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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 6:47 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Paul Taylor Dance Company – Programme 1 at Sadler’s Wells, matinee, May 3rd 2003: A few quick thoughts.

I enjoyed the programme that Paul Taylor brought to Sadler's Wells a couple of years ago, but this time I have to say that overall I was disappointed. "Company B" from 1991, started strongly, but there was a law of diminishing returns for me with the dance based on popular styles of the period, despite the skillful crafting of the movement. A very experienced dance-goer told me that they had seen the work performed by the Company with more conviction. In addition, the fundamentally light manner, with occasional melancholy overtones, troubled me for a work set in time of war. However, on reflection, perhaps that is what Taylor is trying to say - namely that at the time of its making, the citizens staying in the US had never experienced the terror of war seen by those in the cities of Hiroshima, Dresden or London.

"In the Beginning" plain didn't work for me. From the thin orchestration of songs from "Carmina Burana", with the vocal lines played on instruments, to the quirky, but dull steps and unfunny jokes, this has little to commend it. No one can come up up trumps every time and I suspect that this new piece will soon be back in the box.

However, "Promethean Fire" from 2002 shows that Taylor can still produce dance of high quality. The ensemble sections that open and close the work have striking tableaux, as shown in the image above and there is a strong flow to the movement. A central duet for Lisa Viola and Patrick Corbin has much emotional content and a spectacular jump by Viola into a fish dive. Interestingly, symmetry dominates the work, which one would normally associate with the 19th rather than the 20th or 21st centuries, especially in Modern Dance. Nevertheless, Taylor manages to put a new twist on this classical dance device.

The newspaper reviews suggest that the second programme, which I didn’t see, was less interesting than this one. Thus, on the basis of my previous experience and "Promethean Fire", I will certainly see the Company next time they are in London, but I will hope for more consistent quality in the pieces selected.

<small>[ 05 May 2003, 12:49 PM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 7:09 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Here are some useful links to the WorldWideDance site on the Paul Taylor Dance Company:

<img src="http://www.worldwidedanceuk.com/image_library/blog/1_AndyLebeau_Thumb.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Andrew LeBeau</small>

Andrew has started a diary for the UK tour and you can read all about it here.

Here is the full schedule for the tour with useful notes about the works. I wonder why these weren't included in the programme.

An interview by Allen Robertson with Paul Taylor

More pieces will be added over the coming weeks, so it will be well worth visiting the site again.


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 05, 2003 10:33 am 
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Location: Seattle, WA USA
It's been interesting to read all the reactions and reviews. I must say that as far as the programming, there really appears to be a good range of lighter, frothy pieces ("Roses") and the newer, more dramatic works.."Promeathean Fire", for example. Although I have not seen the newer works, they sound like they refer to some of Taylor's darker, more introspective, earlier works from the 80s. I am thinking here of "Last Look" and "Speaking in Tongues". I look forward to reading more from London! ;)


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 3:25 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Paul Taylor Dance Company, Sadler's Wells, London, ***
By Nadine Meisner for The Independent

Every once in a while, Paul Taylor makes one of his biting anthropological pieces – pieces that are dark and weird, but have you obsessively turning them over in your mind long after. The Word belongs to the same category as Taylor's popular Speaking in Tongues, made in 1988, a depiction of evangelism and its despotic hold on followers. Arriving 10 years later, The Word presents a cast identically dressed, regardless of gender, in shirts, ties and knickerbocker trous-ers. Men and women thus become semblances of Victorian public schoolboys, cloned participants in a terrifying system of group conformity and rigid, fearful discipline.

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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Tue May 06, 2003 5:03 pm 
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Location: London, England
THE PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY
LOOKING BACK AND BEHIND THE SCENES
Saturday 3 May, Sadler's Wells

As part of the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s stint at Sadler’s Wells, the Society of Dance research organised a morning of talks and discussions looking back at 50 years of the influential American company. It was an interesting morning whether you were a Taylor veteran or a newcomer.

Dr Angela Kane, an expert on the company, introduced a portrait of a powerful dancer, a spellbinding performer and a choreographer who is much loved by the company who work for him. There were pictures and stories stretching from his school days as an athlete and swimmer via a single year’s dance study (at the Juilliard) and straight into Merce Cunningham’s company. He danced with Martha Graham and Balanchine wanted him in the New York City Ballet – this dancer was hot property.

While we see Taylor now as an accessible choreographer, a populist figure even, it’s easy to forget how pioneering he was in the 50s. Taylor collaborated with artists Robert Rauschenberg and Jasper Johns long before Merce Cunningham did and he even made a work of complete stillness set to John Cage’s 4’3’’. But ultimately he wanted to find a voice that wasn’t classical nor gimmicky, and wasn’t Cunningham or Graham.

Taylor’s dance is strongly communicative. The critic Clement Crisp suggests that he choreographs the American consciousness. Popular culture and social dancing loom large in his work, as does storytelling. He sets out the polarities of good and evil and contrasts light comic sketches with weighty serious works

As well as the bigger picture we were let in on the day to day life of the company – rehearsals, community projects, the choreographic process and auditions. Hundreds of hopefuls recently turned up to auditions to fill only two places and some longstanding Taylor dancers disclosed the qualities that are essential in new members of the company. Phenomenal technique is a given, but they’re looking for dramatic flair and personality too. And good manners. They tell us about an audition where Taylor noticed that a girl had bumped into another dancer and didn’t say sorry. She didn’t get a call-back.

From the early years touring church halls, cafeterias and hotels across America – just as sister company Taylor 2 does now – the Paul Taylor Dance Company has come a long way, but the original spirit is still buoyant among the young dancers.

Clement Crisp, an ardent fan, describes Taylor as a “joyous, serene, beautiful, satisfying, musical choreographer who can touch our emotions.” But a writer would say that. Crisp reveals that Taylor’s own attitude is more straightforward. Why does he make work? “Because the company needs new work.” So what is it about? “It’s about 30 minutes long.”

<small>[ 25 May 2003, 02:22 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 09, 2003 8:57 am 
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Location: London
Here's what some of the visitors to our site have said:
Sandra "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"

Catherine "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."

Ian "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!"


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 6:20 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
A paragraph by David Dougill from The Sunday Times:

Briefly, the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s second programme at Sadler’s Wells showed three aspects of Taylor’s style: romantic in Roses (to Wagner and Heinrich Baermann); stark and savage in The Word, about religious fanaticism (music, David Israel); and comic — a witty pastiche of belle époque French froth in the Offenbach Overtures. This splendid company is currently on a UK tour.


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 11, 2003 3:05 pm 
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Location: London, England
Paul Taylor Dance Company
Brighton Dome
9 May 2003

“Well, that was fun,” is the recurring phrase I heard while filing out for the interval after Paul Taylor’s ‘Offenbach Overtures’. A series of light-hearted vignettes cast with duelling generals and clumsy can-can girls, it was entertaining, expertly danced and sprinkled with vaudeville comedy. It could have been Gilbert & Sullivan staged by a particularly agile operatic society. As they said, fun, but not much more than that.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company are polished, perky and light on their feet. There are plenty of smiles – especially compared with their po-faced European contemporaries – there are acrobatics and even characters too. They’re as inoffensive as they come. They’re the kind of company you could take home to meet your mum.

Yet even if the opener didn’t ignite much fervour, their clean-cut persona was well suited to the second piece in the programme, ‘Company B’. Danced to the songs of the Andrews Sisters, this is young America in the 40s – full of hope and hormones – the boys grabbing their belles for a last lindyhop before gallantly going off to war.

The steps and patterns of social dance are used throughout, as in all of Taylor’s work this evening. Sometimes this patterning is predictable - galloping circles, couples lining up then casting off – but it’s fine in this piece because it's part of the dance style and they capture the spirit perfectly (or my image of it at least). In fact, the energetic ensemble stuff works better than the solo numbers which sometimes seem lacking in substance.

The music is fantastic but after half an hour of cloying, close harmonies you do realise that everything’s in the same register. It's the aural equivalent of eating too much dessert and missing out on the main meal. And the same goes for the dancing.

We welcome the melancholy moments of heartbreak among the ‘Tico-Tico’, ‘Boogie Woogie’, ‘Oh Johnny, Oh!’ and relish the scenes when the syrup is occasionally spiked with just a whisper of the real world, when men go off to war. Having said that, even when the soldiers are gunned down they always manage to get back up and shake a leg. So it’s happy endings all round.

After two light-hearted numbers I was hoping for some real grit in the closing piece, ‘Promethean Fire’. But as the melodramatic opening chords of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue sound and spotlights shine on the quivering red curtain this is immediately marked as a ‘theatrical’ event. Reminding us that it’s just a show after all.

‘Promethean Fire’ is a more abstract piece, with blurring bodies weaving and reeling across the stage and settling into intricate tableaux. If you’ve ever heard anyone complain that modern dance is just people running round the stage this might be what they’d seen.

It’s a kind of muted ballet, with the fussiness and showiness taken away and the lines planed smooth, but the structure and influence remains. Taylor will sometimes interrupt a lyrical sequences with shuffling gallops or some other quirky step but otherwise it’s tasteful and contained with neat edges. It’s modern dance but it’s a style that’s no longer modern

Again the company demonstrate faultless technique. The central couple, Lisa Viola and Patrick Corbin, are two veterans of the company and both great dancers. In ‘Offenbach Overtures’ they showed plenty of dramatic flair but here their passionate pas de deux felt more like a stale marriage. There was no connection between them, no sincerity.

Personally, the performance didn't move me, but matters of taste aside, there’s no doubt that PTDC are a top quality company. I would say that for a classical audience this would be a great introduction to modern dance.


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 3:27 pm 
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Location: Maryland USA
It is always interesting to read other points of view. I must say I am sorry that Lyndsey was not moved by Promethean Fire. September 11th affected me in a very personal way. And, until I saw this dance, I had felt that the heartbreak and devastation of this tragedy has not been addressed by the arts. Perhaps it is still too close the event.
The emotions I felt when watching Promethean Fire were almost overpowering, and I am still completely amazed that a dance could evoke such feelings. Everything about it affected me, the costumes were perfect, simple and elegant. Jennifer Tipton's lighting was phenomenal. The music was extremely dramatic, as befits a piece of art this powerful. The choreography was wonderful, the chaos, the tangled bodies, the frantic pace, and then the pdd provided such contrast. And the ending again very dramatic but inspiring.


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2003 10:27 pm 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Taylor made
Preview by Erikka Askeland


AN American genius is coming to Salford. Paul Taylor, often now referred to by critics as a living legend of modern dance, will be bringing one of the first tours in 25 years by the modernist Paul Taylor Dance Company to the UK.

Taylor belongs to the great firmament of American dance modernism, which took the beating heart of European and Russian ballet and gave it a new and physical freedom of expression.

As a young dancer, he cut his teeth on Balanchine’s abstract dance. Martha Graham, who stripped ballet of its niceties and made it sweaty and real, was both a mentor and a teacher, while he tried but rejected Merce Cunningham’s experimental cut and paste style of choreography, in the end, for something more lyrical, more “human”.

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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 18, 2003 2:05 am 
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You can't keep Cock Robin down
By Jackie McGlone for Scotland on Sunday

PAUL Taylor, the 72-year-old dance genius, is an elusive character. "Interviews with him are like gold dust," whispers his publicist, before ushering me into the presence of the great man some rank among the leading American storytellers, such as the novelist William Faulkner.

Tall, loose-limbed and square-shouldered, Taylor still has all the vestiges of the matinee-idol good looks that labelled him one of the most handsome men on the dance scene in the second half of the last century. He has created more than 100 dances since founding his own company in 1954 and is laden with awards, including an Emmy and a knighthood from the French government.

He is the recipient of a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, has a prestigious Kennedy Center Honor, and in 1992 President Bill Clinton pinned the National Medal for the Arts on him. He has been an inspiration to his students, such as Twyla Tharp and Pina Bausch.

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**********************************

Bespoke Taylor
Paul Taylor has scandalised the world of dance with his groundbreaking conceptual choreography since the 1950s. He tells Ellie Carr what keeps him going in The Sunday Herald.


PAUL Taylor is disappointed that the conflict is over. 'I kinda liked the war,' says the 72-year-old American choreo grapher, flashing the first of many mischievous smiles. 'I keep trying to start it again.'

We're sitting in the foyer of London's Savoy Hotel, discussing a war fought not with guns and cluster bombs, but with ballet shoes and heavily muscled quadriceps. The 'war' this tall, shyly funny veteran dance-maker is referring to is that long-fought between the opposing camps of classical ballet and modern dance.

These days, despite his impish chuckling, even the entrenched Taylor has called something of a truce -- his New York-based Paul Taylor Dance Company recently shared a platform with Houston Ballet, who dance several of his works. He admits with a grin: 'I like selling my work to ballet companies.'

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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Thu May 22, 2003 11:49 pm 
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Location: Guildford, Surrey, UK
Article from The Herald.

Quote:
Paul Taylor sighs. Only the sigh turns into a roguish chuckle. "Oh, I know," he says in his unhurried southern-cadenced drawl. "People always want to fit you into a slot, sum you up. And it's been a little hard in my case because I shift so, from one thing to another. I'm sorry, but I can't help it." The shoulders lift in a resigned semi-shrug.

MORE

And from The Edinburgh Evening News.

Quote:
IN his autobiography, Private Domain, the man once described by the San Francisco Examiner as "without question the greatest living American choreographer" wrote: "For a dancer to be able to perform well, most of his waking hours must be devoted to preparing for the holy white instant of performance. Preparing your body comes first, your soul second and your brain a relatively unimportant third."

Now 72 years old, it is an ethos that award-winning Paul Taylor continues to live by. And while many his age and with his achievements might happily sit back and reflect upon their glorious past, Taylor’s focus is firmly on the future.
MORE

<small>[ 23 May 2003, 01:51 AM: Message edited by: Joanne ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Sun May 25, 2003 12:35 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
<img src="http://www.worldwidedanceuk.com/image_library/blog/1_AndyLebeau_Thumb.jpg" alt="" />
<small>Andrew LeBeau</small>

Just a reminder that Andrew has been recording his impressions as he travels round the UK with the Paul Taylor tour.

Here is the [url=http://www.worldwidedanceuk.com/blog_Details.asp?BloggerId=13&EntryId=22]
link to the first piece
[/url] and then you can scroll forward to the following entries.

<small>[ 25 May 2003, 02:35 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Mon May 26, 2003 4:55 am 
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Paul Taylor Dance Company, Edinburgh Festival Theatre
By Mary Brennan for The Herald

With this company, what you see on stage is just the beginning of what you get. For even with merry whimsies, such as Offenbach Overtures (1995) which opened the programme, there's this little undertow of unsettling moments that nudge you in the recollections afterwards - as much as to say, yeah, but it wasn't all carefree cavorting. What about that Barcarolle interlude, when the girl in black sees her partner appropriated by another woman? Or the hilarious, slightly-squiffed wobblings of Lisa Viola that also make her a rather touching odd-one-out amid the confident lovelies swishing their scarlet frou-frou at swaggeringly uniformed partners.

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**********************

Taylor made for a joyous evening
Paul Taylor Dance Company, Festival Theatre ****. By THOM DIBDIN for the Evening News

IN two evenings of near impeccable precision and artistry, the Paul Taylor Dance Company demonstrated exactly why they are one of the world’s most sought after dance ensembles.

Taylor is hard to beat in terms of choreography. He creates long sinuous lines of classical dance moves which suddenly blend in contemporary or modern dance moves in such a way that they can leave you gasping for air at their audacity.

But it is the actual interpretation of his dances which makes this company such a joy and marvel to watch.

On Friday night, in particular, they were firing on all cylinders. For three gorgeous ballets, all of which were being filmed for the BBC, they gave performances of straight five-star level.

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<small>[ 26 May 2003, 06:59 AM: Message edited by: Stuart Sweeney ]</small>


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 Post subject: Re: Paul Taylor Dance Company in the UK - 2003
PostPosted: Tue May 27, 2003 4:44 am 
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Location: London, England; Tallinn, Estonia
Paul Taylor and his dancers complete their 2003 UK tour:

Paul Taylor Dance Company, Festival Theatre, edinburgh
By Mary Brennan for The Herald

BY now, this New York-based company will have travelled on, their UK tour having ended in Edinburgh. Ideally they would have stayed longer in Scotland, preferably including other venues on their itinerary mainly because they are an outstanding company that can make contemporary dance entertaining and accessible to all-comers. And we need audiences outwith the Central Belt to see for themselves just how playful, romantic, and breath-takingly beautiful that dance can be when choreographed and performed by consummately talented artists.

Now the mischievous Mr Taylor himself murmured to me that he'd tried to do "tasteful porno" in Roses (1985). And, yes, some of the bodies rising through encircling arms could be dubbed phallic symbols, but really what he shapes to Wagner's Siegfried Idyll is a celebration of tender, trusting sensuality.

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