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Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
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Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri Mar 14, 2003 8:55 am ]
Post subject:  Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003



UK TOUR (29 April – Saturday 24 May 2003)
The acclaimed Paul Taylor Dance Company is to embark on its first UK tour for nearly 25 years. The tour opens at Sadler’s Wells, London, on Tuesday 29 April and comes to an end at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre on 24 May. The tour is the first of its kind to be produced by The Dance Consortium, a group of 17 large scale theatres who have come together to promote international dance companies in the UK. A list of members is attached.

Paul Taylor ranks alongside Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham and George Balanchine as one of the world’s most distinguished dance-makers. Since establishing his company in 1954, he has been entertaining audiences around the world with his hugely varied repertoire. During the course of the UK tour the company will be performing six pieces, including the world premiere of In the Beginning (London only). The pieces being performed are:

Company B (music: songs by the Andrew Sisters, costumes: Santo Loquasto, lighting: Jennifer Tipton)

In the Beginning (music: Carl Orff, costumes: Santo Loquasto, lighting: Jennifer Tipton)

Offenbach Overtures (music: Jacques Offenbach, costumes: Santa Loquasto, lighting: Jennifer Tipton)

Promethean Fire (music: Johann Sebastian Bach, costumes: Santo Loquasto, lighting: Jennifer Tipton)

Roses (music: Richard Wagner & Heinrich Baermann, costumes: William Ivey Long, lighting: Jennifer Tipton)

The Word (music: David Israel, costumes: Santo Loquasto, lighting: Jennifer Tipton)

A tour schedule with details of which pieces are being performed where is attached.

To increase British dance audience’s knowledge of international dance, the Dance Consortium has created a website - – which is edited by Allen Robertson and Donald Hutera. The site is a new and exciting development for international dance in the UK, presenting a considerable amount of information about Paul Taylor Dance Company in particular and international dance in general, in an innovative, interactive and ‘real time’ way. The site has been made possible with funding from Arts Council England and the Arts Council of Scotland.

The tour is supported by Arts Council England.

<img src="" alt="" />
<small>Paul Taylor Dance Company in Promethean Fire; Photo by Lois Greenfield from the excellent PTDC website</small>


UK TOUR 2003:

Tue 29 – Sat 3 May LONDON Sadler’s Wells
Eves 7.30pm, Sat Mat 2.30pm Rosebery Avenue, London EC1R 4TN
Tickets £8 - £35 Box Office: 020 7863 8000
Programme 1: In the Beginning, Company B, Promethean Fire
Programme 2: Roses, The Word, Offenbach Overtures

Tue 6 & Wed 7 May HIGH WYCOMBE Swan Theatre
7.30pm St Mary Street, High Wycombe HP11 2XE
Tickets £10 - £19.50 Box Office: 01494 512000
Programme: Roses, The Word, Company B

Fri 9 & Sat 10 May BRIGHTON Dome
8.00pm,Special Family Mat (Sat) 2.30pm Church Street, Brighton BN1 1UE
Tickets £2.50 - £25 Box Office: 01273 709709
Programme: Offenbach Overtures, Company B, Promethean Fire

Wed 14 May NORTHAMPTON Derngate
7.30pm Guildhall Road, Northampton NN1 1DP
Tickets £12.50 - £16.50 Box Office: 01604 624811
Programme: Offenbach Overtures, Company B, Promethean Fire

Fri 16 & Sat 17 May NEWCASTLE Theatre Royal
Eves 7.30pm, Sat mat 2.30pm Grey Street, Newcastle upon Tyne NE1 4AG
Tickets £8.50 - £19.50 Box Office: 0870 905 5060
Programme: Roses, The Word, Company B

Tue 20 May SALFORD The Lowry
7.30pm Pier 8, Salford Quays, M5 2AZ
Tickets £10 - £18 Box Office: 0870 787 5790
Programme: Company B, The Word, Promethean Fire

Fri 23 & Sat 24 May EDINBURGH Festival Theatre
7.30pm 13/29 Nicolson St, Edinburgh EH8 9FT
Tickets £9 - £20 Box Office: 0131 529 6000
Friday’s Programme: Offenbach Overtures, The Word, Promethean Fire
Saturday’s Programme: Company B, Roses, Promethean Fire

<small>[ 16 February 2004, 07:08 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Emma Pegler [ Mon Apr 21, 2003 10:23 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Sadler's Wells and the Society for Dance Research present

at Sadler's Wells



Saturday 3 May: 10am - 1.30pm


10 - 10.45am: 50 years of Paul Taylor's choreography

10.45 - 11.30am: Paul Taylor Dance Company Today with four of its dancers

11.30 - 12pm: short break

12 - 12.45pm: Clement Crisp on Taylor Then and Now

12.45 - 1.30pm: Bettie de Jong, Rehearsal Director - Working with Paul Taylor

Tickets are £5 and available from the Sadler's Wells Ticket Office: 020 7863 8000

Author:  corrival [ Fri Apr 25, 2003 11:59 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

For those of you who have never seen PTDC now is the time. I saw PTDC at the Kennedy Center a couple of weeks ago, and one of the dances in particular is still haunting me... Promethean Fire. Perhaps the most stunning emotional impact I have experienced from a dance.

Author:  lampwick [ Fri Apr 25, 2003 12:10 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

I'll second that opinion. I saw them a few weeks ago at City Center in New York. Lisa Viola is one of the most subtly nuanced, and dynamic technicians I've ever seen. And a delight to watch. Every dancer had thier own unique style and personality on stage and looked as though they really enjoyed dancing together. High energy, great evening.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sat Apr 26, 2003 5:39 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Thanks a lot corrival and lampwick, your comments are much appreciated and under an agreement we have with the webmaster, I have copied your helpful words them onto this website, dealing with the tour in some detail:

Here is the direct link to your two pieces:

I plan to see both programmes next Saturday.

<small>[ 26 April 2003, 07:40 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Joanne [ Mon Apr 28, 2003 4:16 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Debra Craine interviews Paul Taylor in The Times.

PAUL TAYLOR LOVES to watch. The peculiarities of human nature are a constant source of inspiration and amusement to the 72-year-old American choreographer. He’s a self-professed loner who would rather lurk in the shadows than hog the spotlight, but he never misses a chance to check out the crowd. When we meet, I discover that he has spent the past few days in his Washington hotel watching the world go by.

<small>[ 06 May 2003, 03:39 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Emma Pegler [ Mon Apr 28, 2003 5:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times said of "Promethean Fire" that it was one of the best works by Taylor. I'm hearing so much about it that I worry I may be expecting too much!! (Like Christmas). I have never seen Taylor's company so I really looking forward to the experience.

Author:  monkeysraincoat [ Mon Apr 28, 2003 8:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

No matter how much you've read or heard (about Promethean Fire), you will not be prepared for how stunning, how visual and how powerfully this piece will affect you on every level. None of the build up or talk or reviews I had read before hand, prepared me for the actual experience. I had a lump in my throat and tears in my eyes watching it(in Washington). You need not worry about being disappointed. This is a masterpiece. And one you will likely remember for a very long time. Enjoy! :)

Author:  corrival [ Fri May 02, 2003 10:29 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Hi Emma, and anyone else out there who has recently seen PTDC:
Just wondering if you have seen Paul Taylor yet, if so, did it live up to the expectations? The reviews in the British press look pretty good.

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Fri May 02, 2003 1:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Paul Taylor
By Debra Craine for The Times

PAUL TAYLOR’S dances are an inspired, multifarious collection. Some are sweet, some are sour, some silly and some spectacularly beautiful. The two mixed programmes that his New York-based company bring to Sadler’s Wells this week give you the full measure of his extraordinary talent, a rich and proper showcase for one of the pioneers of American modern dance.

Taylor has been a choreographer for 50 years, and he’s still ploughing the furrow of narrative dance and wearing his heart on his sleeve. But he’s also, at 72, capable of mining the very core of dance, of reawakening the art form’s power to move and amaze us. He has done just that with his new Promethean Fire. Presented at the Wells on Tuesday night, this masterpiece of abstract dance is one of the most profoundly affecting creations London has seen in years.

click for more

Author:  Luciana Brett [ Fri May 02, 2003 2:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Sadler’s Wells, 29 April – 3 May 2003

by Luciana Brett

He’s been hailed as ‘a genius,’ ‘the reigning master of modern dance,’ the world’s greatest living choreographer.’

Trailing such ecstatic praise, it’s no wonder the American choreographer, Paul Taylor, was eagerly awaited at Sadlers Wells. But in the face of such adulation, so many years of dance and choreographic achievement, can one dare raise a question?

I, for one, was hard put to find the ‘genius’ in works like ‘Offenbach Overtures,’ ‘The Word’, or the classic, ‘Roses,’ all of which featured in Taylor’s Programme Two yesterday evening.

John O’Mahoney, interviewing Paul Taylor for the Guardian this month, revealingly described the choreographer’s work as "accessible modern dance". This is nearer the truth. Paul Taylor does appeal to a broad international audience, with works often categorised in terms of the ‘funny’ piece, the ‘tender’ piece, the ‘dramatic’ piece, or simply the ‘pure movement’ piece. But is this enough? Does this, as has been claimed, make it ‘ground-breaking modern dance?’

‘Roses,’ the first work in the evening’s triple bill, set to Wagner’s Siegfried Idyll and Heinrich Baermann’s Adagio for Clarinet and Strings, is described in the programme as ‘gorgeously romantic.’ Oddly, I found it lacked passion, or any display of zest for the movement. Each dancer remained painfully safe within their own set of actions, leaving us with no element of surprise. Sweeping arms, circular motifs, extensions and turns felt constrained, making each gesture look difficult, rather than boundless and free.

At times movement phrases appeared naïve and childlike, with couples doing roly-polys over each other, or one cartwheeling over the other’s extended leg, awkwardly breaking the fluidity of their previous movements.

Half way through ‘Roses’ a new couple were introduced, both dressed in white, she in a long dress, he in a pair of trousers and vest top (the others were dressed similarly but in black.) Here was an opportunity for a change in dynamic, a shift in rhythm, and extra spark in the couple’s relationship that was lacking in the others. But no, they had nothing new to offer, merely in joining the others at the dreary end.

Where ‘Roses’ seemed cold and unengaging, ‘The Word’ and ‘Offenbach Overtures,’ the latter an irreverent, simplistic spoof of the can-can, were lively and energetic.

‘The Word,’ featured the company in black breeches and braces, white shirts, ties and pulled-up socks, like school uniforms. Although the content remained somewhat obscure the movement was quite adventurous. The dancers were grounded and earthbound, almost animalistic. Driven by David Israel’s music, they would spring up from their knees to their feet in one swift motion, jerk their torsos, shift through low, squatting positions, clench their fists, flex their feet. The piece possessed a raw physicality, which maintained its intensity until the end.

Taylor’s choreography favours a strong, formulaic movement structure which tends to take on the character of a routine. He limits himself to either group unisons, canon (the same movement executed by each dancer in turn) or duets, usually performed by one pair at a time whilst the other dancers watch. Such an exposed formula generates an unstoppable momentum but creates little space for thought or the unexpected.

<small>[ 02 May 2003, 04:33 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Joanne [ Sun May 04, 2003 4:10 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Review from The Sunday Times.

Taylor is one of the giants of American modern dance, now 72, but still a prolific creator of astonishing range — from lyrical and poetic to savage and zany. The first of two Wells programmes opened with one of his best-known hits from 1991, Company B. This is a witty, nostalgic view of the 1940s, with a cast of bobbysoxers and their beaux to a series of gorgeous songs by the Andrews Sisters — but with a subtext about war.


And from The Observer.

In the Beginning , to music by Carl Orff, is based on the Genesis creation myth. Stern Jehovah (Andy LeBeau) looks on his work and finds it disgraceful. Adam and Eve, expelled from Eden, generate the human race. Their squabbling offspring learn to assist one another and God welcomes them back with open arms, a gleaming rainbow on the backdrop.


<small>[ 04 May 2003, 06:25 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Sun May 04, 2003 2:08 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Under an exchange agreement we have with WorldWideDanceUK, here are some comments from their website about Paul Taylor at Sadler's Wells:


Sandra_Sparrius 30 April 2003

Shame on all those members of the audience who left during the second interval! They missed Taylor and the Dance Company at their lyrical best. Promethean Fire was stunning in all respects with the only danger being that it could overshadow the other two items of the programme in the memory of the audience. Company B was performed effortlessly and with convincing emotion. There is a resonance here for all of us whilst there is a war anywhere in the world. I was left unsatisfied by In The Beginning: it seemed to tail off rather than end. Raucous laughter from a section of the auditorium also interfered with my engagement with the piece. Yes, the beginning was humourous but underscored by a darkness that made this continued laughter inappropriate. The performance by the London Musici was moving and dancers and musicians diplayed a wonderful synchronicity. In terms of changes, I would like a shorter interval between In the Beginning and Promethian Fire - the twenty minutes dissipated the flow of the programme for me.


Message posted by Catherine_Laurence 01 May 2003

I thought the performance was amazing! Its the first modern dance performance Ive seen. It was really, really really good. The second piece (The Word) was interesting - it was completely different to anything Ive seen. The third one (Offenbach Overtures) was really fun! The first one (Roses) was beautiful.


Message posted by Lorenzo_01 May 2003

I liked the combination of all three of the different pieces. It harmonised the entire evening. All three different pieces gelled.


Message posted by admin

I interviewed a couple of people after the show at adler's Wells (Programme 2 - Roses, The Word, Offenbach Overtures) and here's what they said:

Mrs Clack : The first piece was enjoyable and graceful, the second was a little difficult but the third was very accessible.

Douglas Brown : I enjoyed it rather more than last night because last night the choreography tended to be somewhat drilled, all doing it the same although the dancers were marvellous. But tonight was more varied and two items were fun which is always nice! A slight send up of classical ballet! I just enjoyed the whole thing and I go to alot of modern dance as well as classical.

Dolores : The last piece was wonderful!

Ian Walsh : It got stronger as it went on. I thought the first piecewas very well done but nothing overwhelming. I think the second piece was very Paul Taylor, it reminded me a lot of Speaking In Tongues It was similar but the third was a piece of fru fru but very well done. Wonderful!


Message posted by Zoe_Beattie 14 March 2003
2 Posts

I thought the first piece (Roses) was safe but pleasant and the second piece (The Word) was fun but I wasn't keen on the music. I didn't like Offenbach Overtures as I think you have to be very careful when taking the mickey out of another dance form - and I have to admit that I do love classical ballet, which it was sending up. However it provoked a strong reaction in me which is a good thing! I haven't seen much modern dance so its very interesting to go to Sadler's Wells. I thought generally all three pieces were very well lit.


Message posted by Lizzie_Dipple 01 May 2003

I think The Word was my favourite piece as it was very striking. It was fun but Im not so keen on the slapstick so it was fun but not too over the top. But Roses was also beautiful, it was very grateful and overall the whole evening was great fun and very interesting.

<small>[ 04 May 2003, 04:09 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>

Author:  Stuart Sweeney [ Mon May 05, 2003 5:42 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Paul Taylor Dance Company
By Judith Mackrell for The Guardian

When Paul Taylor makes a romantic gesture he doesn't stint. Roses, his 1985 piece for 10 lovers, is set (largely) to Wagner's Siegfried Idyll, its female dancers draped in long gowns and its choreography an undeviating 30-minute spin on the theme of courtship.

Being Taylor, though, the romance is not straightforward. Its cascade of duets is punctuated by images of uncertainty or pathos: couples reach tentatively to touch each other's beating or broken hearts, but sometimes their arms encircle only air. When they hit the top notes of passion, however, they turn almost raucous, men and women somersaulting over each other with reckless ecstasy. This play of different energies saves the piece from being just a pretty waft, though Taylor bungles its poise with a final overlong coda in which the lead couple dominate the stage in an adoring pas de deux and tilt the work into saccharine mode.

click for more


Paul Taylor
By Debra Craine for The Times

PAUL TAYLOR’S second programme at Sadler’s Wells wasn’t up to the high standard set by the first. The problem was a strange and sinister dance he calls The Word (1998). This is obviously heartfelt territory for the American choreographer, a dark cautionary tale about the evils of religion, but it doesn’t sit easily in a mixed bill.

With the dancers dressed (in Santo Loquasto’s imaginative costumes) like schoolboys (men and women alike), the need to conform is established before the choreography’s theme kicks in. A wild-haired woman (Lisa Viola), whose movements stream through the ensemble with charismatic malevolence, represents the “consuming fire” which crushes individualism whenever it rears its ugly head.

click for more

Author:  Emma Pegler [ Mon May 05, 2003 5:50 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003

Paul Taylor
Sadler’s Wells Theatre
29 April, 2003

Time magazine has called Paul Taylor “the reigning master of modern dance.” He received the Kennedy Center Honours in 1992 “for enhancing the lives of people around the world…” He was awarded France’s prestigious “Legion d’Honneur” in 2000. Even his autobiography “Private Domain” was nominated by the US National Book Critics’ Circle as the most distinguished biography of 1987. A legend in his own lifetime 72 year old Paul Taylor clearly is. And if those credentials were not sufficient to convince you of his greatness, a huge section of the audience on Tuesday evening was consciously audible in its effusive support for what was happening on stage. During the world premiere of “In The Beginning” – one of the three short pieces of Programme 1 – one lady was vehement in her determination that we should admire Taylor, so untamed was her laughter at the humour of the piece. I was well aware that I was in the presence of a great man.

I think I need to see more of the Company to get the point. I did enjoy myself but I came away with a feeling of overwhelming cosiness. It was all really rather nice. From what I had read, I had expected something radical and thoroughly modern. I don’t know exactly how that would have looked, but it is not my lasting impression of what I actually saw. Perhaps I had over-prepared myself and rather than being a wide-eyed virgin waiting for the unknown experience to happen, I had built up too many preconceptions and was bound to be disappointed.

“Company B” opened brilliantly and dramatically. The black silhouettes of the dancers are stark against the brightly lit back-cloth and as the cooing tones of the Andrews Sisters singing in harmonic unison grew louder, I felt a lump develop in my throat – nostalgia for an age I had never known. The boys and girls perkily Lindy Hop and swing, but there is a clever uneasiness portrayed on the margins of the stage as other dancers represent the threat of war and suffering. The dancing was competent but I have seen more convincing Lindy Hop performed by gifted amateurs at Oxford Street’s “100 Club” on a Monday night.

For a start none of the club members would insult the dance by wearing scuffed shoes. (The dancers’ white jazz shoes looked horribly dirty and over-used in comparison to their pristine costumes). Part of the problem is that the dancers were too balletic in their jumps and turns. The ladies seemed to hang in the air momentarily which meant that they were slightly off the beat when they landed. Lindy “aerials” are quick and agile – you’re up, then you’re down and then whisked off by your beau. “Company B” is all a bit too ‘preppy’ and needs more grounding, more bent knees, a lower centre of gravity in the execution of the moves and …. more swing. Except Michael Trusnovec got the point. He gave a very good account of himself as the not-so-handsome, bespectacled, but totally slick “Oh Johnny” who, in the words of the song, still manages to make himself irresistible to women.

“In The Beginning” is a recent commission by Houston Ballet. It is a humorous piece centred on the Book of Genesis. Humour in dance has to be very good to work. It is much harder to pull off than drama. This piece has “Funny” stamped over it in large letters and its Laurel and Hardy antics made me cringe. The pregnant Eve’s massive contractions produce full sized adults who launch themselves from behind the back-cloth and arrive between her legs. Not subtle. (But, to be fair, much of the audience was dissolved in giggles at this point, illustrating that humour doesn’t need to be subtle for everyone.) There is too much skipping and not enough dancing. I distracted myself by staring at the constantly evolving back-cloths - beautifully painted apple trees signifying creation, through to white doves on a clear blue sky.

I was relieved to get to “Promethean Fire.” Anna Kisselgoff of The New York Times has called the piece one of Taylor’s best. Again the opening is stunningly dramatic – the entire cast clad in plush black velvet unitards and bathed in a warm light. One can see why Taylor was as a young man employed as a window dresser at Tiffany’s and why Jennifer Tipton has been his lighting designer for thirty years. Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor couldn’t have been played better – the London Musici did a grand job with Taylor’s excellent choice of music. But the sum of the piece did not do justice to the opening. The choreography flows and progresses but lacks moments of stark drama to break the cosy flow and change the momentum of the piece. There is a great deal of running which is impressive and energetic but a waste of a dancer’s highly-tuned body, let alone of Bach. The piece is memorable for its open and close but less for its actual content.

I suspect I need to see it all again and starting from a blank page so that I discover Taylor for myself. Genius should speak for itself.

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