A message of peace and tolerance

NYC-based Buglisi Dance Theatre partners with Syracuse community members to commemorate victims of terror

In the midst of tailgating crowds and barbeque smoke before Friday’s football game, approximately 65 dancers, clad in white, slowly made their way in winding lines from the Newhouse plaza through the Lockerbie memorial to the steps of Hendricks chapel. 


12 members of the Buglisi Dance Theatre of New York and approximately 55 dancers from the Syracuse community, many still in high school, joined to commemorate victims of terror through dance, including the December 1988 bombing of Pan Am Flight 103 that killed 270 passengers (among them 35 Syracuse University students).


The dance, titled “Table of Silence Project 9/11,” was created by choreographer Jacqulyn Buglisi and Italian artist Rossella Vasta. Buglisi said the dance conveys the image of a shared meal.


“Through the language of the body . . . we are able to give our message which we want from the artists of America to the world, a message of peace and tolerance,” Buglisi said.


Twin tambor drums thudded through the autumn chill, keeping time for the procession. Each beat evoked one of 12 gestures from the dancers. In one gesture, they created windows with their arms, to look to the future and past, and in another they shuddered, “as if the cry of every man is rising up from the earth,” said Helen Hansen French, who joined Buglisi in 2001.


Photo by Pete Wayner.

Carol Dandridge Charles, a Syracuse resident and member of the SU class of 1984, proudly watched her daughter in the procession.


“It was interesting that it was juxtaposed against an SU football game . . . people just stopped and they followed these children,” she said. 


Charles added that the experience taught her daughter the power of art.


“She can tell a story, she can heal, she can lift spirits just through her art, and if she didn’t get it in those classes all through the years of study, she got it working on this piece,” she said.


Carole Brzozowski, University arts presenter, said the death of Muammar Gaddafi, who was suspected of ordering the bombing, made this performance particularly powerful.


“With Gaddafi’s death just a day before and the tie to Syracuse University, it becomes an incredible, poignant moment for us and our hope is that people will really notice it for that and spend a moment really inspired,” she said.


Donna Stuccio (SU class of ’77) also watched her daughter dance to Hendricks.


“I felt the ghosts,” she said. “Knowing that those children who did perish, they loved the art, and so to commemorate their lives with this piece of theatre . . . it was just perfect.”

Post new comment

* Field must be completed for your comment to appear on The NewsHouse
The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.