© Kristen Lodoen
Terese Capucilli in:
Caravaggio Meets Hopper

Buglisi Dance Theatre

‘Against All Odds (Quand Meme)’, ‘Sand’, ‘Acapelorus (A Walrus Tale)’, ‘Caravaggio Meets Hopper’

March 2007, Excerpted Reviews
New York, Joyce Theater
by Elizabeth McPherson


Buglisi Dance Theatre presented a well-mixed program at the Joyce Theatre on March 13. The four dances, all choreographed by Jacqulyn Buglisi, were each captivating and thought-provoking on their own, and seen back to back showcased the diverse range of Buglisi and her dancers. From humorous to romantic, from serious to absurd, the audience was whisked along on an emotional journey.

The opening dance “Against All Odds (Quand Meme),” has the feel of a silent movie with the dramatic gestures and facial expressions of Terese Capucilli conveyed with extreme exaggeration in Dyonesian outbursts through which one sees shades of the Martha Graham lineage. Jacqulyn Buglisi’s choreography was inspired by the actress Sarah Bernhardt who, according to the program notes, could illuminate diverse roles “with a simple gesture, trifling inflection, a look.” Changes in mood provide a comedic element as Capucilli abruptly moves from despair to contemplation, matched by quick directional shifts and turns. Capucilli’s dancing exudes masterful control. The set design by Jack Mehler of a richly draped curtain adds significantly to the unfolding drama.

“Sand” inspired by “the beauty of the desert and the soil of the earth” conveys the joy of pure dancing. The supple, lyrical movements fade one into the next seamlessly, much like the flow of the Philip Glass music that is paired with the dance. In the frequent lifts, the women appear weightless, defying gravity, so deftly are the moves choreographed and performed. The women also seem primary as if the men were there for them as opposed to with them. The sumptuous dresses for the women, designed by A. Christine Giannini, swirl and sway extending the reach of the movement.

Acapelorus (A Walrus Tale)” overflows with different media: dance, music (live string quartet, vocalist, and recorded sections), poetry by Lewis Carroll and Gregory Orr, and fine art the artist Michael Arthur renders the projected backdrop image as the dance progresses. Although each element was fascinating, the juxtaposition of all of them was too much to take in fully in one viewing, a sensory overload. Watching the artist render his scene was mesmerizing, yet the choreography also demanded one’s full attention, as did the narration and connecting the narration to the choreography. Dancers Junichi Fukuda, Marie Zvosec, and Andrea Miller particularly stood out for their intensity and strength of purpose. Child narrator Olive Numeroff spoke with fine articulation and poise.

Terese Capucilli in Caravaggio Meets Hopper
© Kristen Lodoen

The final dance “Carravaggio Meets Hopper” has a film noir quality to it, …as if one landed on the set of a movie in which the pieces had been torn apart and put back together but not exactly in the correct order. There is a Hopper-esque loneliness portrayed, particularly in the way the women appear constant, but the men leave and return. The pieces of window blinds worn over the dancers’ faces during parts of the dance add to the sense of separation—the individual looking out at the rest of the world partially obscured. …Robert La Fosse and Martine van Hamel danced as guest artists in this piece, their depth of experience along with that of Capucilli and Christine Dakin adding dimension and dramatic intensity to the dance.Van Hamel drew my attention over and over for the honesty and sincerity of her movement. It was enlightening to see a range of ages on stage, illustrating that different ages have their own strengths to bring to the performance arena.




Buglisi Dance Theatre Premieres Two New Works with Special Guests By Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 13, 2007

The Joyce Theatre
175 Eighth Avenue (at the corner of 19th Street)
New York, NY 10011

Buglisi Dance Theatre, presented at the Joyce Theater

Artistic Director and Choreographer: Jacqulyn Buglisi
The Company : Terese Capucilli, Christine Dakin, Kevin Predmore,
Virginie Victoire Mécéne, Helen Hansen, Junichi Fukuda, Marie Zvosec,
Sadira Smith, LaMichael Leonard, Jr., Lauren Sambataro, Emily Walsh,
Sean Scantlebury, Andrea Miller and apprentices
Guest Artists: Martine van Hamel and Robert La Fosse
Musicians: The Cassatt String Quartet
Muneko Otani and Jennifer Leshnower, violins;
Michiko Oshima, viola; Nicole Johnson, cello
Composer: Libby Larsen
Artist: Michael Arthur, Lighting Design: Jack Mehler, Clifton Taylor
Production Stage Manager: Betsy Ayer , Set Design: Jacobo Borges, Jack Mehler,
Debora Maché, Sergio Savarese Costume Design: A. Christina Giannini
Masks: Jane Stein, Soprano: Ximena Borges
Press: AudreyRossPub@Aol.com

Formerly Buglisi/Foreman Dance, the newly named Buglisi Dance Theatre has as its Artistic Director, Jacqulyn Buglisi, a former lead dancer of the Martha Graham Company. Ms. Buglisi founded Buglisi/Foreman Dance in 1994 with Donlin Foreman, Terese Capucilli, and Christine Dakin. All four had danced as principal artists with the Graham Company. And, Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin were, for many years, Co-Artistic Directors of the Graham Company. Tonight, Ms. Buglisi invited Ms. Capucilli and Ms. Dakin to join her on the opening night of her Joyce Theatre season. With Ms. Buglisi premiering two new original works, Ms. Capucilli dancing solo in one of Ms. Buglisi's 1998 works, Ms. Dakin narrating a world premiere, and Ms. Capucilli and Ms. Dakin both dancing in another world premiere, history was made tonight. And, to expand this historical event, none other than the former American Ballet principal, Martine Van Hamel (whose signed ballet slippers I still own), and the former NYC Ballet Principal, Robert La Fosse (who just danced in City Ballet’s winter season), danced, as well, in the final Buglisi work, a grand premiere.

Against All Odds (Quand Même) (1998): Choreography by Jacqulyn Buglisi, Music by Sergei Rachmaninoff (Piano Concerto No. 1), Lighting Design by Jack Mehler, Costume Design by A. Christina Giannini, Set Design by Debora Maché, Voice: Sarah Bernhardt, Performed by Terese Capucilli. Terese Capucilli, a former principal artist and Co-Artistic Director of the Graham Company, was onstage once again tonight, in an impassioned dance à la Sarah Berhardt, set to a recording of Rachmaninoff's 1st Piano Concerto. In one of the most impassioned, powerful, and riveting solo dance performances seen in quite some time, Terese Capucilli exuded intensity, internalized angst, and athletic prowess, as she flew about the stage, shifted direction, tilted upside down, and literally sucked the air from the Joyce in primal force.

"Against the Odds", so a propos, as Ms. Capucilli re-captured her Graham technique, with torso contractions, wide leg sweeps, and glaring eyes straight toward the audience, in wild abandon. At once, Ms. Capucilli personified fragments of Bernhardt's roles, such as Cleopatra, Medea, Lady Macbeth, and Joan of Arc. This memorable performance, against an expansive curtain, generating vulnerability and vivacity, would have made Martha Graham proud, as she always saw herself, first and foremost, as a dancer.

Sand (2001): Choreography by Jacqulyn Buglisi, Music by Philip Glass (String Quartet No 5), Music Performed by The Cassatt String Quartet, Lighting Design by Clifton Taylor, Costume Design by A. Christina Giannini, Set Design by Jacobo Borges, Performed by Helen Hansen and LaMichael Leonard, Jr., Marie Zvosec and Junichi Fukuda, Andrea Miller and Sean Scantlebury . This 2001 Buglisi work brought out the Cassatt String Quartet in a seamless score by Philip Glass, danced by three couples. In ethereal choreography, the dancers create soft, elegant, and wind-swept imagery. This work is dedicated to the earth and the desert. The couples exude eroticism and connectedness, with many levels used for crawling, lifting, and carrying of partners. The dancers are skilled and confident.

Acapelorus (A Walrus Tale) (World Premiere): Choreography by Jacqulyn Buglisi, Music by Libby Larsen, Music Performed by The Cassatt String Quartet, Lighting Design by Clifton Taylor, Costume Design by A. Christina Giannini, 7 For All Mankind, Artist: Michael Arthur, Costume Development by Helen Hansen, Narration: Christine Dakin, Soprano: Ximena Borges, Opening Poem: Olive Numeroff, Performed by Helen Hansen, LaMichael Leonard, Jr., Marie Zvosec, Junichi Fukuda, Andrea Miller, Sean Scantlebury, Emily Walsh, Josh Johnson, and Lauren Sambataro.

This premiere is called a "dance opera", with poetry by Lewis Carroll and Gregory Orr, recited by a young, articulate girl, Olive Numeroff, followed by Christine Dakin's narration and Ximena Borges' arias. Libby Larsen has created the contemporary score, and nine Buglisi dancers perform. Buglisi, according to the press notes, explores "classical forms through a contemporary lens…through the eyes and emotions of children…" Excerpts of children's verses are recited, against a projected video backdrop by Michael Arthur, depicting a hand drawing figures, and the nine dancers move with persuasive speed and propulsive power.

Caravaggio Meets Hopper (World Premiere): Choreography by Jacqulyn Buglisi, Music Soundscape from works of Nino Rotta, Jelly Roll Morton, John Corigliano, Lighting Design/Set Design by Jack Mehler, Costume Design by A. Christina Giannini, Masks by Jane Stein, Sound Editing by Junichi Fukuda, Performed by Martine van Hamel, Robert La Fosse, Terese Capucilli, Christine Dakin, Helen Hansen, LaMichael Leonard, Jr., Marie Zvosec, Junichi Fukuda, Andrea Miller, Sean Scantlebury, and Sadira Smith.

This premiere was fascinating, with Robert La Fosse and Martine Van Hamel together in impressive choreography well suited to their talent and temperament. Costumes included hats, shoes, and contemporary suits, and Terese Capucilli and Christine Dakin were in great shape and cool attitude, seemingly thrilled to be onstage. Extrapolating the essence of the artists, Caravaggio and Hopper, Ms. Buglisi explores "human relationships that reveal the bold visceral strength, humor…hyper theatrical lines of Caravaggio and phlegmatic stillness of Hopper". (Program Notes). This is true aesthetics. Ms. Buglisi uses varied musical genres, visually artistic genres, masks (that resemble little cages), varied moods, and dancers rising in their careers with dancers in fully formed careers.

Tonight's historical program and performances are testament to the concepts of artistic re-invention and renewal. Kudos to Jacqulyn Buglisi, Terese Capucilli, Christine Dakin, Martine Van Hamel, Robert La Fosse, and the full cast of dancers and artists who joined talent and energy for this eclectic and exciting event.


Terese Capucilli in:
"Against All Odds"

Photo courtesy of Kristin Lodoen


Junichi Fukuda and Helen Hansen in:
"Acapelorus" (A Walrus Tale)

Photo courtesy of Kristin Lodoen



"Acapelorus" (A Walrus Tale)

Photo courtesy of Kristin Lodoen


New York Times
March 15, 2007 , Excerpted Reviews
Dance Review | Buglisi Dance Theater



Andrea MohinAndrea Mohin/ The New York Times

Jacqulyn Buglisi and her dances were the heart of Buglisi Foreman Dance, now Buglisi Dance Theatre .

In her years with the Martha Graham Dance Company, which she joined in 1977, Ms. Buglisi performed with a vivid extra spark that has also informed her choreography. Neither she nor Donlin Foreman, a Graham dancer who was a founder of the original company, has been afraid of larger-than-life Graham-style passion and handsome production values. And Ms. Buglisi has always been full of intriguing ideas about dance themes.

…The evening got off to a magisterial start with Ms. Buglisi’s1998 “Against All Odds (Quand Même),” a star turn for the former Graham principal Terese Capucilli that was inspired by Sarah Bernhardt and is set to swelling Rachmaninoff. But who needs Bernhardt when Ms. Capucilli is around to chew up scenery in grand diva style, in over-the-top performing that is filled with minute dynamic and emotional shifts and nuances…

Ms. Buglisi’s 2001 “Sand” proved that she has a strong sense of craft. Dancers were moved around the stage fluidly, flowering into potent momentary images... The piece was also a good introduction to the technical skills and the dramatic commitment of the Buglisi dancers, particularly the febrile Helen Hansen and the imposing La Michael Leonard Jr. “Acapelorus (A Walrus Tale),” described in the program notes as a dance opera and “a poem of compassion for peace.” …was a musical score by Libby Larsen, performed live by the Cassatt String Quartet…Tucked into that score were texts by Lewis Carroll and Gregory Orr, spoken by Christine Dakin and Olive Numeroff and sung by Ximena Borges. A video served as set, depicting a hand drawing a picture by Michael Arthur in which a Carroellian flying pig could be detected. ...There were standout moments… running jumps for Marie Zvosec with feet churning in midair. At the end, the nine dancers looked at the completed drawing as if they were trying to figure out how to enter it, like Alice and her looking glass.

…Ms. Buglisi’s new “Caravaggio Meets Hopper” Set to a “music soundscape,” scores by Nino Rota, Jelly Roll Morton and John Corigliano, the group piece was mostly a matter of seamless gatherings and dispersals in a slatted, chair-filled set by Jack Mehler... including a quietly resonant Martine van Hamel and Robert La Fosseas the lovers, a jazz-strutting Ms. Dakin and Ms. Capucilli

Buglisi Dance Theater Premieres Two Ambitious Works


NEW YORK, March 14 (UPI)- Jacqulyn Buglisi, one of America’s most talented modern dance choreographers, has created two new ambitious works for performance by her company, Buglisi Dance Theater, during its current engagement at the Joyce Theater running through Sunday.

The 13-year-old company, formerly known as Buglisi Foreman Dance, consists of 13 dancers including several formerly associated with the Martha Graham Dance Company of which Buglisi herself was a principal dancer. Her choreography reflects the Graham dancing style and preference for theatrical staging but in general reflects Buglisi’s own individual idiom that is passionate, dynamic, and often thrilling.

The most rewarding and innovative of the works that received their world premiere Tuesday is “Caravaggio Meets Hopper” that is billed …“a study in contrasts…amplifying the hyper theatrical line of (Michelangelo) Caravaggio and the phlegmatic stillness of (Edward) Hopper.” There is little of these two disparate artists reflected in the work, so forget the choreographer’s hype.

What we have here is a sprightly, never phlegmatic dance number for 11 of the company’s dancers performed in dance slippers to a recorded “music soundscape” including snippets from scores by Nino Rota, Jelly Roll Morton, and John Corigliano. It is danced before a backdrop of black slats against a white background devised by Jack Mehler, and at times the dancers wear clip-on white grillwork masks for no apparent reason. Costumes by A. Christina Giannini strike a 1940s note with lots of fedora hats for the men and a red straw hat for one of the women.

Indeed, “Caravaggio Meets Hopper” relates more to the Hopper era of film culture (the artist did use the movie theater several times as a setting) than to any aspect of the Caravaggio’s more formal Renaissance world. Among the sung and spoken sound clips is a “ Casablanca” quote from Humphrey Bogart ending in the familiar “Here’s looking at you, Kid.” There are also chairs and a bench on the stage moved about to suggest a movie theater or even a railway station, challenging the audience’s imagination.

The choreography itself is a delightful mix of group gatherings, scatterings, and occasional solo movement, some of it joyous, much of it searching and wistful as is the case of a passage given to one of the company’s most expressive dancers, Andrea Miller. The focus is at times on two lovers danced by guest artist Martine Van Hamel and Robert La Fosse, former principle dancers with American Ballet Theater, to heart-tugging effect.

Also in the cast were Christine Dakin and Terese Capucilli, former co-artistic directors of the Martha Graham Dance Company, dancing featured roles but pretty much blending in with the ensemble that cannot be flawed for its nimble, often jazzy performance that leaves a strong impression despite the lack of focus or meaning from which this ineptly titled work suffers. “Caravaggio Meets Hopper” would make more sense as an unapologetic riff on the jazz era.

The other new, successful Buglisi work is titled, “Acapelorus (A Walrus Tale),” a variation on Lewis Carroll’s “Looking Glass” stories. There is so much business going on in this number that it distracts from the dancing, which again is first rate. There is a giant screen on stage on which is projected the image of an artist working on a stick figure drawing of Carroll characters, Christine Dakin and Olive Numeroff reading poetry including an excerpt from “The Walrus and the Carpenter,” and live music by the spotlighted Cassatt String Quartet with soprano Ximena Borges singing.

Danced to a Libby Larsen musical score , the diffuse…work for nine dancers, billed as “a poem of compassion for peace,” passes quickly enough without leaving any strong impression except for some bizarre running, jumping steps performed by Marie Zvosec, some extraordinary footwork by Junichi Fukuda, and amusing, awkward appearing lifts. The work was danced barefoot as were the two other works on the program.

One of them, a solo work titled, “Against All Odds (Quand Meme),” was danced with virtuoso intensity by Terese Capucilli, playing the great 20th century actress Sarah Bernhardt whose personal motto was “Quand Meme.” Dressed in an Edwardian costume and wearing an ankle bracelet, Capucilli ran through the gamut of emotion demanded by the various highly dramatic roles Bernhardt played and danced with diva flourishes to a recording of Sergei Rachmaninoff’s soaring Piano concerto No. 1. The work even includes a recording of Bernhardt’s voice.

The other work, aptly titled “Sand,” is an all-tan production designed by Jacobo Borges and danced to a wonderfully melodic score by Phillip Glassperformed live by the Cassatt String Quartet and punctuated by wind and rain sound effects.

It is a showcase for Buglisi’s skill as a choreographer and the technical prowess of the company dancers, six of whom garbed in sand-colored costumes dance the work as three couples- Helen Hansen and LaMichael Leonard Jr., Marie Zvosec and Junichi Fukuda, Andrea Miller and Sean Scantlebury. The motion in this work is poetically fluent.


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