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Paul Taylor Dance Company: Brandenburgs, Brief Encounters, Also Playing

by Wendy Goldberg
March 5, 2010
New York City Center
130 West 56th Street
(Audience Entrance is on West 55th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
(Entrance for Studios and Offices is on West 56th Street between 6th and 7th Avenues)
New York, NY 10019
212.247.0430

Featured Dance Company:

Paul Taylor Dance Company
Paul Taylor Dance Company (office)
552 Broadway
New York, NY 10012
212 431 5562
www.ptdc.org

The three offerings for the Gala performance exhibited the wide spectrum and rich palette of Paul Taylor's work. The audience was illuminated and entertained with lingering love, light flightiness, and lampooning spoof.

Brandenburgs, choreographed with acute sensitivity to Bach's music and contrapuntal style, highlighted five men and four women, twirling merrily in a circle before separating into smaller groupings by lithely leaping with grace and ease.

The men swallowed the space like dolphins soaring through the airy waves, as the women intertwined like a flowery maypole, all with impeccable classical technique.The men and women came together with outstretched arms, and love duets ensued with arabesques, formal lifts with a modern tinge, and vigorous, meteoric ascending through the full space.

Michael Trusnovic, playing a character who flowed between the men and women, sometimes gluing them together, then leading the men, and engaging in more intimate love duets with the women, seemed to be the alter ego for the choreographer himself.

Brief Encounters gave the dancers much freedom of movement, with more modern technique, and a flirty flightiness that required lightning sharp pairings and partings. The slow movement was pitch perfect to the slow, low bass section of the Debussy, while the chasing, teasing,and flinging in and out of each others' orbits leant a note of truth to the work.

Also Playing, the fun buffet of vaudeville routines began with a great Greek motif arch under which the beautiful ballerinas in white began with a sculptural pose and morphed into a minor Zeigfield fiasco. The acts came on fast and furious, with hilarity and faux pas the order of the day.

Replete with a dancer dressed as a horse (hoofer) doing tap, women with silly, daisy head gear clumping into clumsy poses, girls in white, puffy skirts which kept falling off, and men in a random marching band headed nowhere, the acts changed quirkily quickly.

A dancer in a black corset slinkily took off her long, silk gloves while a ballerina in white distracted as a dying swan who flopped up & down in phony death throes mourned by three women in black veils who fluttered foolishly in the background.

An intriguing gypsy lady playing a mean tambourine attacked two men with verve and swishing skirts. Men in Egyptian costume cavorted into awkward hieroglyphic poses, followed by a scintillating female bull fighter ravaging three scared white male bulls who whimpered and cringed, in between playing patty cake.

A scratchy sound of a record signaled each new act and the grand finale was a patriotic, out of step march with the entire cast flag waving, stealing solos from each other.

As the lights dimmed, the cleaning man with the broom, the continual presence in the background, did a duet with his broom a la Astaire, showing more feeling and technique than the whole gaggle. Once again, the character who is part but very much apart, had the final word.
Annmaria Mazzini with Orion Duckstein, Jeffrey Smith and Michael Apuzzo in the Paul Taylor Dance Company's 'Also Playing'

Annmaria Mazzini with Orion Duckstein, Jeffrey Smith and Michael Apuzzo in the Paul Taylor Dance Company's "Also Playing"

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Caravaglia


Amy Young and Francisco Graciano in the Paul Taylor Dance Company's 'Brief Encounters'

Amy Young and Francisco Graciano in the Paul Taylor Dance Company's "Brief Encounters"

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Caravaglia

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