The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation
Paul Taylor Dance Company
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
C.F. Stone III, Chairman, 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, Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson,
Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney,
Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzack,
Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo, Aileen Roehl,
Michael Novak, Heather McGinley, George Smallwood
Christina Lynch Markham, Kristi Tornga
In Performances at the David H. Koch Theater
At Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 19, 2014
(See Other Taylor Company Reviews)
(See the 2014 Taylor Press Event Review)
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.
Perpetual Dawn (2013): Music by Johann David Heinichen from the Dresden Concerti, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Performed by the Company.
Perpetual Dawn, last year’s premiere, has a score by Johann David Heinichen and purple, grey, brown costumes and set by Santo Loquasto. Michael Trusnovec leads this dance, which is perfumy, like an impressionist painting. It was infused with elements of an Emily Dickenson poem, “…For sunrise stopped upon the place, And fastened it in dawn”. The light, by James F. Ingalls, is extra bright, the way dawn appears, and partnered male and female dancers arrive onstage much like the beginning of a square dance, but very casually. They gather, dance, and depart, all in romantic bliss. Mr. Trusnovec dances with effervescent ebullience. This ballet is evocative of Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, with dancers relaxing side stage as others perform. Perpetual Dawn exudes bucolic spring, with retro hand-holding and ingénue attitude. The Heinichen score was gripping, one of the high points of this modern ballet. Besides Mr. Trusnovec, Michelle Fleet, Michael Novak, and Heather McGinley caught my eye.
Fibers (1961): Music by Arnold Schoenberg, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Ruben Ter-Arutunian, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, based on lighting for the original production by Tharon Musser, Performed by Robert Kleinendorst, Aileen Roehl, Michael Novak, and Christina Lynch Markham.
With at least 139 choreographies in Paul Taylor’s repertoire, by my counting, I thought I knew what to expect with revivals, even premieres. But, I was quite astounded and riveted by Fibers, a very early (1961) work with a modernistic, atonal motif. In this ballet we see strong Graham influences, such as a minimalist tree, behind which the protagonist is shielded. But, Ruben Ter-Arutunian designed the amazing sets and costumes, not Isamu Noguchi. The four character dancers wear white, with blue, red, and green costumes and masks, men in a plasticized material, like robots, and women in heavily painted makeup. In the early sixties there was talk of robots and technology, and this was Mr. Taylor’s futuristic fantasy. The motion, unlike most Taylor works, is stiff and non-human, more like Three Epitaphs, Mr. Taylor’s 1956 fully costumed, campy work. The Schoenberg score is requisitely stark and dissonant. All four performers were spellbinding.
Troilus and Cressida (reduced) (2006): Music by Amilcare Ponchielli, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Jamie Rae Walker, Robert Kleinendorst, and the Company.
This campy Taylor work, evocative of the ballet, Sylvia, has three Cupids in peach and an aerobic Robert Kleinendorst as Troilus, King of Troy. He leaps over Eran Bugge, Heather McGinley, and Kristi Tornga, the three Cupids. Also, three Greek invaders, James Samson, Sean Mahoney, and Michael Novak, in red costumes with long, gold capes and red/black helmets, dash to and fro, while Jamie Rae Walker, as Cressida, is costumed in silky purple. The comedy gets even campier. The audience loved it. This 2006 work is dynamic, daring, and delightful. Santo Loquasto's set and costumes are bright extensions of the humor and history, and Amilcare Ponchielli's rapid score keeps the action driven. Speaking of driven, Robert Kleinendorst, who appeared in the previous work, plus this, also appeared in the following ballet, a ginseng-driven dancer, like so many in this Company.
Black Tuesday (2001):. Songs from the Great Depression, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.
The 2001 Black Tuesday was illustrative of Mr. Taylor’s prescience, as Tuesday September 11, that very year, was truly a Black Tuesday. The ballet, first performed in April of that year, is based on the Depression, with Santo Loquasto’s finest Taylor set to date. The backdrop shows the nighttime bridges, under which the out-of-work characters sing, dance, cry, and show off a baby bump. Costumes are dark, with browns and purples, and lighting is dusk-midnight.
The audience always adores Black Tuesday, especially Heather McGinley’s solo tonight, “The Boulevard of Broken Dreams”. She was poignant, pained, and plaintive. There was humor in the virtuosic solo by Kristi Tornga, to “Sittin' On a Rubbish Can”, and, in the Company's “Brother Can You Spare a Dime”, led by Michael Trusnovec with a white glove treatment, the stage lights faded to single lights on the outstretched hands, as the curtain fell with drama. Kudos to Jennifer Tipton for lighting and to Santo Loquasto for the street costumes and skyline – bridge sets. These sets, so evocative of the nearness of trains, bridges, trash cans, stars, tall buildings, and soot, are brilliant. This is a jazzy and jarring work, created to match the 2001 state of the city's economy. New York, thirteen years later, still has boulevards of broken dreams, and Paul Taylor is still making ballets. “Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.”