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Wendy Goldberg
Perfect Programs
Performance Reviews
Paul Taylor Dance Company
United States
New York
Purchase, NY

Trifecta of Triumph: Paul Taylor at Purchase - Mercurial Tidings, Last Look, Beloved Renegade

by Wendy Goldberg
May 9, 2009
Purchase, NY

Featured Dance Company:

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

Birth, life's struggles, and rebirth flourish in this finely wrought trio by Paul Taylor. Mercurial Tidings, a visual feast of joyous genesis, gives way to Last Look, a tortured drama. Lastly, Beloved Renegade, a tribute to Walt Whitman, resolves the dilemmas posed by the Last Look, rising with phoenix like transformation.

The program begins with the jubilant Mercurial Tidings. The dancers, swathed in undersea royal blue, undulating with coral stripes, dart about the stage like flashy fluorescent fish. They seem to float upon the lyrical music, excerpts from Symphonies Nos. 1 and 2, by Schubert.

Laser like leaps, whirling circles, and fluctuating patterns of dancers in fluid flight conjure up images of Mercury, the winged messenger. Gentle arabesques, slow hip lifts and turns, and quick little steps echo the rhythm of the tides and hint at the teeming life beneath the sonorous surface. Sonnet like in its classical form, Mercurial Tidings is resplendent with the joy of birth, and the hope and promise of new beginnings.

The second piece, the Last Look, is as dark as the first was light. The struggle to find, and define one's self as unique from the masses, is fraught with futility. It begins with the dancers centerstage, in a massive heap…like raw, torn clay…randomly discarded. The stage landscape is sliced with thin, tall mirrors, which magnify the convoluted horror.

Individuals try to separate from this deadening mass, with agonizing, tortured lunges, and jerky, jagged moves, as if being manipulated by a cruel puppeteer, only to be sucked back hopelessly, to the massive center.

Michael Trusnovic plays the central figure who desperatley tries to break free, with the heightened depth and sensitivity of an intuitive actor, as well as a superb dancer. Others try to follow, all with frenetic, frantic, jangly movements that shatter the space into smithereens. He turns towards a woman…as they try to connect, they contract apart…he pulls her in….then flings her out…and she falls.

Incessant cymbols accompany frenzied shaking, and wild turns. The music and movement reaches a crescendo of agitation as the dancers collide, and flail about with catastrophic eruptions.

Michael Trusnovic slows down, and discovers himself in one of the mirrors, to his own astonishment. He tries to move differently, with more purpose and fluidity, to see what he can do, still being sabotaged by unseen hands. He comes back to the mirror and stares at himself, like his reflection is a cage that he will never escape…and falls to the ground, defeated. Everyone climbs on top of him, and returns to the original, massive heap.

After the bountiful promise of birth, the futile struggle to be and love oneself leaves us with an aching dilemma. Paul Taylor's third work, Beloved Renegade, carves a path towards understanding and transformation.

Michael Trusnovic, in white, witnesses the Whitmanesque procession of humanity. With empathy, he does engage, but he possesses the imbued wisdom of the observer. He sees the wounded crawl and hobble across the stage, and moves towards them. He embraces, kisses, and lifts the wounded on his back. As he moves back and forth from observing to engaging, we understand that we are also witnesses…we are observing his memory, and filling ours simultaneously.

He is pulled towards a woman helping her wounded beloved; he watches a love duet with keen intrest; he is attracted to a woman; then later plants a kiss on a man. He is pulled towards the group, then detaches to observe, transfixed in a luminous cocoon.

Laura Halzck enters, exquisitely playing his Muse, a mythical, mystical creature of immortal srtength and beauty. She turns slowly, then cradles him, as he worships her. She lifts him, and pulls him to her breast, then he lifts her. He moves back to the group, who are in a circle formation, arms aloft, like prayerful tree boughs.

Suddenly Michael Trusnovic soars through the air towards Laura Halzack. She turns slowly, in an aery arabesque, whose diaphanous delicacy is underscored with diamond like deliberation. He lands supine, at her feet, transcending death.

The transformation is complete. The creative process enables us to deal with suffering on a personal and grand scale. Through memory, and our Muse, mankind will transcend and triumph, as Paul Taylor did tonight.
Paul Taylor Dance Company's Michael Trusnovec, Julie Tice and Orion Duckstein in <i>Beloved Renegade</i>

Paul Taylor Dance Company's Michael Trusnovec, Julie Tice and Orion Duckstein in Beloved Renegade

Photo © & courtesy of Wiley Price

Paul Taylor Dance Company's Michael Trusnovec and Laura Halzack in <i>Beloved Renegade</i>

Paul Taylor Dance Company's Michael Trusnovec and Laura Halzack in Beloved Renegade

Photo © & courtesy of Tom Caravaglia

Paul Taylor Dance Company's Michael Trusnovec and Amy Young in <i>Mercuric Tidings</i>

Paul Taylor Dance Company's Michael Trusnovec and Amy Young in Mercuric Tidings

Photo © & courtesy of Paul B. Goode

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