BWW Review: Rocking the Park with PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY

BWW Review: Rocking the Park with PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY

BWW Review: Rocking the Park with PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY

On the evening of July 28, 2017, as part of the Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival, Paul Taylor Dance Company (PTDC) with special guests DUCHESS and Vuyo Sotashe performed at the Damrosch Park Bandshell. It was quite the popular event as people lined up down the block and around the corner to see the anticipated show. It was a full house as pretty much every seat was taken! But, I could see why so many folks came out. It was a nice night, not too hot, not too humid, with a gentle breeze. The perfect night to be out and enjoy a show.

The evening opened with the sounds of the female vocal trio, DUCHESS. This New York based singing group features the voices of Amy Cervini, Hilary Gardner and Melissa Stylianou. They are known for their sweet-toned harmony, sense of humor and insouciant charm. They were joined by special guest Vuyo Sotashe- a rising South African jazz singer. I have to say their voices were beautiful. I always appreciate good talent, and that they all have.

The program continued with PTDC and the signature piece Airs by Mr. Taylor himself. With music by Handel, the movement showcases and comments on different themes such as relationships, romance and spirituality. I loved this dance! It was absolutely beautiful. The dancers moved with such grace across the stage. I particularly liked the duet sections. And you can't forget the amazing ability of Mr. Taylor to choreograph such masterpieces. No wonder he is known as one of the great American modern dance choreographers of all time.

The show concluded with the ever popular dance, Company B. Set in the 1940s as our country was entering World War II, Mr. Taylor focuses on the dualities of the time. Many young fun-loving couples represented by different swing dances such as the lindy, jitterbug, and polka grasping for happiness while shadowy figures in the background represent fallen soldiers. It showcases the realities of war on our nation. Usually, this number is performed to the hit songs of the Andrews Sisters. But tonight, it was accompanied live by the lovely voices of DUCHESS and their musicians. I love the use of storytelling and light comedy throughout the piece. It is truly a crowd favorite as you could hear the cheers, claps, and whistles throughout the park. In the end, the crowd roared as company dancer Francisco Graciano (who is best known for his role in "Tico-Tico" in Company B) received a heartfelt standing ovation with flowers thrown and presented to him on stage.

What a fabulous performance by DUCHESS and of course PTDC!

Lincoln Center Out of Doors festival celebrates its 47th year, with a diverse range of music, dance, spoken word and family events. The festival continues through August 13th with programs from Bollywood, classical music, hip hop dance, and world percussive rhythms from the Caribbean, Japanese, African and Native American traditions. For more information and to view the full schedule, visit their website at


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Caryn Cooper Caryn Cooper is an arts administrator, educator and performer from Long Island, NY. She began her dance training at a young age studying ballet in the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) technique and other dance forms such as tap, jazz, hip hop, modern and West African. She has had the opportunity to perform at various venues in the Greater New York City Area including, Radio City Music Hall, Tilles Center for the Performing Arts, the 92Y, Ailey CitiGroup Theater, Central Park, and The Wild Project. Administratively, she has worked for a number of arts organizations including Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Ballet Hispanico, and the New York City Center. Currently at Flushing Council on Culture and the Arts, she works to plan arts education programs for schools and seniors in underserved communities throughout Queens and the New York City Metropolitan area. Caryn is currently a Moving for Life Certified Instructor (MFLCI) where she uses dance to help breast cancer recovery patients and those dealing with pain caused by chronic illnesses. She is currently pursuing a certification as a BodyMind Dancing (BMD) Instructor, under the direction of Dr. Martha Eddy, to guide students as they reflect and learn about the 3-dimenionality and repatterning of the body. Caryn is a member of Americans for the Arts, the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO), the New York State Dance Education Association (NYSDEA), and sits on the Young Professionals Committee of The Possibility Project and the Board of Trustees for Moving for Life, Inc. She is also a Contributing writer for BroadwayWorld Dance. She is the proud recipient of the 2016 Field Diversity Award and the 2017 Jessica Wilt Memorial Scholarship through the Americans for the Arts.