Paul Taylor Dance Company
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
And President, Board of Directors
Robert E. Aberlin, Chairman, Board of Directors
Bettie de Jong, Rehearsal Director
John Tomlinson, Executive Director
Jennifer Tipton, Principal Lighting Designer
Santo Loquasto, Principal Set & Costume Designer
Lisa Labrado, Director of Public Relations
Michael Trusnovec, Amy Young,
Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson, Michelle Fleet,
Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Eran Bugge,
Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzack,
Jamie Rae Walker, Michael Apuzzo, Aileen Roehl,
Michael Novak, Heather McGinley, George Smallwood
In Performances at the David H. Koch Theater
At Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 5, 2013 Gala
(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 is a sought after troupe and tours extensively around the globe. Visit www.paultaylor.org for the latest tour dates.
Junction (1961): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Excerpts from Solo Suites for Cello #1 and #4), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Alex Katz, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Amy Young, Robert Kleinendorst, Michelle Fleet, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Jamie Rae Walker, Aileen Roehl, Michael Novak.
Paul Taylor has revived a 1961 work, scored to Bach, with an ensemble of eight in Alex Katz’ sherbet colored tights and leotards, of blue, orange, pink, and green. The dancers’ motion includes bending, standing, pushing, leaning, entering and exiting. Sean Mahoney is a central character in this abstract work, and at one point Michelle Fleet is carried scrunched in the man’s arms. The arm wiggles were eye-catching. This choreography was over a half-century old, but Junction had a very modern motif.
3 Epitaphs (1956): Early New Orleans Jazz, Performed by the Laneville-Johnson Union Brass Band, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Robert Rauschenberg, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by James Samson, Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzack, Heather McGinley.
3 Epitaphs is one of my favorite works in the Taylor Repertory. Early New Orleans jazz, for weddings and funerals, is the sound backdrop for five characters in dark body suits and mirrors that catch the light. They prowl around, arms hung low, in primal animal motion, occasionally jumping like deer or horses. This work is campy and clever and should be seen more often. The dirge-like music makes the characters endearing. At times the ensemble walks as if in mourning, then at times like they’re at a wedding party. Arms spin like a wheel, bodies walk against gravity.
Perpetual Dawn (World Premiere): Music by Johann David Heinichen from the Dresden Concerti, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Performed by Michael Trusnovec, Amy Young, James Samson, Michelle Fleet, Sean Mahoney, Eran Bugge, Francisco Graciano, Laura Halzack, Michael Apuzzo, Michael Novak, Heather McGinley.
With the very accomplished and reliable lead of Michael Trusnovec, Paul Taylor’s premiere is like an impressionist painting. It was infused with elements of an Emily Dickenson poem, “…For sunrise stopped upon the place, And fastened it in dawn”. The light, by James F. Ingalls, is extra bright, the way dawn appears, and partnered male and female dancers arrive onstage much like the beginning of a square dance, but very casually. They gather around, dance, depart, all in romantic bliss. Mr. Trusnovec partners Laura Halzack, and Heather McGinley, with stunning red hair, makes prolonged appearances, as well. At one point, the work was evocative of Jerome Robbins’ Dances at a Gathering, with dancers relaxing side stage as others perform. Perpetual Dawn exudes bucolic spring, with retro hand-holding and ingénue attitude. The Heinichen score was gripping, one of the high points of this Premiere.
Offenbach Overtures (1995): Music by Jacques Offenbach, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by the Company.
There are few works in any dance repertory more entertaining than Mr. Taylor’s Offenbach Overtures. With an ensemble of fourteen, in black shadows, red and black costumes, red shoes, ribbons, a bit of ballet, humorous French plumed hats, and a military motif, scenarios within scenarios play out, in campy, serendipitous fashion. At one point, Parisa Khobdeh lost part of her head piece, and she forced her hair to stand straight up, in the midst of prancing about. The “American Eagle Waltz” brought out four duelers, Michael Trusnovec, Sean Mahoney, Robert Kleinendorst, and Francisco Graciano. The vaudevillian melee was mesmerizing, and the audience was vocally joyful. “Die Rheinnixen Overture”, another of the five Overtures, brought out Laura Halzack and George Smallwood. For me, this was my first sight of this new addition to the Company, and Mr. Smallwood has a unique muscular affect, with understated confidence. The ensemble closed with “Flocons de Neige Gallop”, a total riot.
Kudos to Paul Taylor.