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DANCE GALAXY.

DANCE GALAXY

JOYCE THEATER MARCH 9-14, 1999

DanceGalaxy has some unexpected stars in addition to its strong, experienced dancers. It is the thoughtful programming and stylistically wide-ranging repertory that make this company shine. Founded in 1997 by dancers Judith Fugate and Medhi Bahiri, the company boasts a roster of dancers who have performed with major international ballet companies. The dancers, most of whom are now in their late twenties and thirties, offer emotional sophistication as well as technical precision. For the company's New York debut, Fugate and Bahiri's programming seemed designed to provide moments palatable to all tastes, juxtaposing works of different moods and styles.

Michael Smuin's Quattro a Verdi, a challenging exercise in classical technique, was made interesting through an attentiveness to detail. From the curvature of her wrists to the coyly sweet tilt of her head, Christina Fagundes was evocative of retiring ballerina Evelyn Cisneros, who staged the work.

If the white-tutu ballet seemed disarmingly close and almost aggressively charming in the small theater, William Forsythe's Artifact II fit the Joyce Theater's contemporary ambience like a glove. Instead of prettiness, the mood was darkly elegant, complex, and occasionally almost violent, with dancers throwing partners to the floor in splits, pushing each other away then coming back together, and firmly grasping hands in off-vertical counterbalances. The curtain rose and fell at several intervals during the piece; while the music played continuously and (presumably) the dancers continued the work.

The second half of the program provided more contrasts. The beautiful lines formed by the intertwining of Suzanne Goldman and Nils-Bertil Wallin's bodies created a lyrically sensual beauty in Dennis Wayne's Andante.

The company's expressiveness was showcased in Saturday Night, a world premiere by Ginger Thatcher, set in a blues bar. Although the formality of the ballet was somewhat at odds with the desperation of the music (by Etta James), some of the dancers created distinct characters. In "Has Anyone Seen My Girl?" Donald Williams, of Dance Theatre of Harlem, made the solo his own, using his expansive jump, solid balance, and an interesting combination of stillness and acceleration. Deborah Dawn, formerly of the Joffrey Ballet, conveyed a sense of humor and pathos while chasing Williams in "Steal Away."
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Title Annotation:Joyce Theater, New York, New York
Author:SIMS, CAITLIN
Publication:Dance Magazine
Article Type:Dance Review
Date:Jul 1, 1999
Words:368
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