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Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance: 2015 Gala: Company B, Troilus and Cressida (reduced), Brandenburgs
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Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance: 2015 Gala: Company B, Troilus and Cressida (reduced), Brandenburgs

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Paul Taylor Dance Foundation

Annual Gala
Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002

Phone: 212.431.5562
Fax: 212.966.5673

(Taylor American Modern Dance Website)

Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
Music Director, Donald York
Featuring the Paul Taylor Dance Company

Music Performed Live by:
Orchestra of St. Luke’s

Paul Taylor, President, Board of Directors
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

In Performances at the David H. Koch Theater
At Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 12, 2015

(See Other Taylor Company Reviews)

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, now under the umbrella of Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, is a sought after troupe and tours extensively around the globe.

Company B (1991): Music – Songs sung by the Andrews Sisters, Typical sentiments of Americans during WWII, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.

Every Gala should open with Paul Taylor’s Company B, with the sultry, sumptuous tunes of the Andrews Sisters. Michelle Fleet danced the solo, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?”, with explosive emotionality and style. Laura Halzack and Michael Apuzzo danced “Pennsylvania Polka”, with lively pulse and ebullience, and Robert Kleinendorst led the ensemble in the title tune, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)”. Mr. Kleinendorst was flirty and engaging in his chinos and shirt, wooing the ladies with open arms. Francisco Graciano was in fine form in “Tico-Tico”, recoiling from gun shots (this work is a tribute to World War II and soldiers of subsequent wars), with shadows of men holding fingers like guns, falling in the silhouetted backdrop or right onstage. Mr. Graciano is a superb gymnast, and his dance was split-timed for personality and poignancy. Eran Bugge was flirty, as well, in “Rum and Coca-Cola”, wiggling her skirt over the pleading soldiers’ faces. Michael Trusnovec added vaudevillian wit in “Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!”, and Heather McGinley and Sean Mahoney were rapturous in “There Will Never Be Another You”.

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 Parisa Khobdeh, Robert Kleinendorst, and the Company.

This 2006 Taylor work is true burlesque, absolutely charming and comical, with curly blond wigs for the women, pink and red costumes, gold capes, helmets and faux breast plates for the men, plus a chorus line to boot. Parisa Khobdeh was Cressida, Robert Kleinendorst was Troilus, three women were Cupids, and three men were Greek invaders. But, so much for the story, the music is evocative of Alan Sherman’s retro camp tune, taken from Ponchielli’s “Dance of the Hours”. Ms. Khobdeh and Mr. Kleinendorst stole the show, in witty abandon, but the ensemble of Cupids and invaders added hilarity and frolic. When it comes to ancient Greek history, you won’t buff your scholarly acumen, here, but you might spark your curiosity, especially checking if Cupids were actually present in the court of the King of Troy.

Brandenburgs (1988): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Brandenburg Concertos No. 6, No. 3, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.

Once again, as in Esplanade, I listened more closely to the music tonight, played live by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by Donald York, as, on this very stage, I had just revisited Brandenburg, a Robbins ballet, choreographed to segments of four of Bach’s “Brandenburg Concerti”, danced by New York City Ballet. Taylor’s 1988 Brandenburgs is choreographed to two of the Bach Concerti. These are very different dance choreographies, Robbins and Taylor, and Santo Loquasto’s black, velvety costumes (men in cropped, sleeveless unitards, women in long, sleeveless dresses) make this work serious and stunning. Michael Trusnovec’s solo was mesmerizing and balletic in Jennifer Tipton’s spotlight, while the three women, in this nine-member ensemble, glowed in Graham-styled, pelvic-centered momentum. Arms slice the air like propellers. Michelle Fleet, James Samson, and Michael Novak were particularly riveting.

Kudos to Paul Taylor, who always takes a bow with his Company, clapping for them.

For more information, contact Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower at