PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY/Junction/3 Epitaphs
March 26, 2012
Early works by Paul Taylor puckered up next to later, larger pieces at the David H. Koch Theater. Primary colors pop in “Junction: of tranquility and fervor” (1961) set to a lively score by Johann Sebastian Bach and introducing a set and costumes by visual artist Alex Katz. Present are the open chests and swift strides and turns, but
arms tucked close to the torso make dancers resemble seals, gamely locomoting across the space in animalistic scoots.
A musical shift directs ears towards “the big Easy” in the mysterious, and shlumpy, “3 Epitaphs” (1956). Both funny and odd, five dancers totally encased in grey unitards sport one big, cyclopean reflective eye. Over the traditional strains of New Orleans funeral marching band, dancers’ torsos are weighted heavily over their hips. Chests clump around the waist, arms bent at the elbows, swinging in unions round and round to a plop. More swamp wildlife than human, it’s probably a perfect visual depiction of how revelers feel the day after Mardi Gras.
Bounding to the wonderfully jazzy sounds of Darius Milhaud’s La Creation du Monde, “House of Cards,” (1981) suggests a Statue of Liberty type matriarch shimmering in a silver dress by Cynthia O’Neal, surrounded by a group of revelers ticking off some easy footwork, and lighthearted social dances. Behind the performers, a painted scroll by Mimi Gross depicting items like a comfortable living room chair or old-fashioned radio imperceptibly rolls up.
The evening closed on the whirlpools of dance motion in another strong performance of “Mercuric Tidings.”
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis