A new Paul Taylor American Modern Dance season also means a new dance or two or, this year, four. Two are the creation of Paul Taylor , bringing his oeuvre to 144, and two are by choreographers he has commissioned. These collaborations in keeping modern dance vibrant are part of the PTAMD mandate.
Paul Taylor Dance Company sprung into its New York season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on March 15th. It will stay through the April 3rd matinee. During this season, also in keeping with the mandate to hono, celebrate and preserve modern dance, PTAMD is presenting Martha Graham’s Diversion of Angels and Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder. The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will perform McKayle’s 20th Century masterpiece.
At the Gala last evening, Paul Taylor’s 143rd dance, Sullivaniana got its first New York showing. The guest choreographers in the Taylor Company Commissions initiative for the season are Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkin. Keigwin’s work Rush Hour received its world premiere last night, also danced by PTDC. The dancing was accompanied by live music from the Orchestra of St. Luke’s under Donald York’s baton in the Keigwin piece and Sullivaniana was conducted by Tong Chen.
Sullivaniana, by the way, was danced to Sir Arthur Sullivan’s overtures from Iolanthe, Pirates of Penzance and Patience. With the ladies costumed as music hall dancers in high heels and colorful frocks, and the gents attired in equally colorful window-pane suits appropriate to the mid to late 1800’s by Santo Loquasto who also designed a set to look like a music hall stage for the piece, Sullivaniana is alive with duets. At one point, Taylor brings all ten of the cast together under Sullivan’s “Hail hail, the gang’s all here;” at another they miss each other entirely as they pass on the stage. As is usual in a Taylor work, there is plenty of wit in Sullivaniana.
While the Sullivaniana cast are clad in vaudevillian trappings, those in Rush Hour wear haute workout gear (by Fritz Masten) and run about barefoot. The 16 dancers occupying the space, often act in pairs, mimicking each other’s moves. Rush Hour is a mixture of austere and lively, with music composed for the Keigwin piece by Adam Crystal that alternates speedy passages with leisurely ones; it’s as if once the action is slowed down, it refires again. Our only other experience of Larry Keigwin was in a Fall For Dance program years ago; a couple of more viewings of Rush Hour should help solidify impressions.
For more information on the spring season of Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, please visit the LC website.