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The Motions of Romance, Fleeting and Passionate
            Jacqulyn Buglisi doesn’t exclude men from her choreographic renderings, but it’s clear that she       reserves her greatest love for the female form. On Tuesday night at the Joyce Theater, Ms. Buglisi — a former principal with the Martha Graham Dance Company — demonstrated that        affinity in four works, the last of which featured a bona fide star: Martine van Hamel, an American Ballet Theater veteran.
            In “Suspended Women,” from 2000, a mass of dancers rush to the front of the stage in a whoosh of tulle. The work proposes a world of female      independence...
            “Frida,” created in 1998,      explores the art and life of Frida Kahlo. Three dancers writhe and twist in front of projections of Kahlo’s paintings as narration by Cynthia Adler, taken from diaries and   letters, provides context. Clifton Taylor’s lighting continually plays with the color of Kahlo’s work…
            The scene for Ms. Buglisi’s new “Interplay No. 9-1,” according to the program note, is “a Viennese picnic in the Tyrolean Garden at Schönbrunn   Palace.” The dance, set to Bach, Chopin  and  Scriabin, performed with fervor by the pianist Melody Fader, focuses on three couples who find themselves in various states of detachment and       passion. Throughout, Ms. Buglisi translates such ardor into movement that  includes contractions, brisk falls to the floor and slow turns in attitude,…
            “Wild Mannequins & Wing Walkers,” Ms. Buglisi’s sprawling new group work, pays tribute to heroines like Eleanor Roosevelt and Amelia Earhart. A set, by Jack Mehler and Ralph Pucci, incorporates fog and mannequins that dangle from the ceiling…the eye is constantly drawn to the enchanting way Ms. van Hamel, nonchalantly wearing a birdcage on her head, embraces the   absurdity. Who cares how Ms. Buglisi persuaded Ms. van Hamel to return to the stage as an agitated fairy? Just be happy that she did.
  Buglisi Dance Theatre James Pierce and Helen Hansen in “Interplay No. 9-1” at the Joyce Theater

February 04 2009 Buglisi Dance Theatre by Lisa Jo Sagolla

Wild Mannequins & Wing Walkers: Dancers, Christina Ilisije & Mariko Kumanomido, Photo Kristin Lodoen Linder

They say the real test of a masterpiece is how well it holds up over time. If so, then Jacqulyn Buglisi's "Frida," a wrenching 1998 trio inspired by the life and work of Frida Kahlo, and Buglisi's monumental 2000 work "Suspended Women," an insightful homage to femininity, are indeed      choreographic masterworks. As performed by Buglisi Dance Theatre on the opening night of the company's weeklong season at the Joyce, both works proved even more aesthetically arresting, emotionally entrancing, and sharply relevant than they did when first presented.

a celebrated former principal dancer with the Martha Graham Dance Company. With her gripping dramatic intensity and unparalleled expertise in Graham technique, Capucilli interprets Buglisi's fervent Graham-based choreography with spine-tingling authority. She is one of the true geniuses of modern-dance expressivity.

Completing the program are two Buglisi works: the New York City premiere of "Interplay No. 9-1," a spirited dance for nine performed to live piano music by Bach, Chopin, and Scriabin, and the world premiere of "Wild Mannequins & Wing Walkers," an ambitious dance-theatre [piece] in which historical writings about women's bodies and definitions and depictions of mannequins collide with biographies of famous American heroines such as Amelia Earhart and Eleanor Roosevelt.

Buglisi Dance Theatre

Wild Mannequins & Wing Walkers, Frida, Threshold, Suspended Women, Interplay No. 9-1

by Marian Horosko
February 8, 2009

Buglisi Dance Theatre opened its 15th season on February 3-8 at the Joyce Theater, 19th and Eighth Avenue. This company, led by  choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi, is one of the foremost modern dance groups, with vigorous ideas inspired by art, poetry and heroic  archetypes.

Buglisi is daring, with hypnotic and perceptive insights into the human condition.

This season, Buglisi turns her witty observations into a new work: "Wild Mannequins & Wing    Walkers" to a commissioned score by Wynne Bennett and Milica Paranosic. Program A included "Frida" (Kahlo); one of Buglisi's signature pieces, "Suspended Women;" and the New York premiere of "Interplay No. 9-1" to short, familiar piano works by Scriabin and Chopin.

Photo (c) Kristin Lodoen Linder
Dancers: Helen Hansen, Junichi Fukuda, Christina Iliisije (seated) and Ralph Pucci Mannequins

"Interplay No. 9-1" got off to an energetic start with piano accompaniment vigorously played by    Melody Fader. Members of the company visualized the intent of each piece, not literally, but emotionally. Helen Hanson in her solo to a fugue, once again proved herself a member of high stature. In this work, Buglisi's craft serves her well as she matches the musical choices to her company members. Lyricism dominates as a good opening work on a program…sentiment, unusual for this choreographer, seeped in here and there, probably because the work is dedicated to the memory of her brother, Joseph.

"Wild Mannequins & Wing Walkers" as a world premiere, required a program description by Buglisi: "A world, perhaps, where reality and the absurd collide, a metaphor for our time."

Guest artist Martine van Hamel, a distinguished ballerina and frequent guest artist of the company,   always attracts attention…

The high point of the season, was the repeat of Buglisi's pas de deux, (1991) "Threshold" with Virginie Mécène and Kevin Predmore. Both dancers had performed in BDT's early works... "Threshold" is    riveting with its intertwining lifts, emotionally and   sexually charged undertow and breath-holding   descents from perilous heights. Only this company, with its Graham technique and mantra of "being present in the moment," would be able to attempt this work.