Posted in dance, fairytale, modern American dance, modern dance

Wit and whimsy

Profiles
Profiles

“Fairytales can come true,” as the song “Young At Heart” says. They also often have a grain of truth in them. For instance, Snow White is about vanity and the dislocations it creates.

In Paul Taylor’s hands, Snow White is a witty, whimsical and untidy tale.

The Wicked Stepmother (Sean Mahoney, who also plays the Prince) is put off by the answer her mirror mutters– it is not she but Snow White (Parisa Khobdeh) who is the fairest in the land. She sets about dispensing with her rival. The self-polishing poison apple (A Bad Apple, in Mr. Taylor’s cast list, and played by Heather McGinley) is clad all in red by costume designer Cynthia O’Neal, who has given Snow White the familiar dress of a Disney creation.

Snow-White_header1-300x168This Taylor creation was first danced in 1983, and features music specially composed by Donald York, the PTDC music director who is conducting the Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Sets are by David Gropman and lighting is by Jennifer Tipton. George Smallwood, James Samson, Michael Appuzzo, Robert Kleindorst, and Francisco Graciano are the active, sometime vengeful dwarfs out of central casting.

Along with Snow White on the program was also Profiles, a 1979 dance, which has a
sculptural quality. The music for this piece is also specially composed for it–this for a violin, cello and viola quartet by Ian Radzynski. The movement, like the costuming (by Gene Moore) bears resemblance to cut-out figures. Michael Trusanovec, Laura Halzack, Michelle Fleet, and Michael Novak performed.

Larry Keigwin’s Rush Hour reprised on the bill, with original music by Adam Crystal. The piece is inspired by the images of sculptor George Segal, and has some of the herky-jerky feel of the long trip home after a hard day’s work.

The 1982 Taylor dance, Mercuric Tidings is set to excerpts from Franz Schubert’s symphonies. The piece has a lovely and somewhat languid soul. It also requires a large cast, including Jamie Rae Walker, Madelyn Ho, Christina Lynch Markham, joining many of those seen earlier in the day.

For more information on the PTDC New York season, which continues through April 3rd, please visit the David H. Koch Theater website.

Posted in dance, Larry Keigwin premiere, modern dance, modern dance meets ballet, Paul Taylor, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, Paul Taylor Dance Company

Welcoming the newest dance to the family

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.

Promethan Fire also on the Gala rep. Photo by Paul B. Goode
Promethan Fire also on the Gala rep. Photo by Paul B. Goode

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.

Posted in avant garde, dance, love story, theater

Romance and Dance Just Around the Bend

Love is eccentric. It often erupts in or from unresolved disagreements and conflicts.

Some “lessons” about the messy nature of romance were witnessed first-hand by author Ellen Maddow in her role as a mediator in Brooklyn Civil Court.

Maddow applies what she learned to create the chaotic music-filled comedy, Burnished by Grief-A Romantic Comedy, at La MaMa’s first floor theater from January 22–February 7,  in which she investigates the symphonic beauty of cramped New York City life.

Burnished by Grief, written and composed by Maddow and directed by Paul Zimet, partners since 1974 in the Talking Band,  one of the city’s foremost avant-garde theaters.   La MaMa joins with Talking Band to present the world premiere of Burnished by Grief, an offbeat and disturbing romantic comedy.

DRUNKThe creative team—including Anna Kiraly (Set and Video Designer), Kiki Smith (Costume Designer), Lenore Doxsee (Lighting Designer), and Tim Schellenbaum (Sound Design) – will transform LaMaMa’s First Floor Theater into a prismatic and halucinatory Brooklyn with a backyard surrounded by peering neighbors and stationery bikes in the midst of the disarray of a traffic island.

Visit www.lamama.org to find out more about Burnished by Grief.

Love is a form of intoxication for some. LABAlive presents Drunkan Evening of Wine, Jewish Text Study, Art, Music, Theater and Imbibing at the 14th Street Y on January 21, explores the more traditional kinds of inebriation. LABA: A Laboratory for Jewish Culture presents this event in which wine is paired with scriptural text.

To find out more about LABA and Drunk, visit http://www.labajournal.com/drunk.

There are additional January off-Broadway “treats” at http://wp.me/p5jq0w-FA

Sometimes love and art marry. Bob Fosse, for instance, was not just influenced by Jack Cole, the legendary “inventor” of the theatrical jazz style of which Fosse, along with Jerome Robbins, Alvin Ailey, and Gower Champion, was a practitioner, he also married Cole’s assistant, Gwen Verdon.

From January 20 through February 4, MOMA presents a film (series) tribute to Jack Cole, All That Jack (Cole). Cole’s style of dance–combining elements from ethnic, ballet and popular dance idioms– is what we have come to  expect on stage and screen.

For a schedule, please visit the MOMA calendar.

Speaking of dance… and dance on film:

Movies by Movers will merge with The American Dance Festival’s International Screendance Festival to become ADF’s Movies by Movers. Directed by Cara
Hagan, ADF’s Movies by Movers will be a festival dedicated to the exploration and celebration of human movement in film and digital media. The festival will hold screenings in Durham, NC during ADF’s season and in Boone, NC in September.

 

Teach your children well:

Exposure to dance performances can be a formative experience for youngsters.

A new initiative by Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance (PTAMD) called the Tier 3: Arnhold Dance Education and Audience Development Initiative is a free program introducing New York City students K-12 to modern dance.  After its success as a pilot program last year, Tier 3 will invite New York City teachers, administrators, principals, students, and parents joined PTAMD to experience great works of modern dance at the highest standard of excellence—performed by amazing dancers, with live music, at one of the world’s greatest dance venues, free of charge to PTAMD’s annual New York Season at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in March.

Tier 3 will also make available a customized Study Guide that contains primary source material, critical thought provokers, and links to video documentation and will give teachers an opportunity to attend a Professional Development workshop to deepen their understanding of the modern dance genre so they can maximize the benefits of the performance component when following up in their classrooms.

About the (PTAMD) Spring season:
Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance opens its annual Season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center in New York, on March 16. (It runs through April 3.)

The prolific Paul Taylor presents his 143rd dance, Sullivaniana, and his 144th work, Dilly Dilly this spring.

Taylor Company Commissions, initiative Paul Taylor has undertaken to ensure that the vitality of modern dance continues, will feature commissioned world premieres of dances by Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkins.

To honor the Martha Graham Company’s 90th Anniversary, Paul Taylor chose to present her Diversion of Angels during the seven seasons he danced with the Martha Graham company beginning in 1955. Helping him oversee the production, to be staged by Blakeley White-McGuire and Tadej Brdnik, will be Linda Hodes, Taylor’s partner in Diversion of Angels. and who was the founding Director of Taylor 2 in 1993.

Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder, Donald McKayle’s 1959 signature work, depicting workers on a chain-gang, is another historical masterpiece that will be on the Season’s programs; Dayton Contemporary Dance Company will perform.

Music will be performed live by the renowned Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by long-time Taylor Music Director, Donald York.

To learn more about the PTAMD New York Season, please visit http://ptamd.org/LC2016/