The rites of spring tend to be worshipful of renewal, resumption and continuation. We are grateful to have as one of those rites, the Paul Taylor American Modern Dance spring at Lincoln Center.
Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) was on the bill for the centenial of the Stravinsky-Nijinsky collaboration in February 2013 when we last saw it.
It is an homage in the Paul Taylor mode, created as an operatic rendering of a Keystone- Kops-and-Krooks silent film. Paul Taylor playfully references the Nijinsky production for Diaghiliev’s Ballets Russe which caused a near riot for the brutality it displayed.
The Taylor version of Le Sacre… (The Rite of Spring) is for two pianos, and the dancers’ moves follow the urgency in the musical score with a very serious levity.
Songs from an era, like the ones used in Taylor’s Company B, set a mood and place for a given dance number. (BTW You can catch our personal all time favorite Taylor piece on March 16th and 23rd at 7p.m.)
In Black Tuesday, Paul Taylor kicks-off his dance piece about the Great Depression and its propellant great market crash with songs from the era. The Kennedy Center took a lead in commissioning this work from 2001, which is set to recorded versions of tunes like Irving Berlin’s “Slummin’ On Park Avenue,” and the better known Yip Harburg lyric “Brother Can You Spare a Dime.”
Paul Taylor renamed his dance enterprise as Paul Taylor American Modern Dance to fulfill dual objectives. On the one hand, the company aims to preserve and reincarnate classic pieces from the modern dance repertory and thus to keep them alive.
On the other, it commissions the creation of new works for that same repertory.
Doug Elkins received one such commission in 2016. The result is that he has choreographed The Weight of Smoke with and on the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Such collaboration is at the essence of what modern dance intends as a genre.
For a full schedule of the remaining performances in this 2017 Taylor Spring, please visit the Lincoln Center website.