Posted in dance making, David H Koch Theater, Lincoln Center, modern American dance, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor Dance Company

The Taylor Spring is Here (At Last)

Michelle Fleet and Robert Kleinendorst in “A Field of Grass”  
choreograhped by Paul Taylor, set to songs by
Harry Nilsson with costumes by Santo Loquasto and
lighing by Jennifer Tipton. First performed in 1993.
Photo by Paul B. Goode

It’s spring– at least it is a Paul Taylor Dance Company spring. The weather outside the David H. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center, where the season lasts from March 11th through 30th, may still be iffy, but you can count on the warmth and good humor of PTDC to welcome you once inside.

Poster for “Airs” by Paul B. Goode.

Paul Taylor’s vision is often edgy and a bit cockeyed, but it is always intelligent and interesting. For Paul Taylor, dance is social commentary or sometimes just social observation. He is often caustic, sometimes pointedly so, sometimes more genially. Paul Taylor sets the ordinary askew in his little jewels of invention.
His sharp insight into the human condition was well on display in the weekend programs we saw.

“Gossamer Gallants” took a place as a favorite when it first presented in 2011. This weekend, it had competition from a new work, that is new to me,  “A Field of Grass,” first performed in 1993. In the interests of transparency, it is important to reveal that this reviewer has many favorites in the PTDC repertoire– from “Company B” to the transcendent “Aureole,” and on and on. “A Field of Grass” just happens to be a proximate fave.

Photo by Tom Caravaglia.

Leading a hippie circle– yes it is that kind of grass– that includes the outstanding Michelle Fleet, Robert Kleinendorst goes from joy to a little bit of a bummer and back again in “A Field of Grass.” The lively songs of Harry Nilsson accompany the ensemble, which on this occasion also included the splendid Aileen Roehl, Sean Mahoney, Francisco Graciano, Heather McGinley and Christina Lynch Markham.

Photo by Paul B. Goode

For “Sunset,” set to Edward Elgar’s Serenade for Strings and Elegy for Strings, the mood is appropriately more elegiac. The cast puts aside its bell bottoms (designed by santo Loquasto for “A Field of Grass”) and trades them in for shirtwaists and crisp khakis (set and costumes designed by Alex Katz.)
Both dances are more balletic than we’ve come to expect from Paul Taylor, and very beautiful to watch. In “Sunset,” the men’s movements have a Gene Kelly quality.

Photo by Paul B. Goode

“Airs,” a classic out of the PTDC repertoire first performed in 1978,  is danced to Handel. It’s formality is belied by the the short gowns and leotards worn by the men and their bare chests (costumes by Gene Moore.) On the same bill, “Dust,” set to Francis Poulenc’s Concert Champetre, is amusing and lively, but the pièce de résistance on this day’s program is “Piazzolla Caldera” (1997).

“Piazzolla Caldera” breaks down the tango. There is the tango for one, a solo that seems impossibly sad in the context of this very sexy dance. A same sex tango relies heavily on horseplay and a tango a trois plays up the aggression that is also germaine to the genre.The music is by Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshaky with costumes by Santo Loquasto.

Going forward into the searon, you can see “Gossamer Gallants” on March 22nd at 8pm with “Sunset” and on March 29th at 2pm with other works. “Piazzolla Caldera” reappears on March 21st at 8pm, and with “Dust” on March 30th at 6pm. “A Field of Grass” is on the program on March 26th at 6pm. and “Airs” repeats on the March 29th performance at 8pm.

For more information on Paul Taylor Dance Company, visit www.ptdc.org. For a schedule of the Spring season, visit the David H. Koch Theatere website.

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For an opinionated woman such as I, blogging is an excellent outlet. This is one of many fori that I use to bloviate. Enjoy! Comment on my commentary.

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