PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY
March 18, 2012
Paul Taylor's work is rich, complex,
musical and provocative.
Opening with "Cloven Kingdom", the Paul Taylor Dance Company's fine performance echoed the first time I saw it performed by the Taylor dancers and the Joffrey Ballet.
Its signature wit and fun,is reflected in the mirrored headpieces and the dangling hands as the dancers
wiggle, shuffle, swoop and leap. There are port de bras that seem to bloom,
heralding the arrival of spring and creating a feeling of euphoria, as do
the colorful gowns for the women and dashing tuxedos for the men. The
percussive running of the men and the all male can-can stand out in the
ritual circles of the piece.
The world premiere of "House of Joy" displayed the theatrical, story telling
side of Mr. Taylor. In a run down neighborhood brothel, various "shady
ladies" hang out while the "clients" are introduced by their "procurers."
There is not much dancing and the characters are stock, from the two tall
beauties, to the sailor, to the aging prostitute in her stockings, red robe, and
bedroom slippers. It is a sketchy snapshot of despair.
When the curtain went up on "Big Bertha", the spectacular set and costumes
by Alec Sutherland stood out, creating a feeling nostalgia as well as a seedy
and sinister sensibility. From the moment the piece began, Amy Young as
Big Bertha (an automaton), held us in her thrall. This piece was crude in a
different way than "House of Joy," representing an earlier time in America,
as 'My Blue Heaven' and 'Take me out to the Ballgame' played. Michael
Trusnovec(Mr. B), Michelle Fleet(Mrs. B) and Eran Bugge (Miss B.) danced
their roles until over come perhaps by the influence of Big Bertha--ensuing in the
unthinkable sexual invasion of Miss B. by Mr. B. This was a piece of theater as relevant
and powerful today as it was in 1970, and utterly, spellbindingly horrific.
"Beloved Renegade," with "Gloria" by Francis Poulenc, closed the program
centering on the exquisite range and spiritual side of Mr. Trusnovec. With
subtle lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and soft muted pastel costumes by Santo
Loquasto, the piece reveals luscious dancing from all. There are iconic Taylor
moments; circled running with one arm extended, buoyant leaps, and an
elegant pas de deux for Laura Halzack and Mr. Trusnovec. Ending with
simple posed attitude that revolves, it brought the evening to an elegiac
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Deborah Wingert