Thursday, March 6, 2014

Michael Trusnovec Returns to the Dark Side

Michael Trusnovec in Banquet of Vultures. Photo: Tom Caravaglia
The Paul Taylor Dance Company begins its 60th season at the Koch Theater on Tuesday March 11, presenting nearly 20 dances over three weeks. One of the company's—the world's—finest dramatic and technical dancers, Michael Trusnovec, answered a few questions about revivals in which he is featured prominently (in addition to a majority of the other season repertory).

Ephemeralist: I believe that Banquet of Vultures and Dante Variations were among the first dances Paul choreographed featuring you in the lead role (although correct me if I'm wrong.) How is it to return to them after several years?

Michael Trusnovec: It's always incredibly satisfying to revisit a role that Mr. Taylor’s tailor made for you, especially when they are some of the earliest important roles I feel Paul made specifically FOR me. These two are such richly satisfying, physically and emotionally demanding dances—which I love! For me, time away from a work gives an opportunity to come at it with a fresh perspective—with a deeper, and often different, understanding of the character I’m inhabiting. And, years of life and performance experiences definitely affect the way my body and mind approach and respond to the choreography.

Dante Variations. Photo: Tom Caravaglia
E: You are at your scariest in Banquet, in which you paint a searing portrait of evil. How do you psych yourself up for the role—kick puppies?

I am not a method dancer—I don't usually need time to inhabit a character before the dance begins. With the disturbing and very dark works like Banquet of Vultures and Speaking in Tongues, I think I start to zip into the role and focus my energy on its demands when I am dressed in the costume, I hear the audience hush, the music begins and the shadowed lighting comes up—it’s as if a switch flips inside me. In rehearsals, I always make good use of that time to be sure I have a very specific understanding of who I am and what my purpose is in the work so that when I get to the stage, everything comes together naturally in an unforced way.

E: Dante is also a somewhat darker dance. It includes a swirling, fast virtuosity that is one strong characteristic of your abilities (among others). How much do the choreography and music push you, technically and/or emotionally?

MT: For me, in all of Mr. Taylor's dances, the emotion, character and story, are built into the movement; it lives in the music. All I have to do is be present and tap into it.

E: Any other thoughts on the rep this season?

MT: The astounding breadth of Mr. Taylor's repertory never ceases to surprise and thrill me, especially as we head into a season filled with masterworks spanning the 60 years of this incredible company of dances and dancers. I feel so honored to be a part of the history, and of the future, of this great modern dance organization.

Dante Variations. Photo: Tom Caravaglia

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