As anybody knows, whether you are an actor, a comedian, a dancer or a businessman, the secret is in the timing. It's obvious that choreographer/dancer Peter Pucci whose engaging company, Peter Pucci Plus Dancers, is closing the final segment of the Dance at the Edge Series this weekend at Towson State University, has been plugged into the secret for years.
While Mr. Pucci has a reputation for being a comedian, his impeccable sense of "What Happens When" or "What Body Goes Where" is not limited to comedic dancing. His dramatic sensibilities are just as generous and genuine as his lighter side.
Throughout the program's seven dances, his choreography at its best blends the emotional overtones of dramatic situations with the unerring accuracy of dramatic timing.
Stylistically, Mr. Pucci shows strong evidence of a lengthly association with the Pilobolus Dance Theatre, where he was an active member for nine years as principal dancer and co-choreographer. Yet Mr. Pucci's own unique style is equally evident as when he struts his stuff in "Rapt," a solo to music by Mozart. He lampoons hip-hop moves yet demonstrates how graceful they can be.
"Rapt," with Mr. Pucci costumed in shorts, sneakers and baseball cap, mixes movement metaphors that drew laughter from the audience. In complete contrast was "Broken Song" a stunning quartet to music by Arvo Part. This work, like the opening dance "In The Garden" and the wonderfully provocative "Love Duet," were highly reminiscent of the strong sculptural detailed dances associated with Pilobolus.
"Charnel House" was the least successful of the works shown. With a more traditional modern dance look and writhing bodies struggling against an unseen force, the work was a nicely performed cliche.
Equally unbalanced was the closing number, "Flick and Flack," a whirl of semi-slapstick moves that gave the men the shtick and nTC the women the run around. While full of high spirits, "Flick and Flack" couldn't match the true wit and comedic spirit of "Can't Get Started" danced with rip-roaring vaudevillian timing by Maureen Mansfield and Mr. Pucci to great audience approval.
When Mr. Pucci's timing is right he's terrifically droll, and when it's off he's just plain dull.