheaval before it happened, choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi seems to have a crystal ball. Her new piece for Buglisi/Foreman Dance, "The Conversation," is colored by an Indonesian sojourn she took last year. The first section is called "The Deluge" and yes, it was named before the tsunami.

But "The Conversation" isn't about that nightmare. As a receptive opening-night audience in the Joyce Theater learned earlier this week, the piece is a beautifully dressed kaleidoscope, part travelogue, part tribute, part pure dance exploration in the post-Graham vocabulary that is the company's signature. The titular "Conservation" occurred between the choreographer and Indonesian women. We meet them through a go-between – the dancers, costumed in A. Christiana Giannini's trailing, wrapped and tied raiment.

The score – cellist Maya Beiser, Philip Glass, Osvaldo Golijov, among others – is all over the planet. Projections of Indonesian scenes, faces and warm-colored abstract designs are appealing; ditto for the warm lighting scheme… The impassioned choreography asserts itself, particularly in a powerful early sequence in which several men treat the women aggressively.

Later, that image is softened when Helen Hansen and Walter Cinquinella, the most beautiful duo in this unusually good-looking company, perform a slowly intensifying duet. A dozen other "pictures" in this picturesque ballet are almost as memorable.

In his dark "Gravel Bed," company co-founder Donlin Foreman,…considers the battle of the sexes. The work, for six dancers, is danced to suberversively erotic tangos played live by Daniel Binelli (on the accordion-like bandoneon) and pianist Polly Ferman.

The final and always welcome finale was "Suspended Women," made by Ms. Buglisi in 2000. It brings every dancer and apprentice on stage in a dazzlingly varied state of semi-dress to enact a breathtakingly gorgeous compendium of frustrations, desire and forbearance.


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