PAUL TAYLOR DANCE CO. ARDEN COURT, SEA LARK, ESPLANADE
March 12, 2015
Paul Taylor Dance Company has launched its 60th anniversary season along with its new name - Paul
Taylor’s American Modern Dance. In the spirit of this new collective for modern dance masterworks -
new and old, his and others - the three week season will also feature the work of Limón Dance Company
and Shen Wei Dance Arts. .
His ever-mesmerizing “Arden Court” opens the second program of the season. The 1981 work is an airy journey through
various encounters and budding relationships that come to be through the swirling patterns that drive
the choreography. Before Gene Moore’s elegant soft pink rose splayed across the backdrop and amidst
William Boyce’s baroque symphonies, the dancers evolve into sprite-like creatures. The five men of the
ensemble are particularly memorable.
In this same vein, the iconic 1975 work “Esplanade” showcases Taylor’s talent. It’s a playful exploration
of running, pacing, walking, sliding, and builds in its intensity. Nearing the last moments of the work, the
dancers sprint across the stage one by one in an unrelenting series; they leap and slide onto the floor,
rolling up and off.
Curiously, between these two classics came the New York City premiere of “Sea Lark,” a work Taylor
created in October. Excerpts from Francis Poulenc’s energetic “Les Biches” are met by a neon-clad,
smiling-wearing ensemble on a boat adventure featuring spontaneous dance breaks. The work exudes a
youthful aire in its mimed interactions: jumping into the ocean, sitting aboard a sail boat that glides
across the stage, fits of hand-holding and chasing one another.
The movement remains fairly simple throughout, with an occasional showy lift or leap. The most
dynamic moments surface in a beach party dance scene with a few stepping forward to show off their
moves while the rest remain in a line. This line of onlookers provide a percussive element through their
clapping and barefoot foot tapping, and even a few shuffle hop steps.
The entire evening was presented with live music by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, under the direction of
Donald York. It was a fantastic treat to see Taylor’s work with this live accompaniment, a wonderful
upgrade from recent practice of taped recordings.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY – Jenny Thompson