Alain Buffard

Nadia Beugré in Baron Samedi, photo by MarcDomage2

Nadia Beugré in Baron Samedi, photos by Marc Domage

Alain Buffard’s work can be disturbing to watch, especially in the way the human body is presented. Take, for instance, this photo of Nadia Beugré, who happens to have an amazingly expressive face. She blew me away last year in her own work, partly because of the urgency, joy, and sheer fierceness in her face. So I am getting ready to be hugely frustrated, just on the basis of this photo from Baron Samedi, the work that comes to New York Live Arts today through Saturday. Why cover her face?

The more tragic part, of course, is that Buffard died last year at only 53. He was known to many American dancer/choreographers, and two of them—Will Rawls and David Thomson—also perform in Baron Samedi. I don’t usually quote from a press release, but this insight about Buffard comes from the brilliant Carla Peterson, who is leaving NYLA for her new life at MANCC (the choreography lab in Florida) next week: “As with Baron Samedi, his latest work, he often wrestled thematically with the underbelly of darkness that, in his hands, carried truths.”

Baron Samedi is part of the wide-ranging “Danse: A French American Festival of Performance & Ideas” that opens tonight and goes till May 18. Click here for more info.

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