Paul Taylor Dance Company
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
And Chairman Board of Directors
Robert E. Aberlin, President, Board of Directors
Bettie de Jong, Rehearsal Director
John Tomlinson, Executive Director
Jennifer Tipton, Principal Lighting Designer
Santo Loquasto, Principal Set & Costume Designer
Lisa Labrado, Director of Public Relations
Michael Trusnovec, Annmaria Mazzini, Amy Young,
Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson, Michelle Fleet,
Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Jeffrey Smith,
Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzack,
Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo
Aileen Roehl, Michael Novak
In Performances at City Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 5, 2011 Matinee
(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 almost 50 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.
I specifically chose this program for Arden Court. The luscious rose-petaled backdrop, that fades and fragments in the fluid lighting, showcases nine dancers, who move under and around each other, with up-stretched arms or torsos rolling offstage. The polka-dotted leotards add a hint of Pointillism to the mix, while music shifts the motion. Arden Court offers playful choreography (climbing over and through dance partners, men riding shoulders of men, and dancers hesitating before walking offstage) and classical choreography (partnered lifts and endless spins). William Boyce's symphonic excerpts exude sophistication and ambiance. Gene Moore's sets and costumes morph magically, thanks to Jennifer Tipton's inspired lighting.
Three Dubious Memories (NY Premiere): Music by Elyakim Taussig (Five Enigmas, movements 1, 3, 4, 5), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.
On second viewing, with the exact cast as the original viewing, this piece took on more interest and fascination. Rather than ponder the weight of the three divergent plots, as remembered by Man in Blue, Man in Green, and Woman in Red, I focused on the nuanced gestures, the change in mood from Sean Mahoney’s (Man in Blue) severe retelling to the campier, light-hearted take of Amy Young, Woman in Red. Santo Loquasto’s costumes are bright, uncluttered, and appealing. The Taussig score is also uncluttered, fitting comfortably into these three scenarios. Just as Paul Taylor repeats choreography to new music in Polaris, so does he repeat some of the choreography here, as three memories merge and diverge, from haunting to campy.
Cloven Kingdom (1976): Music by Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Cowell, and Malloy Miller (Combined by John Herbert McDowell), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Women's Costumes by Scott Barrie, Headpieces by John Rawlings, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.
What a treat to see Cloven Kingdom once again, about a week after the first seasonal viewing. This time, the male cast changed, to Michael Trusnovec, Robert Kleinendorst, Francisco Graciano, and Michael Novak. This foursome was even more persuasive, if that’s possible, with their unique styles and personalities shining through the driven dynamics. In fact, Michael Novak, new in the Company, bears a striking resemblance to Mr. Taylor in his earliest performances; that wide, all-American smile, the retro hair. Aileen Roehl, another new member, has a fifties Hollywood look, blond, wide-eyed. But, the Taylor dancers are serious dancers, no ingénues or amateurs. They rivet the eye and heighten the pulse. Kudos to Mr. Taylor for finding and cultivating his entire company ensemble.