Keep the Old

Like many choreographers of middling gifts, the pair who create the rep of Buglisi/Foreman Dance (Joyce, February 25 through March 2) come up with the same piece again and again. The results are sometimes compelling—vivid and touching. The rest of the time, the stuff makes you feel you're turning to stone. Unfortunately, all of the season's new works fell into this category. Donlin Foreman, the rock-jawed hunk who was perfect at playing Martha Graham's poster-art heroes (her heroines do all the deep, subtle stuff), choreographs in a visceral, lyric style studded with Grahamisms. The premieres of his And Courage Has Grown So Weary (a solo for himself, giving midlife difficulties mythic dimension) and Here on the Cliffs of the Heart (a flimsy group piece bearing an unfathomable message) were not occasions for rejoicing. Standouts, however, were two earlier duets that capitalize on a male and a female body working in singular rapport. From Pent-Up, Aching Rivers, all dulcet passion, expresses perfectly the state—so often talked about, so rarely realized—of partners who are everything to each other, while So I May Say traces a couple's emotional history with lush vigor.

Jacqulyn Buglisi, also an important Graham alum, leans toward ornate spectacle that aspires to heady profundity. Her latest work runs from the pallid (Blue Cathedral) to the insufferable (Sacred Currents Through Bamboo). But then there was Requiem, from 2002—gorgeous, expressive, original. Its evocative dim lighting, now glowing, now ashen, reveals five women draped in baroque swaths of gleaming fabric tinted bronze, gold, cream, and dried-blood burgundy. Their dance—nothing more than sculptural postures and gestures, simple runs and collapses—turns them into anguished victims, stricken corpses, souls rising to heaven, heroic monuments. Throughout, cloth seems as sensuous and vulnerable as flesh. This is no small magic.

 
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