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BWW Review: Celebrating the Past and Future of PAUL TAYLOR AMERICAN MODERN DANCE

This weekend, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance (PTAMD) concluded its 2nd season at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center with both old and new choreography. Since the company made its shift from their former name, Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2014, Mr. Taylor has developed a new initiative: To present his own classics and premieres, while presenting great works in the history of modern dance and outstanding works by today's leading choreographers. Another integral part of Mr. Taylor's vision is for the dances to be accompanied by live music, thus sparking the partnerships with the renowned Orchestra of St. Luke's. This particular season seems to be just the beginning of preserving not only his legacy, but the essence of American modern dance.

The evening opened with a favorite piece entitled Polaris. Choreographed by Mr. Taylor in 1976, it continues to amaze audiences today. The work showcases the dancers as they move around and within a large metallic cube designed by Alex Katz. I loved this piece as it clearly demonstrates the choreographic genius of Mr. Taylor! The dance was divided into two parts with the second group performing essentially the same movements as the first. The opening section was bright, light and airy as the dancers moved effortlessly across the stage. The second part was a bit darker, the music was more mysterious, and the movements became sharper and more grounded. Although the choreography was the same, the intention was different. It shows how you can take a movement study and play with the elements of dance (time, space, weight, energy) and create a totally different piece. Bravo!

Next was the world premiere of Rush Hour, a new work by Larry Keigwin. This put into motion part of Mr. Taylor's vision to present works by today's leading choreographers. What a great dance! There was so much happening on the stage that it kept your eyes moving. Such a crowd pleaser! The movements showed how talented and technical these dancers are. I loved the use of lighting and fog on the stage which gave the dance great dimension. The momentum was so fast that it was all very exciting. At the end, the audience roared as they all rose to their feet! This work is different for the company, but it is definitely expanding the repertoire and widening the definition of what American modern dance is.

As a dance enthusiast, I feel there are certain pieces that are classics that everyone should see and Esplanade is one of them! First performed in 1975, Mr. Taylor was inspired to create this masterpiece using pedestrian movements such as standing, walking, running, sliding, and falling. It shows that dance doesn't have to be complex, but rather can be simple. The dancers were flawless as the jumps wowed the audience. And what athleticism! It was great and I loved it. This is definitely a piece to see if you haven't already.

PTAMD is an astounding company, with remarkable choreography, breathtaking dancers, and amazing artistic leadership in Mr. Taylor.

Photo Credit: Paul Goode

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