The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation
Paul Taylor Dance Company
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002
(Taylor Dance Company Website)
Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
C.F. Stone III, 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, 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
Christina Lynch Markham, Kristi Tornga
In Performances at the David H. Koch Theater
At Lincoln Center
Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 14, 2014
(See Other Taylor Company Reviews)
(See the 2014 Taylor Press Event Review)
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.
A Field of Grass (1993): Music by Harry Nilsson, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Performed by Robert Kleinendorst, Michelle Fleet, Sean Mahoney, Francisco Graciano, Aileen Roehl, Heather McGinley, and Christina Lynch Markham.
As curtains open, Robert Kleinendorst is a lonely grass-smoking guy, as songs by Harry Nilsson waft in. This is a revived Taylor work from the 1990’s about carefree youth. Arms swing, smiles widen, and smoke rises. Music has that hootenanny feeling, lots of banjo and breezy tones. Santo Loquasto’s bellbottom pants are casual, blue-jean blue, with white shirts. Circular leaps and outstretched, buoyant limbs move to songs, like the finale’s ''The Puppy Song”. But before it’s all touchy-feely, there are songs with some social, emotional references. I look forward to absorbing more of this work on second viewing. Other than Mr. Kleinendorst, Francisco Graciano, Aileen Roehl, and Christina Lynch Markham caught my eye.
Marathon Cadenzas (Premiere season): Music by Raymond Scott, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Performed by the Company.
In the first half of the 20th century, dance marathons were a vehicle for people, who were in decent physical shape, to earn money to get by. You had to outlast all the other dancers, with your partner, unless it was all solo, and you had to be upright. Then you won the monetary award. In Taylor’s new piece, Sean Mahoney, the boss in a white suit, is a thug, who abuses Heather McGinley’s character and keeps the characters dancing, with the shot of a gun. It’s actually a very disturbing piece, filled with foreboding and pain. With numbers on their costumes, Michael Trusnovec and Robert Kleinendorst start a fight, until the boss arrives.
There’s a dramatic fatigue, as the motion repeats and repeats, to music by Raymond Scott. James F. Ingalls’ lighting is mostly dim, and Santo Loquasto’s costumes are mostly dreary, as appropriate. When characters fall, others move in, and the audience is drawn in to this seedy milieu. At the finale, the ensemble huddles, arms out, in silhouette. This is not a piece I look forward to seeing again soon, but rather intermittently, as a contrast to Mr. Taylor’s abstract works set to chamber music. But, it’s impressive and incredible that Paul Taylor, in this Diamond Anniversary year, is still pumping out new modern dance ballets. Kudos to him for this.
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.
The luscious rose-petaled backdrop, that fades and fragments in the fluid lighting, showcases nine dancers, who move under and around each other, with up-stretched arms or torsos rolling offstage. The polka-dotted leotards add a hint of Pointillism to the mix, while music shifts the motion. Arden Court offers playful choreography (climbing over and through dance partners, men riding shoulders of men, and dancers hesitating before walking offstage) and classical choreography (partnered lifts and endless spins). William Boyce's symphonic excerpts exude sophistication and ambiance. Gene Moore's set and costumes morph magically, thanks to Jennifer Tipton's inspired lighting.