Saturday, March 9, 2013

Paul Taylor Dance Company—Notebook Review, March 7

James Samson, Michael Trusnovec, and Sean Mahoney in Brandenburgs. Photo: Paul B. Goode
Paul Taylor Dance Company's season is underway at the Koch Theater (through March 24). The March 7 performance featured just two dances on the program rather than the usual three, in front of a packed, whooping and whistling house.

Speaking in Tongues (1988)
  • Pentecostal preacher and his flock. Yikes!
  • Simply reading the cast list is like reading a short story. 
  • The first searing image: Michael Trusnovec (A Man of the Cloth), all in black, in silhouette, standing stock still in a doorway—omniscient, all-powerful, scrutinizing the townsfolk for strays and acolytes, which are sorted in due time. No one can convey as much through stillness as Trusnovec, not to mention his silky, weightless movement. He's like a superhero—Ironman?—who channels all the power in the universe through his gaze and body.
  • Lovely duet between James Samson (Himself, as he recollects) and Laura Halzack (His Better Half), who are well-proportioned to be partners; velvety, plush movers full of nobility and ease.
  • Amy Young (A Mother) and Jamie Rae Walker (Her Unwanted Daughter) dance several duets that read as touching, until you fully process their characters' names 
  • Fine solos by Michelle Fleet (The Daughter Grown Up) and Rob Kleinendorst (Odd Man Out).
  • The set—barn siding into which words are carved—looks terrific in the Koch.
  • One of Taylor's longest, most dramatic, stand-alone dances.

  • A perfect example of Taylor's breadth when it follows Speaking in Tongues. Are there more polar opposite works in his repertory?
  • Sheer delight in movement and arranging five men and three women in geometrically satisfying ways to Bach's perfectly classical music.
  • Michael T. is again the Sun around which all the other dancer-planets revolve. He gets to wear fancy pants—the color of faded moss, with sparkles around the waist—while the others wear regal, dark green velvet bodysuits and dresses.
  • (There are now three Michaels—Apuzzo and Novak as well—in the ranks. Clearly if your name is Michael, it increases your odds of becoming a Taylor dancer. Get on that.)
  • Parisa Kobdeh is now the go-to dancer for roles with humor, sass, and speed. In Brandenburgs, she dances several times with the men, and wags her shin at us winkingly.
  • Eran Bugge has a radiant presence that expands with each performance.
  • Amy Young, such a constant, flawless performer, has become a large part of the company's foundation.
  • George Smallwood—the newest dancer—looks like he's having a ball.

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