NY times
Grand Leaps on Wall Street, for a Change
Alastair Macaulay
May 30, 2008          Excerpts

    Summer brings us the River to River Festival, billed as the nation’s largest summerlong free festival. This presents music, dance and visual arts events in or at or in front of a wide selection of Lower Manhattan locations. But will this year’s offerings afford anything more spectacularly site-specific than its opening few minutes? Cecile B. DeMille would have been proud of them.
    The opening show – “Under the Buttonwood Tree.com,” presented by Buglisi Dance Theatre – began at one end of Broad Street, on the steps of Federal Hall National Memorial. Music played; men in suits carried bright green banners that waved in the breeze; and lo, the ballerina Martine van Hamel (whom many of us remember in tutu roles with American Ballet Theater in the 1970s and ‘80s), crowned and wearing a full-length golden gown, swept forth with easily radiant grandeur of bearing.
    Her arms bare, her manner proclamatory, she descended Federal Hall's steps and struck – again and again – a large gong. Then, raising those arms proudly into the air, she led a procession across Wall Street, down Broad Street and to the New York Stock Exchange. It felt as if the Statue of Liberty was on the march.
    How do you choreograph the New York Stock Exchange? Jacqulyn Buglisi, proceeding chronologically, made much of period effects, like the 1920s Jazz Age, and marked various breakthroughs for female financiers with dances featuring women.
    The range of movement was eclectic, the numerous dancers (24, including 11 apprentices) were handsome, and the choreography had many picturesque moments.

Stock Exchage

Photo ©Kristin Lodoen Linder

Dance Europe
Baryshnikov Arts Center, NYC
May 19, 2008 Performance

    In Requiem, Jacqulyn Buglisi is like a painter daubing at various colours on a palette, mixing together just the right combination of mottled, leafy patterns of light, Gabriel Faure’s Requiem, and seven of her women swathed in long dresses. The gowns create a gentle riot of gold and russet and maroon and purple. Posted on stools, which were invisible under the colourful folds, these ladies took on an elegantly elongated appearance. And there stood this forest of lissome, barely-moving sylphs, arrayed on the stage as we entered the theater and took our seats. They remained this way until everyone was seated and quiet, then the dance began. For the most part, it was a lush and florid blend of movement that washed over one, pleasingly, and yet elusive enough to leave few snapshots in the memory to be savored later. I did discern what I thought to be a few Graham style contractions, which stood out incongruously like little hiccups, but aside from these odd movement choices, their dancing was rich and luscious. A programme note says the piece is about suppression of freedom, but given the work’s mise en scene, it lingers in my mind as something more beautiful and timeless rather than tragic.
    Among other works on the programme was Valse Caprice, which was choreographed by Ruth St. Denis back in 1924 and lovingly rendered by dancer Marie Zvosec. There’s a simple charm about this work which makes one understand why modern dance was able to catch on and flourish in an otherwise practical, pioneer nation. Live music always enhances a dance performance and pianist Melody Fader did not disappoint. Buglisi choreographed a Brahms waltz in the Denishawn style which was also quite nice, brought to life by the lovely Helen Hansen, who was made good and frequent use of throughout the concert.

Tim Martin

Terese Capucilli in Requiem / Photo ©Kristin Lodoen Linder

explore dance

    BDT, a contemporary dance company, established in 1994, is under the artistic direction of Jacqulyn Buglisi. Her credentials as a performer include a twenty-year association with the Martha Graham Dance Company, where she was a principal for 12 years. With more than 50 ballets to her credit, and numerous teaching and world-wide commissions, Buglisi has taught in some of the most prestigious schools in the world, including The Juilliard School. Members of her company have included other former members of Graham: Terese Capucilli, Christine Dakin as well as Kevin Predmore and Virginie Mécène. Twelve dancers comprise the company.
    In a recent program on May 19, at the Howard Gilman Performance Space at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Buglisi presented former works, three short waltzes reconstructed from the Denishawn era, and a world premiere. Opening the program was her signature piece "Requiem" (2002) to Gabriel Fauré's "Requiem." It is a riveting work that invokes the tragedies of 9/11/01. Beautifully costumed and performed as solo excerpts with enormous intensity, the piece is a searing statement. Buglisi, like Graham, Joose, Kylián and Forsythe is among the few choreographers who have protested warring and lamented the pain of loss for those left behind.
    "Sospiri" (1989), danced by Virginie Mécène and Kevin Predmore, tells the story of a Juliet of the Argentine pampas and her lover, the Jesuit priest Ladislav Gutierrez, both executed by a firing squad for their illicit love. The two seem to become more and more eloquent each time they perform this short Buglisi work to Elgar's "Sospiri."
    "Caravaggio Meets Hopper" (2007)... as it juxtaposes painters Italian Caravaggio and American Edward Hopper. Buglisi, during a pause before the next works, explained her method of research and redoing and dropped, almost without knowing, a phrase Graham often exhorted from her company during rehearsals: "Live in the moment!"
In tribute to Denishawn dancer Jane Sherman on her 100th birthday, 3 short waltzes from that turn-of-the-century era were: "Valse Caprice" (1924) by Ruth St. Denis, to music of Cecile Chaminade, performed by Marie Zvosec with the charm and joy these early dances seem to require (and don't forget those scarves); an excerpt from "Liebestraum Waltz" (1924) by Ruth St. Denis and "Brahms Waltz after Denishawn" (2007) by Buglisi were danced by the company's Nicole Kidman look-alike, Helen Hansen, who seems to grown in confidence and projection each season. Piano accompanist for the waltzes was Melody Fader.
    The world premiere of "Interplay No. 9." to music of Chopin, Bach and Scriabin was performed by the same pianist and danced by 9 members of the cast. It is set as a contemporary Viennese picnic in the Tirolian Garden at Schönbrunn Palace. As a sprawling work executed in a romantic, leisurely manner, it tells its story of relationships in solos and a pas de deux.

    Buglisi's work speaks in a strong, pulsing voice, with theatricality, in shapes and combinations that remain in the mind's eye long after the movement stops.

Buglisi Dance Theatre
Requiem, Sospiri,
Caravaggio Meets Hopper, Three Vintage Waltzes,
Interplay No. 9

Baryshnikov Arts Center, NYC
By Marian Horosko
May 19, 2008