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Paul Taylor Dance Company - Public Domain, Brief Encounters, Airs

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Paul Taylor Dance Company
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
Phone: 212.431.5562
Fax: 212.966.5673
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
And Chairman Board of Trustees
Robert E. Aberlin, President, Board of Trustees
Bettie de Jong, Rehearsal Director
John Tomlinson, Managing Director
Jennifer Tipton, Principal Lighting Designer
Santo Loquasto, Principal Set & Costume Designer
Press, Lisa Labrado: Porter Novelli

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 Halzack,
Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo

In Performances at City Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 6, Evening, 2010

(See Other Taylor Company Reviews)

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 almost 50 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 for the latest tour dates.

Public Domain (1968): Music collage by John Herbert McDowell, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by John Rawlings, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. I’m sure I’ve seen this work before, but it was deep in my memory bank. The “music collage” of old recordings kept breaking up, with classical, marches, dance, talking, and pauses. The mood was quasi-serious, campy at times, with people hiding, joking, and avoiding balls as they roll by. This is not one of my favorite or even must-see-again works, but I always enjoy something new from this creative choreographer. An ensemble of ten, in John Rawlings’ primary color unitards, makes a bright, buoyant image, but, all in all, the gestalt was disjointed.

Brief Encounters (New York Premiere): Music by Claude Debussy (Le Coin des Enfants), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Performed by the Company. What a joy it was to see this Season’s big new Taylor hit, Brief Encounters, which will become a familiar addition to the repertoire in no time. With the exact same cast as in the Gala Performance NY Premiere, I was even more fully drawn in, with glowing lighting against glowing skin (Santo Loquasto’s costumes are very bare) and with the innocent Debussy score ironically playing, while adolescent-like dancers explore each other in physique and psyche.

Julie Tice was far more unrestrained tonight as rejecter-seductress, and Michael Trusnovec illuminated the stage with his shimmering demeanor. The dancers were completely immersed in tossing toward and pulling away from each other, all the while in visual relief from a classically designed set. Brief Encounters is truly a masterpiece, a late work from a most prolific choreographer.

Airs (1978): Music by G. F. Handel (Excerpts from Concerti Grossi), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Gene Moore, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company. I couldn’t have ended my Taylor Season better than with the 1978 Airs. Handel’s score is used with respect, reverence, and rhythm. This floatingly aerobic work moves dancers in spinning coyness and feverish frenzy, but with Taylor – driven poise, balance, and sensitivity. This is a work I could hear again and again, as well as see again and again. Its lyrical loveliness is expressed in Handel’s Overtures, Concerto excerpts, and “Arrival of the Queen of Sheba”. Laura Halzack closed the piece with Handel’s “Dream Music”, leading the ensemble, with pure classicism and grace.

Kudos to Paul Taylor.

Paul Taylor
Courtesy of Maxine Hicks

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