Paul Taylor Dance Company
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
And Chairman Board of Trustees
Robert E. Aberlin, President, Board of Trustees
Bettie de Jong, Rehearsal Director
Martin I Kagin, Executive Director
John Tomlinson, General Manager
Jennifer Tipton, Principal Lighting Designer
Santo Loquasto, Principal Set and Costume Designer
Press, Lisa Labrado, MWW Group
Michael Trusnovec, Annmaria Mazzini, Orion Duckstein,
Amy Young, Robert Kleinendorst, Julie Tice, James Samson,
Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Patrick Mahoney,
Jeffrey Smith, Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzack,
Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo,
In Performances at City Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 4, 2009
(See Other Taylor Company Reviews)
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.
The Sorcerer’s Sofa (1989): Music by Paul Dukas (L’Apprenti Sorcier), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. This rare Taylor work, extremely silly, features red devils with nine low-hanging breasts and wild, wanton red hair. These figures emerge from a phrenologist’s sketch, of sorts, and seem like adult Dr. Seuss characters. The “Client”, Robert Kleinendorst, is a “gynophobe”, and the Sorcerer, Orion Duckstein, conjures these devils as the Disney film had conjured broomsticks. That animated movie must have struck an idea in Paul Taylor’s imagination, and thus this ballet, one of his more puzzling pieces. Julie Tice is noted to be “A Chaste Lounge”, Annmaria Mazzini, “The Devil Within”, and Amy Young, “Its Duplication”, and thus the multiple breasted “Duplications”. For Taylor aficionados, it’s good to know what’s in the Repertory, to see works like this just the one time.
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. Eventide, in contrast to the work above, needs to be seen often, for its fading sunsets, brightly lit trees in golds and browns, dresses and shirts in earthy shadings, and its bucolic ambiance that infuses lyrical dance with country charm. When Michael Trusnovec danced with Parisa Khobdeh to Vaughan Williams' Carol, the visual effect was mesmerizing. Sean Mahoney and Amy Young riveted the eye in Williams' Christmas Dance. There were couples in various levels of connectedness and disconnectedness, touching, separating, adding a sense of impermanence. Just as eventide as a time element is fleeting, so, too, were these relationships. Also notable were Francisco Graciano and Michelle Fleet in Moto Perpetuo.
Promethean Fire (2002): Music by J. S. Bach (Toccata & Fugue in D minor, Prelude in E flat minor, and Chorale Prelude BWV 680), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. It was thrilling to see one of my favorite Taylor works again, as Promethean Fire, set to three majestic Bach scores, such as Toccata & Fugue in D minor, transports the viewer to its spiritual depth. This work was created shortly after the 2001 attack, and dancer upon dancer topples in presumed fire. In fact, there are shapes of dancers together, arms and fingers up-stretched, that evoke the original shape of Ground Zero, with soaring spokes rising from the fumes. Athleticism and power mark this work, with warmly lit bodies in black, velvet unitards, laced with glittering gold threads. The viewer feels the energy of the resonant chords of the organ, plus the hypnotic and mesmerizing intertwining of bodies onstage and mid-air. Annmaria Mazzini’s sudden leap onto Michael Trusnovec's waiting chest and arms was breathtaking. This is one of Taylor’s many bravura creations.