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Paul Taylor American Modern Dance: Changes, Continuum, Gossamer Gallants
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Paul Taylor American Modern Dance: Changes, Continuum, Gossamer Gallants

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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 24, 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.

Changes (2008): Songs Sung by The Mamas and The Papas, Music by John Phillips, John Lennon/Paul McCartney, and John Hartford, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. Paul Taylor’s 2008 Changes looks to the sixties with its youthful activism and Taylor’s lament about politicians’ fear-mongering and disastrous wars, concluding that “the more things change, the more they stay the same”, to quote Jean-Baptiste Alphonse Karr. With head bands, jeans and jackets, and Santo Loquasto’s psychedelic colors, bare-bellied dancers whirl to “California Earthquake”, “Dancing Bear”, and “California Dreamin’”. In fact, this last song ran through my head for days, a sign of an engaging experience. Jennifer Tipton’s use of stage lights adds a glare that expands the sparkling edge of this genre.

Taylor returns us to the days when the nation’s youth and not so youthful all marched, chanted, sung, and rebelled against the “political establishment”. The title Changes perhaps encourages us to focus on true change, not just the concept of change, as part of charismatic speech. Paul Taylor transports us back to the sixties, with dancers uniquely in wigs, mustaches, teased Afro, and this leisurely laissez-faire is fascinating. Each dancer assumes a campy, yet authentic persona, with Jmaes Samson, Robert Kleinendorst, and Michael Novak riveting the eye. Mr. Apuzzo plays a pajama-clad character in “Dancing Bear”, with a large bear-costumed James Samson. Their duo seemed sewn into this work like a brightly colored quilted patch, and they were followed by additional sixties genre characterizations.

Continuum (2017): Music by Max Richter (Recomposed: The Four Seasons), Choreography by Lila York, Asst. to Choreographer: Alex Clayton, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Performed by the Company. Lila York is a fascinating choreographer, and her Continuum, which I first saw at the March 2017 Gala, then noted as a New York premiere, should be seen often. This choreography is set to Max Richter’s take on the Vivaldi masterpiece, now called Recomposed: The Four Seasons. With beige-grey ensemble costumes designed by Santo Loquasto, this lovely dance features the spritely Eran Bugge in a bright red dress, flowing in flight. The group’s ebullient motion is stormy, especially that of Michael Trusnovec, who sometimes moves against the stage floor. Also, Laura Halzack is featured in a semi-pas de deux, with Mr. Trusnovec elsewhere on the stage. As I noted in 2017, Ms. York, a former dancer in the Taylor Company, on whom many lead roles were choreographed, has created in Continuum a dance that begs her for more choreographies in the near future. Especially transfixing were unique solos by Michael Novak and Parisa Khobdeh, and a featured Madeline Ho.

Gossamer Gallants (2011): Music by Bedřich Smetana (Dances from “The Bartered Bride”), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.

With David LaMarche ensconced in the pit with Orchestra of St. Luke’s, the Taylor Company appeared in buzzing insect attire, men in blue-black and women in bright green, men chasing and attacking women, then women chasing and attacking men. When the female bees have their own dance, they bond and flex muscles, using the same show-off motif the males had used. There’s wit, satire, wiggling, and campy gesture. As always, the entire Company seems to be hamming it up, loving every moment. It’s like a wild wedding party, with Smetana’s rousing score to add fizz. Michael Novak and Jamie Rae Walker caught my eye for their engaging antics. The cast flutters about in front of Santo Loquasto’s dizzying backdrop of multiple views of a castle. The backdrop design is created to imagine what a fly would see as it spills and whirls through the air, like viewing the castle in a kaleidoscope.

Kudos to Paul Taylor.

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