AUDIENCE REVIEW: Paul Taylor Memorial Performance
Nov. 5th 2019
I was fortunate enough to see the Paul Taylor Memorial Performance on November 5th. The first piece Aureole was an expression of sheer joy. As a student, it was inspiring to see the technique presented so clearly and elegantly. I especially enjoyed the use of the “long runs” (a step I am familiar with from Graham, where a dancer smoothly glides from one lunge to another giving the audience the appearance of a weightless run). The intricate yet delicate footwork made the dancer’s feet look like petals caught in the wind. There was a moment of pure innocent joy when the dancer, Alex Clayton gently tapped each female dancer’s hips, lending a sense of childlike joy found in the innocence of play.
The second piece, Troilus and Cressida, seemed to be inspired by a Greek comedy. The whole theater was overtaken with joy. I honestly never dreamed that a dance could strike me with such a need to burst into fervent laughter. However, one moment in the piece took me aback. Towards the end of the piece three soldiers “kidnap” the female lead while the male lead hopelessly chases after. The male soldiers hang her upside-down for an exorbitant amount of time. I found this act to be quite derogatory, and neolithic akin to a posse of barbaric animals parading around their prize of flesh.
The third piece, Last Look, by Paul Taylor, was a bit of a mystery for me. I left the theater with many questions about what I had seen. I strongly recommend one reads about this piece before seeing it, otherwise one will lose out on the full experience, and have difficulty fully appreciating its intent.
The fourth piece, Beloved Renegade, was a once in a lifetime opportunity to see Michael Novak’s last performance. I could not think of any repertory piece more befitting and poetic to end an incredible dance career. The dancers wore simple, pale costumes that added to the piece’s otherworldliness. For me, the most moving moment was, when a female dancer, in a unitard, leads Michael Norvak as he says goodbye to all of his fellow dancers on stage. Overall this is a beautiful, and thought provoking program I would encourage all to see.