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Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance: Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rehearsal), Ports of Call, Company B
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Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance: Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rehearsal), Ports of Call, Company B

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Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance
551 Grand Street, Top Floor
New York, NY, 10002

Phone: 212.431.5562

(Taylor American Modern Dance Website)

Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
Music Director and Conductor, Donald York
Featuring the Paul Taylor Dance Company
And Lyon Opera Ballet

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 / James F. Ingalls, Principal Lighting Designers
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, Michael Novak,
Heather McGinley, George Smallwood,
Christina Lynch Markham, Madelyn Ho
Kristin Draucker

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

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 8, 2017

(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.

Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rehearsal) (1980): Music by Igor Stravinsky, (Arrangement for two pianos), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by John Rawlings, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Pianos: Margaret Kampmeier and Blair McMillen, Performed by Laura Halzack as The Girl, Christina Lynch Markham as the Rehearsal Mistress, Robert Kleinendorst as The Crook, Michael Trusnovec as The Private Eye, Eran Bugge as The Crook’s Mistress, Jamie Rae Walker as The Crook’s Stooge, Sean Mahoney, Michael Apuzzo, and Michael Novak as Henchmen and Policemen, and Heather McGinley, Parisa Khobdeh, and Madeline Ho as Bar Dancers.

In serious Taylor genre, all wit and satire, the super athletic characters appear in grey unitards, a jumping leg extended, and, by the way, there’s a baby swathed in red. There are crooks with knives, the baby is shoved up and about, and a mistress, henchmen, policemen, stooge, bar dancers, private eye, and rehearsal mistress all have fun. The audience adored this less than abstract, and more than complicated camp. This ballet gives the extremely talented company an opportunity to show off their theatrical skills, while dancing up a barefooted storm. Especially convincing were Laura Halzack as The Girl, Robert Kleinendorst as The Crook, and Eran Bugge as His Mistress. Gestural mime combines with aerobic leaps for outsized comedy. The duo pianists were superb in the two-piano transcription of Stravinsky’s renowned score. It was riveting to hear, when one thinks of the virginal sacrifice intended in the original 1913 Nijinsky-Ballets Russes choreography and subsequent versions.

Ports of Call (World Premiere): Music by Jacques Ibert (Escales and Divertissement), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Conductor: Ted Sperling, Performed by the Company. I found this new work, Ports of Call, culturally inappropriate and uninviting. That is, Mr. Taylor invites the audience down memory lane of his travels in Africa, Hawaii, Alaska, and Midwest, USA. Ted Sperling conducts Orchestra of St. Luke’s in Ibert’s lush Escales and Divertissement. The music was better heard eyes shut, as this one ballet by Mr. Taylor, among his 145 career dance choreographies, was cartoonish to a fault. Mr. Taylor is known for satire, but here the humor was rough. The Company visits Africa, and they seem lost in a dim, eerie jungle. They visit Hawaii, and touristy men don tropical, short-sleeve shirts, among hula-skirted dancing women. They visit Alaska and group crouch in a cold igloo before dancing polar bears appear. Finally, they visit the American Midwest, and a pregnant woman weds among rural, bumbling church attendants.

Company B (1991):. Music – Songs sung by the Andrews Sisters, sentiments during WWII, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. Mr. Taylor’s Company B has always been one of my favorites in his massive repertoire, and tonight’s performance was resplendent. As soon as the champagne-infused vocals of The Andrews Sisters waft onto the stage, I am in Taylor heaven. A high point was seeing more of the recent hires, Madelyn Ho and Kristin Draucker, part of the female trio in “Joseph! Joseph!”, a rousing World War II song, with James Samson, Michael Apuzzo, and George Smallwood eagerly joining in, rounded out by Christina Lynch Markham.

The ever sexy “Rum and Coca-Cola” sequence was led by a sultry Eran Bugge, among her male admirers, and Francisco Graciano brought back his effervescent interpretation of “Tico-Tico”, with his original nuances. Robert Kleinendorst was the ebullient “Boogie-Woogie Bugle Boy (of Company B)”, the title tune. Parisa Khobdeh danced my favorite tune in this work, “I Can Dream, Can’t I?”, with passion and expressiveness, and Heather McGinley and Sean Mahoney were ravishing in “There Will Never Be Another You”. I relaxed and enjoyed the pure talent of the swing, waltz, and even a polka, so vibrant and youthful, presenting stark contrast to silently falling men, the shadows of dying soldiers in the background.

Kudos to Paul Taylor.

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