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Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance: Snow White, Profiles, Rush Hour, Mercuric Tidings

- Onstage with the Dancers
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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 and Conductor, 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 / James F. Ingalls, Principal Lighting Designers
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, Michael Novak,
Heather McGinley, George Smallwood,
Christina Lynch Markham, Madelyn Ho

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

Dr. Roberta E. Zlokower
March 27, 2016 Matinee

(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.

Snow White (1983): Music specially composed by Donald York, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Cynthia O'Neal, Set by David Gropman, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Conductor: Donald York, Performed by Robert Kleinendorst, James Samson, Parisa Khobdeh, Sean Mahoney, Francisco Graciano, Michael Apuzzo, Heather McGinley, George Smallwood..

Talk about humor! This piece was hilarious, and I loved it. The Queen in this favorite fairy tale was a real queen, an all-male Sean Mahoney, sporting a cape and spindly, long red fingernails, then re-appearing as a witchier queen with green fingernails, and finally entering as the Prince, who prances with hand held high and mirror held higher. The Bad Apple is a woman in red, Snow White is beautiful, and the "five" Dwarfs are actually five male dancers, who squat and crawl to appear short and tumbly. These dwarfs are in shades of brown and pastels, for an endearing quality and re-enact the adoration of their adopted Snow White, as she sleeps from the poisoned apple, and as she awakes from the Prince's kiss. The dwarfs do athletic somersaults, backward cartwheels and leaps, and together become a bed for Snow White to lie down on. Donald Yorkís luscious, atonal score was performed live by Orchestra of St. Lukeís, conducted by the composer.

This is another campy work, with the mirror as a symbol of vanity and shallowness. The set by David. Gropman includes gold pillars and poles that frame the opening sequence and serve as the signature, cartoon motif that heralds this upbeat work. Mr. Mahoney gave magnificent and poised portrayals of the drag Queen and stiff Prince. Heather McGinley was adorable as the Bad Apple, tricked by the Queen into having her red arm badly bitten. Parisa Khobdeh and the five Dwarfs rounded out this satirical piece.

Profiles (1979): Music specially composed by Jan Radzynski, Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Gene Moore, Lighting by Mark Litvin, Conrad Harris, violin, Mayuki Fukuhara, violin, Louise Schulman, viola, Mairi Dorman-Phaneuf, cello, Performed by Michael Trusnovec, Laura Halzack, Eran Bugge, Michael Novak.

Two couples, Eran Bugge and Michael Novak, Laura Halzack and Michael Trusnovec, wear unitards, 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, performed by a string quartet, is eerie and riddled with dissonance, and the dancers use angular postures and intense affect to stretch the mood.

Rush Hour (World Premiere): Music specially composed by Adam Crystal, Choreography by Larry Keigwin, Assisted by Jaclyn Walsh, Costumes by Fritz Masten, Lighting by Clifton Taylor, Donald York: Conductor, Performed by the Company.

Adam Crystalís pulsating score was performed by the orchestra, as the Taylor Company once more incorporated an outside choreography, adhering to the guidelines of the umbrella organization, Paul Taylorís American Modern Dance. Larry Keigwin created Rush Hour, with rapid walking motifs, highly reminiscent of Robbinsí Glass Pieces, if it were on ginseng. The 16 dancers shift balance, shift partners, shift mood, and shift direction, just as Clifton Taylorís interesting lighting shifts in the moment. This was clearly not a Taylor work, in any fashion, but rather a highly abstract, large ensemble piece, non-thematic, to be experienced in the gestalt.

Mercuric Tidings (1982): Music by Franz Schubert (Excerpts from Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2), Choreography by Paul Taylor, Costumes by Gene Moore, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Donald York: Conductor, Performed by Michael Trusnovec, Laura Halzack, and the Company.

Mercuric Tidings is a pure and ecstatic work, in red shadings against a red backdrop, warm and transporting, athletic and airy. Mr. Taylor designed an extreme lightness, as dancers silently leap into partners' arms, with seeming effortlessness, the inherent silence as dramatic as the moving, visual image. The excerpts from Schubert's Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, performed by the orchestra (all of todayís matinee dances were to live music), generated swirling and soaring leaps and some of the most exquisite figures Mr. Taylor has conceived. Laura Halzack and Michael Trusnovec were powerful and flawless in their leads. This was a truly balletic performance, one that hints at Balanchineís symmetrical staging.

Jennifer Tipton is deserving of kudos for her incredible creativity with warm, glowing, and ever-changing lighting effects that allow the simplest of backdrops and theatrical spotlights to showcase this sensational Company.

Kudos to Paul Taylor.

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