June 14, 2017
New York Live Arts hosted an electrifying program fit for City Center or any other world renown stage. First on the bill was Jacqulyn Buglisi’s unforgettable MOSS 1 with live music provided by the composer Paula Jeanine Bennett, voice and percussion, as accompanied by cellist Christopher Lancaster.
Buglisi outdid herself with this ensemble work for eight women, costumed diaphanously by A. Christina Giannini. Supported by the O’Donnell-Green Music and Dance Foundation commissioning grant, MOSS 1 was inspired by botanist R.W. Kimmerer’s “Gathering Moss and Braiding Sweetgrass,” “a flight deep into the beauty and science of indigenous ways of knowing.”
A gift beyond measure, this dance demands both effortless strength and unaffected delicacy of its dancers, who convey a world in which intuition and respect for something greater than themselves underlies their being. A particular standout among the dancers was Jessica Higgins, whose speed and spark are remarkable.
Karole Armitage next gave us one section from WALLS, “a sneak preview” of a two-part quartet commissioned by Ravello Festival in Italy. In stark contrast to Buglisi’s sensuality, Armitage provides, metaphorically, shot after shot of pure vodka, and stunned stillness. Bare Amazonian legs strike 180 degree splits; male/female couples pull-off each other, and hand gestures around the face suggest disbelief and horror.
The third dance in the program, a revival from 2001 by Elisa Monte, DAY’S RESIDUE, presents eight dancers in an odd tour of relationships, from the formality of Baroque to the brusqueness of independence.
Jennifer Muller stepped out to speak out in favor of choreographers sharing programs, a practice Buglisi/Monte/Muller have been doing for several years, and to tell us that her work THE SPOTTED OWL is from 1995. “Keep that in mind,” she said. What first comes across with this dance punctuated with text by Sharon Begley, Keith Bradisher, Chung Tzu, J. Ronald Engel, Al Gore, David M. Ludlum, Susan Middleton, David Littschwager, Anthony Milne, Vance Packard, Chris Park, Andrew Revkin, Jeremy Rifkin, and Karen Wright is… fun. Muller can throw a great party, with lots of ideas to kindle the crowd.
Tiffany Rea-Fisher, the artistic director of Elisa Monte Dance Company, demonstrated her own craft and polish with an admirable work for 4 men, 1:3:4:1, as set to composer Paul Ukena.
To close the program were excerpts from LIGETI ESSAYS, choreographed by Armitage, as inspired by the songs of Gyorgy Ligeti. This last piece included the image of 6 dancers carrying silver lanterns designed by David Salle.
Six pieces, three premieres, thirty-five dancers, five female choreographers, each original and seasoned - a night to celebrate!
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deirdre Towers