Paul Taylor Dance Foundation
Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
(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 27, 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.
Aureole (1962): Music by George Frederic Handel (Excerpts from Concerti Grossi), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by George Tacet, Lighting by Thomas Skelton, Performed by Robert Kleinendorst, Michelle Fleet, Sean Mahoney, Heather McGinley, Christina Lynch Markham.
It was good to revisit this early Taylor work, with Robert Kleinendorst so full of life, hopping on bent knees. In fact, the men run with arms swinging back and forth, sometimes creating sideways kicks with arms in perfect circles. Men are in belted, sleeveless unitards, women in flowing, silky dresses. Much of the motion is evocative of Graham, in whose company Mr. Taylor had danced. The men express themselves with their strong arms and shoulders, women with bent torsos and pelvic contractions. The solo was danced by Sean Mahoney, and the duet by Christina Lynch Markham and Mr. Mahoney, who seems to continually blossom, year after year. Michelle Fleet, Robert Kleinendorst, and Heather McGinley had featured spotlights, as well.
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.
On second viewing this season, this light, palette cleanser, like the sherbet between courses, brings nonsensical medieval antics onto Koch Theater’s stage. With the live orchestra playing Ponchielli’s score, there’s more nuance and depth to the aura, although this is a frolic. Parisa Khobdeh and Robert Kleinendorst, as Cressida and Troilus, added lifts, cartwheels, and pizzazz. However, as mentioned in the second review of this season’s Company B, I would prefer seeing the casts mixed up, for a refreshing take on the same work. Tonight’s cast was exactly the same as in the March 12 Gala. But, I did notice stronger arm gestures tonight, with the strength of repetition, perhaps. Santo Loquasto’s costumes remain exquisitely entertaining and loose enough for this campy dance.
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.
With Maureen Gallagher on live viola, in collaboration with Donald York, Conductor, and Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Ralph Vaughn Williams score was enchanting. The segments of choreography include “Prelude”, “Carol”, “Christmas Dance”, “Ballad”, “Moto Perpetuo”, “Musette”, and “Hymn-Tune Prelude”. At one point, men and women circle separately, in two lines, then partner, then circle again, then let go and form two lines, exiting at opposite sides, perhaps reaching toward “what was”. Francisco Graciano caught my eye with his fast turns. There were shades of sundown in Jennifer Tipton’s lighting, and pink-grey in Santo Loquasto’s set of hill and trees. The Loquasto costumes included old-fashioned blouses, long skirts, and men in suspenders, in the aura of a middle-America, retro romance. .
Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor (1938): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, Choreography by Doris Humphrey, Staging and Direction by Jennifer Scanlon, Costumes by Pauline Lawrence, Lighting by Brandon Stirling Baker after original concepts by Doris Humphrey, Kent Tritle on Organ, Originally performed by the Humphrey-Weidman Dance Company, Performed by Guest Company, the Limón Dance Company.
Now, here was a guest company worth inviting for the new, umbrella organization, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance. The Limón Dance Company ingeniously recreated a 1938 Humphrey-Weidman oeuvre, Doris Humphrey’s Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor. Kent Tritle performed on live, solo organ. It was absolutely exquisite to listen to and to behold, with its sumptuous, swirling chords. Sixteen Limón dancers, in Pauline Lawrence’s brown/gold/white costumes, with black-strapped feet, sway side to side, balancing on spread-open legs, with women in hair buns, pulled tight. The dancers were warm in tone and fully in mastery of the genre. Stairs and standing props, as well as chiaroscuro lighting, added interest to the imagery. Spiritually inspired choreography, like hands held in prayer and the cast walking in solemn lines, was riveting. Rounded stretches were evocative of Taylor’s own works. .
In fact, since the Taylor Foundation’s new mission includes inviting guest companies to join the Taylor Company in programming, I would strongly suggest bringing in works that educate the audience, like the Humphrey work, about Mr. Taylor’s roots in modern dance. I am aware that there are legal ramifications and copyrights, but inviting dancers to present works from the 1940’s, 50’s, and 60’s, beyond what Mr. Taylor has choreographed, would be enlightening and inspiring. In fact, Mr. Taylor could present a visiting company that stages a work with gestural commonalities to his own early work, perhaps Graham, Humphrey again, Limón, Ailey, Cunningham, Horton, Dunham, Weidman, Hawkins, Sokolow, Shawn, St. Denis, and then present two of his own works that feature inspired choreographies with relation to the first work. Accompanying slides or film would be a superb feature, to open these programs.
Kudos to Paul Taylor, who always takes a bow with his Company, clapping for them.