Attending the Paul Taylor Company performance at City Center was the most exciting thing that happened to me all week. I went into the performance never having seen the company perform and left with a really good first impression.
My enthusiasm for the company’s performance is not only based on my newfound place as a fan of his work, but also on my discovery of the huge "college educated dancer" presence within the company. I'm currently working on my BFA in dance and seeing that more than half of the Taylor Company received a BFA or MFA before debuting with the company was inspirational for me as a student. As a college dancer, I am aware of the opportunities that come from moving into the professional world with a degree, but this is the first time that these beliefs have been confirmed with such an esteemed example. The best part is that the performance was great!
Taylor created this piece on New York City ballet over twenty years ago. In a review in the New York Times from 1989, Taylor commented on Danbury Mix saying that the piece is “a collage constructed entirely of steps, phrases and patterns from past Taylor dances...''.
Overall, the piece came across as poignant and witty. It is comprised of a very satirical look at American ideals. America herself is personified in the vivacious and charming statue of Miss Liberty.
The piece moves along quite naturally, and Taylor is a wizard of exits and entrances. I believe Paul Taylor deserves a title for mastering such a skill. He joins the ranks of other masters such as Sylvie Guillem, the port de bras wizard and Angel Corella, the grand allegro wizard. Now, Mr. Taylor is the composition wizard . . . no genius.
Private Domain, the name of Taylor’s published memoirs, takes place behind a scrim with thee large rectangular openings that allow the audience to see into the sensual world Taylor creates. With parts of the stage blocked out of the view of the audience, Taylor leaves so much to the imagination.
The dancers are costumed in lingerie that accentuates their lines and shapes while partnering in the naturally strung-together duets and trios. The dancers mastered moving their bodies with a high level of purpose and presence. The sexual energy onstage was so intense that it made the over-fifty matinee crowd giggle with embarrassment. The muffled laughs of patrons my grandparents' age was worth the price of admission.
The evening ended with Taylor’s Arden Court. Set to a baroque concerto, the overture was sure to give audience members Balanchine flashbacks. There were phrases that seemed like they could have been evolutions of Mr. B’s composition and formation patterns, but what choreographer does not influence another?
That’s what is the most exciting part of dance today. Constantly, there are artists building upon the artistic landscape established by the artists of the past, and Paul Taylor has done a fine job of this.
Photography by Tom Caravaglia
iDANZ Critix Corner
Official Dance Review by Antoine Lee
Editor: Adrienne Jean Fisher
Performance: Paul Taylor Dance Company
Choreography: Paul Taylor
Venue: City Center, New York City
Performance Date: Sunday, March 1, 2009
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