This past Thursday, I attended the Lincoln Centers Out of Doors performance series to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company (along with its second company, Taylor 2). When I attend dance performances, I’m always happy when there’s a large crowd – and this was certainly the case for this particular show. I arrived half an hour early, trail mix and water bottle in hand, and ended up sitting on a ledge surrounding all the chairs in order to get the best view possible. Most of the chairs near the front of the stage were already full, and the crowd kept piling in. I wasn’t too far away, and the angle from the ledges wasn’t too bad… and I avoided all the body heat of the chair crowd! While waiting for the show to begin, my roommate and I made friends with a fellow ledge sitter who offered to let us borrow his binoculars occasionally throughout the show, which was very exciting. This just goes to show, be nice to the people around you and they might even help you out!
As the performance began, with the help of the percussion and brass band known as Asphalt Orchestra, I ran into a classmate who informed me that a recent graduate from our school had just joined the Taylor 2 company – so we remained on the lookout (with the binocular assistance, of course) for his stage appearances. The two pieces Taylor 2 performed were classics – the abstract 3 Epitaphs and the beautiful Esplanade.
Then the original company took the stage to perform three works – Airs, Syzygy, and Company B. Airs, similar to Esplanade, was characterized by more flowing movements and classical music accompaniment, whereas Syzygy was a more erratic, abstract piece to synthetic music. The final work, Company B, is one of my favorite Taylor works – performed to the stylistic voicings of The Andrews Sisters, this piece integrates social dance with modern dance to create a fun piece with undertones of war drama.
Throughout this amazing performance, it was easy to pick out one of the leaving dancers – a short blonde by the name of Julie Tice. She is breathtaking in Taylor’s choreography, and she will be sorely missed – the flowers thrown and the standing ovation given at the end of the night showed just how much her artistry has been appreciated. The other company member retiring, Orion Duckstein, was also excellent along with the rest of the company, but Tice stood out throughout the night. It will be interesting to see how the new members of both the original company and Taylor 2 fit in – some of them have only been in rehearsal for two months, and already they are performing Taylor’s classic works and executing them well, which bodes well for the companies.
The night ended with the crowd singing Happy Birthday to Paul Taylor to celebrate his 80th – and I can’t imagine a better way to spend your birthday than seeing your company and work thrive. I can only hope that Taylor continues creating new works and training his company as he continues to age, because Thursday night’s performance was excellent proof that both he and his company are alive and kicking! So check out their future performances – both companies tour frequently, but also perform at colleges such as Adelphi and at New York City Center in late February.