Posted in modern American dance

Paul Taylor, America’s Modern Dance-maker

Ruminations on a wide variety of subjects is the Taylor imprimatur.

"Sea Lark" had its NYC premiere on March 11, 2015.
“Sea Lark” had its NYC premiere on March 11, 2015.

These musings in dance, such as Syzygy, which is defined as the almost straight-line configuration of three or more celestial bodies, can be happy or dark.  Syzygy, as it happens is light-hearted, but nothing is strictly linear about this heavenly piece.

Jaunty and nautical, with a sailboat for its centerpiece, this new work by Paul Taylor is indeed a Sea Lark.

I expected sandpipers, but got a romp on the waters. Sea Lark had its world premiere in 2014, and its first NYC outing on March 11th at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, where the season continues through March 29th.

For Paul Taylor- the swimmer turned dancer- Sea Lark is an apt addition to a brilliantly diverse repertoire. This is another upbeat and sunny modern dance, set to selections from Francis Poulenc’s “Les Biches.” The colorful costumes and set are by Alex Katz.

Performed to recordings of the WWII canon of the Andrews Singers, "Company B" has energy, and an element of nostalgia.
Performed to recordings of the WWII canon of the Andrews Singers, “Company B” has energy, and an element of nostalgia.

Company B, set to songs from WWII sung by the Andrews Sisters, has a dark side to its sunshine, on the other hand. War takes its toll on us, even if we dance and smile through it. This work is a personal favorite, with its “Rum and Coca Cola,” danced by Eran Bugge and the male cast, section at the top of the list. The dance has many layers and reveals more of them with each viewing.

(Syzygy and Company B are reviewed from the 2012 season, here.)
The costumes by Santo Loquasto are neat, pressed and very 1940s-forward.

Except for Company B on the weekend’s programs we witnessed, the dances were all accompanied by live music performed by Orchestra of St. Luke’s, with Pablo Heras-Casado as its principal conductor. The Paul Taylor Dance Company is under the musical direction of Donald York. The live music added a full-throated sophistication to the proceedings.

Cloven Kingdom 3Cloven Kingdom was among the dances that benefited greatly from the live orchestra backing it.

Cloven Kingdom discloses the beast beneath the white tie and tails. The ladies come in dancing the sacred and the profane– working jazzy club alongside their more classic movements.

A Paul Taylor dance is like no other, and each is an entity onto itself. His dances, other than being American and modern are uncategorizable.

His Eventide has the feeling of an homage to Agnes De Mille. It’s an elegant portrayal of life in farm country; in the darkening gloom of dusk, the dancers follow the movements of the Vaughan Williams Suite for Viola and Orchestra and Hymn-Tune Prelude 1 in fluid succession. (Maureen Gallagher is the viola soloist on Eventide.) The work is languid and romantic.

The beautifully executed Brandenburgs demonstrate clean lines and balletic movement. Set to Johan Sebastian Bach’s Brandenburg Concertos #6 (parts 1 & 2) and #3, the dance is stylized and lovely.

For more information and tickets for the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance season, please visit and click-through to Lincoln Center tickets.


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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