Paul Taylor Dance Company - Arden Court, Eventide, Piazzolla Caldera
-Onstage with the Dancers
Paul Taylor Dance Company
50th Anniversary Season
NY, NY 10012
Phone: 212 431 5562
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
Norton Belknap, President, Board of Directors
Bettie De Jong, Rehearsal Director
Wallace Chappell, Executive Director
John Tomlinson, General Manager
Jennifer Tipton, Principal Lighting Designer
Santo Loquasto, Principal Set and Costume Designer
Press, Jennifer Lerner
Dancers: Patrick Corbin, Lisa Viola, Richard Chen See, Silvia Nevjinsky, Andy LeBeau, Heather Berest, Michael Trusnovec, Annmaria Mazzini, Orion Duckstein, Amy Young, Robert Kleinendorst, Julie Tice, James Samson, Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Nathaniel Keuter
In Performances at City Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 13, 2005: Matinee
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Years ago, Paul Taylor danced with my Modern Dance Master Class at Skidmore College. For many years, I have been part of Mr. Taylor's devoted audience and have seen him as an inspiring dancer and as a creative choreographer. Mr. Taylor has been one of my long-time heroes of the Arts. He always sits in the audience, watching his Company perform. And, he always stands onstage, as did his mentor, Martha Graham, to accept accolades, after the final curtain. Mr. Taylor obviously delights in the success of his Company and loyal advisors, and, in fact, Ms. Bettie De Jong, whom I had seen as one of Mr. Taylor's original soloists and as his dance partner, has been with the Taylor Company for over 40 years and is currently his Rehearsal Director.
Paul Taylor grew up near Washington, DC and studied dance at Juilliard. He first presented his own company and original choreography in 1954. For seven years, he was a soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company and continued to create dances for his own company. In 1959 he was a Guest Artist and danced with the New York City Ballet, and, since 1975, he has concentrated on his choreography. Mr. Taylor has won dozens of awards, such as the National Medal of Arts from President Clinton in 1993, a 1992 Emmy Award for Speaking in Tongues, and a 1992 Kennedy Center Honor. He was elected to Knighthood by the French Government and in 2000 was awarded Legion d'Honneur for contributions to French culture. (Program Notes). He has received numerous honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from prestigious colleges, including Skidmore, where I first met him, many years ago. The Paul Taylor Dance Company is a sought after troupe and tours extensively around the globe. Visit www.paultaylor.org for the latest tour dates.
Arden Court (1981): Music by William Boyce (Excerpts from Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 8), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Gene Moore, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. One star of this amazing modern ballet is a heavenly rose on the backdrop - peach, pink, fading colors, then bright again at the curtain's fall. Heavenly is an operative word, here, and arms reach to the sky with outward (compared to the inward gestures of other Taylor dances) gestures, still evocative of the Martha Graham motif.
Arden Court offers playful movement (climbing over and through dance partners, men riding shoulders of men, and dancers hesitating before walking offstage) and classical movement (partnered lifts and endless spins). Richard Chen See's rolling offstage is worth seeing this dance, in itself. William Boyce's regal score exudes sophistication and ambiance. Gene Moore's sets and costumes change consistently, thanks to Jennifer Tipton's creative lighting.
Eventide (1997): Music by Ralph Vaughan Williams (Suite for Viola and Orchestra and Hymn - Tune Prelude, No. 1), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. Santo Loquasto and Jennifer Tipton have outdone themselves, once more, with fading sunsets or bright lights on trees in golds and browns, with dresses and shirts in earthy shadings, and with a general bucolic ambiance that infuses this lyrical dance with country charm.
When Patrick Corbin danced with Heather Berest to Vaughan Williams' Carol, I shuddered at the thought of Mr. Corbin's soon to retire status, as he dances as a man at his peak. Andy LeBeau and Amy Young were splendid in Williams' Christmas Dance. There were couples in emotional rapture, couples in physical passion, and couples in various levels of connectedness and disconnectedness. The choreographic theatricality and soaring score combined to make this a work to be performed often.
Piazzolla Caldera (1997): Music by Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. If I were stranded on an island with a boom box and one CD, it would be Gidon Kremer's Hommage a Piazzolla, the score for this sizzling Taylor work. Four tango compositions, plus smoke, bar stools, ballroom shoes, ruffled dresses, black backdrops, and violent passion, combine to excite and energize the dancers and audience to a frenzy of electric expectations and sensual surrealism.
White silky lights hang low, and the tango embellishments (kicks under thighs, legs through and around partners, lifts upside down, men dancing with men, piercing eyes, bodies almost close, and more) are intrinsic to Taylor's choreography. But, this work is not supposed to be true, pure tango, and the dance partners remain slightly physically separated (in tango, bodies must feel each other to move on physical cue, not individual patterns). Piazzolla Caldera is one of Taylor's most exciting works, and its placement at the end of today's program was fitting, as it's a showstopper. The intense sexual dynamic, even blatant, homoerotic imagery, adds to the art and the culture of this brothel-like scene. Lisa Viola, Annmaria Mazzini, and Robert Kleinendorst danced together to Concierto Para Quinteto with steamy, wild abandon. A standing ovation followed Escualo.
Photo courtesy of Lois Greenfield