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Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance: Arden Court, Sea Lark, Esplanade

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Paul Taylor Dance Foundation

Paul Taylorís American Modern Dance
551 Grand Street
New York, NY, 10002

Phone: 212.431.5562
Fax: 212.966.5673

(Taylor American Modern Dance Website)

Paul Taylor, Artistic Director
Music Director, Donald York
Featuring the Paul Taylor Dance Company

Music Performed Live by:
Orchestra of St. Lukeís

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, 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

In Performances at the David H. Koch Theater
At Lincoln Center

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 11, 2015

(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 díHonneur 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 Taylorís American Modern Dance, is a sought after troupe and tours extensively around the globe.

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.

Tonightís live music, a William Boyce score, from Orchestra of St. Lukeís, gave this performance of Taylorís 1981 Arden Court, a new, fuller dimension. This complex choreography was riveting and top form, thanks to an ensemble of nine, three women and six men. In this first work for opening night, 2015 New York Season, under the new umbrella of Paul Taylorís American Modern Dance, the Company was like thoroughbreds rushing out of the gate. In requisite Taylor fashion, the dancers hold arms outstretched in joy, one leg straight up, in off-center balance. Donald York, the seasonís Conductor, kept the orchestra perfectly in sync with the motion. The peach/pink, shade-shifting rose on Gene Mooreís backdrop is always a signal that rapture is in the air, and the polka-dotted unitards add an aura of bubbly fizz. Dancers spin, ride each otherís shoulders, roll offstage, and partner in lifts. This is a classy work. Michael Trusnovec and James Samson were especially magnetic.

Sea Lark (NYC Premiere): Music by Francis Poulenc: Selections from ďLes BichesĒ, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Set and Costumes by Alex Katz, Lighting by James F. Ingalls, Performed by the Company.

This recent Taylor work, a NYC Premiere, scored to Poulencís Les Biches, was performed by an ensemble of ten. Alex Katzí giant, white-yellow sailboat rolls onstage, pushed by two men, with storybook, blue waves, complimented by the womenís white, two-piece costumes and menís pastel shirts, tucked into crisp white pants. The mood is playful, as is the choreography. George Smallwood lifts two women, Michael Apuzzo does hip-hop moves, Parisa Khobdeh does balletic moves, Aileen Roehl is one of the women in lifts, and Christina Lynch Markham is held upside down, legs in a V. This is a light work, perfectly fitting a breezy, energized, entertaining opening night.

Esplanade (1975): Music by Johann Sebastian Bach (Violin Concerto in E Major, Double Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor, ďLargoĒ & ďAllegroĒ), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by John Rawlings, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Krista Bennion Feeney and Naoko Tanaka, Violin Soloists, Performed by the Company.

No Taylor season is complete without his 1975 Esplanade. An ensemble of nine brought back Michael Trusnovec, James Samson, Michael Novak, Jamie Rae Walker, Parisa Khobdeh, Eran Bugge, and Laura Halzack, with Michelle Fleet and Heather McGinley introduced for this season. On this very stage, over the years, I have watched New York City Balletís Balanchine ballet, Double Concerto, choreographed in part to this same Bach Double Concerto for Two Violins in D Minor. Tonight was the first time I focused more on the music than on the choreography, as, finally, the music was live in the Taylor piece. Maestro York and his orchestra were right at home with Bach, and the company was ebullient. I also focused on Taylorís evocations of Graham gestures and formations (He was an early member of the Martha Graham troupe). As always the Taylor troupe dashed, rolled, ran, fell, leaped, and so on, all over the stage. Michelle Fleet, in her finest form, hopped, with two feet down, then bent under, over a floor line of dancers, then waved to the audience, as sheís left solo onstage.

Kudos to Paul Taylor, who always takes a bow with his Company, clapping for them.

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