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Paul Taylor American Modern Dance: Cloven Kingdom, Concertiana, Piazzolla Caldera
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Paul Taylor American Modern Dance: Cloven Kingdom, Concertiana, Piazzolla Caldera

- Onstage with the Dancers
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New York, NY 10036
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Paul Taylor American Modern Dance
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
Phone: 212.431.5562

(Taylor American Modern Dance Website)

Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
Music Director and Conductor, Donald York
Conductor, David LaMarche
Featuring the Paul Taylor Dance Company
Trisha Brown Dance Company
Sara Mearns
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 Marketing & Public Relations

Michael Trusnovec, Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson,
Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney,
Eran Bugge, Laura Halzack, Jamie Rae Walker,
Michael Apuzzo, Michael Novak, Heather McGinley,
George Smallwood, Christina Lynch Markham, Madelyn Ho
Kristin Draucker, Lee Duveneck, Alex Clayton

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

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 11, 2018 Matinee

(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 American Modern Dance, is a sought after troupe and tours extensively around the globe.

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.

I could watch Cloven Kingdom once or twice each Taylor season, like a favorite ballet, as it’s so inviting, so engaging, so unique, and so percussive. That is, the drums get into your system, with repetitive echoing effects that drive men in full coat tuxedos and tie to move to a primal beat, hopping with feet (hooves) and clawing with hands (hooves). They could be horses, cows, sheep, or goats, but, bottom line, they are hormonal men, stomping and prancing and leaping in unison. Michael Trusnovec, Robert Kleinendorst, Michael Apuzzo, and Alex Clayton (new this season) could be strutting into a black tie gala or clomping into a stall. And, just when you’re at one with the beat, women with cubical mirrored hats arrive to catch the spotlights and throw them back.

Jennifer Tipton must be celebrated, as this lighting designer has masterfully designed most of Taylor’s oeuvres, with signature success. John Rawlings’ headpieces are museum-quality, and Scott Barrie’s women’s costumes are also over the top. The complex score, with the percussive overlay, is a combination of Corelli, Henry Cowell, and Malloy Miller. Donald York conducted the challenging score.

Concertiana (Premiere Season): Music by Eric Ewazen, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by William Ivey Long, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Conductor: David LaMarche, Violin: Krista Bennion Feeney, Performed by the Company.

Paul Taylor’s newest choreography, truly a feat for this dance master in his late eighties, is Concertiana. Eric Ewazin’s score was conducted by David LaMarche, a conductor with American Ballet Theatre, who is frequently and favorably reviewed on these pages. William Ivey Long, also frequently reviewed for Broadway and ballet costumes and designs, created the costumes for this premiere. James F. Ingalls is lighting designer. The two new members of the Company, Alex Clayton and Lee Duveneck, were prominently featured. In addition, five men, James Samson, Sean Mahoney, Michael Apuzzo, Michael Novak, and George Smallwood, as well as four women, Eran Bugge, Heather McGinley, Christina Lynch Markham, and Madeline Ho, complete the ebullient, rapturous cast.

The natural street motion, so renowned in Mr. Taylor’s 1975 Esplanade, walking, running, sliding, rolling, leaping, with arms in constant motion and strong torso muscularity, is all on view in the new Concertiana, with crawling and hopping motifs added, as well. The contemporary score by Mr. Ewazin, with the violin solo performed by Krista Bennion Feeney, was unfamiliar and therefore quite interesting. After a one year interlude between Taylor New York seasons, and today being my first viewing of a five-program, seasonal plan, I was essentially focused on the reappearance of nine familiar dancers and two new Company men. Ms. McGinley, Ms. Ho, Ms. Bugge, and Ms. Markham each caught the eye in brief and longer solos, all proudly performing for Mr. Taylor’s lasting legacy of about 147 unique choreographies in a span of six decades or so. I loved the sight of one woman leaping into the arms of two men, who swing her about, evocative of traditional ballet, with romance and youthfulness. Mr. Ivey Long’s multi-blue unitards are magnetic, lyrical, and lovely.

Piazzolla Caldera (1997): Music by Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.

As a former Argentine Tango dancer, I take Tango as dance and Tango as music quite seriously. Many Modern Dance companies have replicated the passion of this sensual and fiery dance in a watered down, less than passionate or less than technically appropriate style. Piazzolla Caldera has expertly extrapolated the essence of Tango. It happens that the Gidon Kremer CD, “Hommage à Piazzolla”, is one of my favorites and one I used to bring to private Tango lessons. It a mournful and soulful chamber interpretation of Astor Piazzolla's most searing music for performance dancing and listening. It contains an emotional yearning, mixed with intonations of angst, survival, and revenge.

Jennifer Tipton’s lighting and Santo Loquasto’s costumes are rare and exciting. Dresses, suspenders, pants, stockings, and shoes have the bordello quality of the earliest Tangos, and the suspended light bulbs with cloth décor against the thick darkness of the stage are all indigenous to Buenos Aires and the songs of Tango. One lonely woman dancing with a longing for love is reminiscent of the loneliness of a Tanguera, looking for the feeling of passion, as she matches chemistry with the chance partner. The Company has, this season, deepened the dance’s emotionality with Piazzolla’s touching and tender music, evoking its requisite and intense sensuality, the soul of Tango. I recommend listening to Kremer's violin interpretations of Astor Piazzolla’s “Oblivion”, among others, as well as to Piazzolla's original recordings, with the composer on bandoneón.

Kudos to Paul Taylor.

Kristin Draucker in
Paul Taylor's "Concertiana"
Courtesy of Paul B. Goode

George Smallwood, Eran Bugge, Lee Duveneck
in Paul Taylor's "Concertiana"
Courtesy of Paul B. Goode

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