PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY/Company B/Rush Hour
November 10, 2022
The Paul Taylor Dance Company’s Fall Season at Lincoln Center, entitled A NEW ERA, included historical masterpieces, commissioned works, as well as the Taylor canon.
Two dance pieces graced the stage: Larry Keigwin's Rush Hour and the crowd pleasing opener, Company B (1991). Costumed by long-time Taylor collaborator Santo Loquasto with lighting by Jennifer Tipton, Company B displayed the entire company depicting the wide range of conflicting emotions experienced during World War II to a soundtrack by the Andrew sisters. Taylor crafted ensemble, solo, duet, and mixed gender groupings that alluded to the lyrics -- all framed between the opening and ending musical selection "Bei Mir Bist du Schoen", an obscure Yiddish love song often translated as “To Me, You Are Beautiful.”
The relatively new company members were outstanding, especially featured soloists Alex Clayton and John Harnage. Twitching, leaping, turning, and jumping, Clayton animated "Tico Tico." Harnage's high energy knocked out "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy", a song that referenced the enthusiasm and naïveté of young soldiers going off to war, only to end up suddenly dropped from the air to the ground. In an upbeat ending to "Rum and Coca Cola," Madelyn Ho, flirtatiously teased and cavorted with the male cast casually let loose “on leave."
Sandwiched between the two dances, the Orchestra of St. Luke’sperformed George Gershwin’s 1924 master work "Rhapsody in Blue." Under the direction of David LaMarche, the musical interlude featured the gifted Conrad Tao seated at a grand piano onstage.
In its time, Gershwin’s piece inaugurated a new era in America's musical history, crossing between classical and popular music. Perhaps this inspired Michael Novak’s vision of “A NEW ERA” reminding audiences of the power of creativity in forms other than dance.
Larry Keigwin’s 2016 full company work, Rush Hour concluded the evening. Performed to an original musical score by Adam Crystal and played live by the Orchestra of St. Luke’s, it proved uplifting for the dancers. With costumes in shades of grey and black by Fritz Masten, and imaginative lighting beaming down by Clifton Taylor, Keigwin intertwined the dancers in a multitude of configurations.
Fleeting motion shifted forward to back, and side to side, with fast paced leaps and runs to the ever shifting somber to aggressive score. It suggested the literal pace of life found in the daily travels of city dwellers or perhaps the more existential rush to experience every moment to its fullest.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Mary Seidman