Monday, March 23, 2009


I am a huge fan of modern dance. I don't have many opportunities to see dance performances, but occasionally I indulge and buy tickets. I was thrilled to read in the paper that the famous Paul Taylor Dance Company would soon perform at a local theater. I have seen them once before and was highly impressed.

We went to the show Saturday night. It was a surprisingly small audience in this beautiful venue that I love. Our seats were great. There was no one sitting in front of us for many rows, so we had a crystal clear view. The show consisted of three separate dances, each lasting around 20-30 minutes.

The first dance was a high impact, fast paced delight. It was constant motion as dancers appeared and exited the stage frequently changing the pairings and numberings on the stage. It was a nice way to open the evening.

The middle dance was just plain weird. I appreciated it for the amazing athletic abilities of the dancers, but the plot or symbolism of the dance was lost on me. It involved a lot of extremely strange moves, crawling across the stage, the use of blankets over dancer's heads and bodies, and a creepy dark set. I have to admit I even giggled a few times at the absurdity of the motions the dancers were doing.

All of these dances were originally created years ago by Paul Taylor. Our favorite dance, the last of the night, was created in Cody's birth year, 1975, and was noted as Paul Taylor's signature dance. It was easily the highlight of the evening. It is called Esplenade, and I found a seven minute clip of it on Youtube. This clip doesn't even contain my most favorite parts of the dance, but it is still a great clip. Click here to view Esplenade.

I liked reading the program notes about each of the dancers in the company. I admire anyone who devotes years of practice to a craft. I also found it interesting to read about Paul Taylor. I plan to add the documentary Dancemaker to my netflix list. There was a short line about it in the program. It sounds like a fascinating look into the creative process of Paul Taylor teaching dance to his company. I might even pick up his autobiography Private Domain.

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