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Paul Taylor in NYC


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#1 balletmama

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 06:19 AM

Many thanks to Leigh Witchel for rounding up us BalletAlertniks and giving us free tickets to a wonderful performance by Paul Taylor and Paul Taylor II yesterday in the LaGuardia HS auditorium in Manhattan. What a nice opportunity!

The studio company did Company B, which was thoroughly enjoyable, and that's saying a lot because the last time I saw it Francie Huber was dancing. The main company did a preview of Promethean Fire, which will have its NY premiere in March, I believe. The latter, performed to several Bach pieces, had some lovely moments of partnering, as well as a heartbreaking assemblage of the dancers into a pile of bodies. Somehow it still felt to me like a performance that hadn't quite "gelled;" I would like to see it again. The dancers in both companies are so beautifully trained.

What a joy to hear the incredibly enthusiastic young people in the audience.

My favorite young dancer and I got to meet and talk with rkoretsky, which was great! Tried to imagine whether the other people around us might have been BalletAlertniks, but no luck.

Leigh, wanted to say hello as you suggested, but the only man in our vicinity who seemed to be in your age group was wearing a fedora. Was that you? I figured if you had been planning on a distinctive hat you would have mentioned it for identification purposes, so I didn't pursue it...Thanks again.

#2 Alexandra

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 06:24 AM

Thanks for posting this -- wish I could have been there!

I hope others who attended will chime in.

BTW, it's too late for this performance, but there's a photo of Leigh on the main site (and of Victoria and Mel, too) in th Who We Are section.

http://www.balletale...ing/credits.htm

#3 balletmama

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 06:38 AM

Thanks, Alexandra. Actually, I had seen Leigh's picture, but I am not always skilled at connecting a photo with its corresponding live person, especially in a crowd. (The bottom picture of Major Mel, however, is quite another story. He is instantly recognizable in person!)

#4 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 07:46 AM

I'm sorry, Balletmama! No fedora on me :)

We were all seated a bit pell-mell - the company had in theory overbooked the theater, and so our group got fewer seats than it needed. Luckily, I think we all got seats from extras from other groups; AmandaNYC was there and had gave me an extra (Thank you!) I wanted to try and meet you all, but wasn't sure even where the group was, I was standing outside (without any tickets from our original group to locate you) trying to shepard people in until shortly before curtain. I apologize!

What did other BalletAlertniks think of the performance? I liked Promethean, but interestingly for the first time in any Taylor work, I felt like I was looking at an assemblage of other Taylor works, and that includes Danbury Mix, which is an assemblage of other works! At the group tableau you mentioned, I found myself thinking, "Last Look", which has a similar one. The piece used Bach organ pieces, but in pumped-up orchestral versions (uncredited, but I'm guessing by Leopold Stokowski though I could be wrong) which seemed weirdly appropriate for the piece, though they gave it a schlock-y Fantasia feel. Art and Bombast with capitals. And like you, I still liked it. I agree that the work didn't feel like we were seeing it in its final form. Not a bad performance for the price ;)

For Washingtonians, Sean Patrick Mahoney, the brother of Washington Ballet's lovely Erin Mahoney, performed with Taylor 2. Wasn't he in the Parsons company at one point? He looked a great deal more seasoned and experienced than the rest of the Taylor 2 dancers.

#5 rkoretzky

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 07:54 AM

My husband and I really enjoyed meeting balletmama and balletdaughter. In fact it was the highlight of the evening.

I say that, not because of any issues with the dancing, but rather a logisitical one. The program, billed to start at 6 PM, began at just past 6:35. We had timed the evening pretty closely and were due to meet our daughter at Riverside Church at 7:30, as her rehearsal was ending. At 6 the auditorium was rather empty and people were still streaming in. I can see holding a curtain for a few minutes, in fact 5 minutes late is SOP at City Ballet--I know that from my years of working at SPAC--but 35 minutes late, with no announcement or explanation was rather annoying. My husband has no tolerance for tardiness and we didn't want to keep our daughter waiting after a 4hour rehearsal so we left at the pause.

I love Company B. I have seen Miami City do it quite a few times, but I had never seen Taylor schooled dancers in it, and it did not disappoint--not a bit. The contrast between the light hearted music and the reality of what those young men will be doing breaks my heart every time I see it. My husband and I agreed though that the variation to "Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy" was the weakest of the lot.

We had seen Promethean Fire before. The company was in Albany in November and we had a preview of the work--very exciting for us to see something before it hits New York!. At that time I certainly thought it needed more time. Interesting that balletmama had the same reaction yesterday.

Thanks Leigh for making us aware of this appetite whetter. Can't wait for the March season at City Center. I looked for you too, Leigh--in fact I found myself staring at every dark haired young man in the place. Where were you??????

#6 balletmama

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 08:15 AM

"Tableau." Yes! Thank you, Leigh. A much better term than "pile of bodies." I learn so much here on BalletAlert. :)

#7 AmandaNYC

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 08:20 AM

Glad to be of service (well, glad my sis could be of service), Leigh.

As far as the start time, I don't know how my sis knew, but she had told me the performance was at 6:30pm. Did the cocktail reception start at 6pm? Not good that the actual scheduled start time was not well publicized.

I enjoyed Company B, though I have seen much better performances. Two of the men seemed to be loosing steam toward the end of their solos. They lost the umph.

I found the Back piece intriquing. Not being that familiar with Taylor work, I was fortunate not to see echoes of other works (unlike Leigh). Instead I heard echoes of other ballet music, e.g., the final section of Episodes (thanks, Leigh. It would have driven me mad had you not told me!). I'm not a big fan of Taylor's typical use of the dancers to wipe the floor (can you tell my feelings?), so those parts of this piece bothered me. I think I would have preferred to see have seen the piece from further away (we were in row F), as there were a lot of bodies doing a lot of movement on a small stage.

-amanda

#8 rkoretzky

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 08:31 AM

Well yeah...what was that reception about, anyway? I assume it was for big donors to the company and since the performance was free, I didn't expect to be included in any reception of any kind. But I was really thirsty and wanted to PURCHASE a bottle of water--couldn't because I didn't have the pin that I guess the reception guests had. Luckily schools have water fountains!

As we were running out to get uptown by 7:30 we saw that the reception was beautifully set up. So I assume it was....after?

#9 Leigh Witchel

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Posted 13 January 2003 - 09:17 AM

A little more complex than that, one of the people who worked with the company gave me a thumbnail sketch.

This week is the annual conference of the Association of Performing Arts Presenters in NYC. Dance companies that tour cinch most of their booking contracts at this conference, which includes showings at many many venues in NYC throughout the week.

This performance was arranged to be part of that, and the company had about 200 booking people invited. Since the theater held so many more people, they decided it would be great to fill it. The reception was for the invited guests, and it's pretty standard for APAP showings, as are cocktails before. Such are the ways of wining and dining!

I'm so sorry I didn't get to meet people. I really wanted to :) If you come to our performances at the Guggenheim (hint hint! Jan 26-27! Peter Boal! www.worksandprocess.com or www.danceasever.org ) there's a reception after and everyone is invited.


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