Paul Taylor Dance Company - Arden Court, Profiles, Troilus and Cressida (reduced), Syzygy
-Onstage with the Dancers
Paul Taylor Dance Company
NY, NY 10012
Phone: 212 431 5562
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
Norton Belknap, President, Board of Directors
Bettie De Jong, Rehearsal Director
Wallace Chappell, Executive Director
John Tomlinson, General Manager
Jennifer Tipton, Principal Lighting Designer
Santo Loquasto, Principal Set and Costume Designer
Press, Jennifer Lerner
Dancers: Lisa Viola, Richard Chen See, Michael Trusnovec, Annmaria Mazzini, Orion Duckstein,
Amy Young, Robert Kleinendorst, Julie Tice, James Samson, Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Jeffrey Smith, Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzak
In Performances at City Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 17, 2007
Originally Published on ExploreDance.com
Years ago, Paul Taylor danced with my Modern Dance Master Class at Skidmore College. For many years, I have been part of Mr. Taylor's devoted audience and have seen him as an inspiring dancer and as a creative choreographer. Mr. Taylor has been one of my long-time heroes of the Arts. He always sits in the audience, watching his Company perform. And, he always stands onstage, as did his mentor, Martha Graham, to accept accolades, after the final curtain. Mr. Taylor obviously delights in the success of his Company and loyal advisors, and, in fact, Ms. Bettie De Jong, whom I had seen as one of Mr. Taylor's original soloists and as his dance partner, has been with the Taylor Company for over 40 years and is currently his Rehearsal Director.
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 is a sought after troupe and tours extensively around the globe. Visit www.paultaylor.org for the latest tour dates.
Arden Court (1981): Music by William Boyce (Excerpts from Symphonies Nos. 1, 3, 5, 7, 8), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Gene Moore, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. With a royal, expansive rose backdrop, that changes texture, like the dance, thanks to Jennifer Tipton's creative lighting and Paul Taylor's scintillating design, nine dancers move under and around and on the shoulders of each other, with up-stretched arms or torsos rolling offstage. The polka-dotted leotards add a hint of Pointillism to the mix, as the lighting shifts the rose, and the music shifts the motion. William Boyce should be heard more often.
Profiles (1979): Music specially composed by Jan Radzynski, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Gene Moore, Lighting by Mark Litvin, Performed by Michael Trusnovec, Annmaria Mazzini, Richard Chen See, and Michelle Fleet. Two couples, who happen to be four of Mr. Taylor's most interesting performers, wear unitards, almost in the motif of the previous dance. They lean against each other, slide down torsos, and create foursome imagery of one male lifting his partner while the other female slides through his legs, with her own arm locked onto her partner's. This is imaginative, impressive choreography, uncluttered and pure. Jan Radzynski's score is eerie and riddled with dissonance, and the dancers use angular postures and affect to stretch the mood.
Troilus and Cressida (reduced) (2006, NY Premiere): Music by Amilcare Ponchielli, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. With three cupids in peach, an aerobic Robert Kleinendorst as Troilus, King of Troy, who leaps over Ms. Tice, Ms. Khobdeh, and Ms. Bugge, three Greek invaders in red costumes with long, gold capes and red/black helmets, and Lisa Viola as Cressida, in silky purple, the camp gets campier.
This NY premiere is a huge hit, dynamic, daring, and delightful. Santo Loquasto's set and costumes are bright extensions of the humor and history, and Amilcare Ponchielli's rapid score keeps the action driven. If there were ever an award for theatricality in dance, Lisa Viola would be an early recipient. She rivets the eye and warms the senses on each and every appearance.
Syzygy (1987): Music specially composed by Donald York, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. In casual khaki and black, hair and bodies go flying, with windy choreography matching Donald York's music. According to the program notes, "Syzygy" means a "nearly straight line configuration of three or more celestial bodies in a gravitational system". And, celestial they were, flung about and hurling through space. What an idea. Gravity-defying chaos merges with structure and skill, thanks to the extraordinary energy of twelve dancers. Annmaria Mazzini, Richard Chen See, Michael Trusnovec, Orion Duckstein, Amy Young, Robert Kleinendorst, Julie Tice, Michelle Fleet, Sean Mahoney, Jeffrey Smith, Francisco Graciano, and Laura Halzack, together, teamed up for a flash finale. One evening, four works, and the entire company counts sixteen. These are tireless, talented dancers.
Paul Taylor's Troilus and Cressida
Photo courtesy of Tom Caravaglia