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Peter Pucci Plus Dancers.

Choreograpber Peter Pucci, who danced with Pilobolus Dance Theatre for nine years before forming his own company a decade ago, is still showing us where he comes from. The five dances in his Joyce season, including two premieres and a couple of other pieces new to New York city, had Pilobolus written all over them. Acrobatic sportsmanship and dance draftsmanship - the play of line-are talents shared by both companies, though the effect of Pucci's work is lighter and less extreme artistically and gymnastically. His dancers are able movers, yet, individually, unmemorable theatrical presences. They do their best when appearing in a group, where Pucci's tendency to favor symmetrical structures complements their tendency to merge.

By contrast, Pucci the performer leaves a pronounced afterimage. For example, my favorite piece of the engagement was the lone oldie, Joe (1994), which throws the dancer on the mercy of his wits in a darkened, obandoned landscape. The work makes the most of Pucci's innate verve and his gestural sophistication. Like a puppet bemused by the sudden loss of his puppeteer, he darts, flails, crumbles, and revives, registering quirks of movement every step of the way.

Pucci's dancers aren't often asked to do the same, and might not rise to the occasion if they were. That doesn't mean they don't serve his dances well, only that soloists are hard to come by. in the new Down in Front, a premiere, a six-person cast danced from a row of theater seats placed onstage, presenting us with a mirror image of ourselves as the audience. But our onstage counterparts were unruly in a way we'd never have dreamed. All pumped up by art, the audience over there jostled one another, roucously snapped cameras, and generally from the spectator's usual passive stance into antic slapstick.

In Each and All, the second premiere six virtually interchangeable dancers, wearing attractively patchworked bodysuits by Ginger Blake, evoked an Arcadian simplicity in a celebration of organic unity. Howell Binkley's sensitive lighting followed the six faithfully through the dance's slow symmetries. Trio for the End of Time was an overly long and finally tacky elegy involving three angelic men whose palms ultimately bore blood, as if wounded by apocryphal stigmata.

The company, augmented by guest artists, outdid itself in Pucci's Size Nine Spirit, set to Benny Goodman tunes and originally performed by Colorado Ballet. Their continuous noodling, fifteen dancers strong, created a jivey ripple effect.
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Title Annotation:Joyce Theater, New York, New York, October 1-6, 1996
Author:McQuade, Molly
Publication:Dance Magazine
Date:Jan 1, 1997
Words:402
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