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Paul Taylor, Program B

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Offenbach Overtures, Snow White, Promethean Fire -- 3/11/03

There may be dark shadows somewhere behind the humor and laughs of Offenbach Overtures and Snow White, but one is hard put to discern them. At the center of Offenbach Overtures is a duel between Patrick Corbin and Richard Chen See, with Michael Trusnovic and Robert Kleinendorst as their seconds. The duelists are soon winking and blowing kisses at each other, leaving their seconds to continue the fight. There's lots of boy-girl stuff as well, and on more than one occasion the women seem on the verge of busting into a can-can, without ever quite doing so.

There are only five dwarfs in Snow White. Asked why once, Mr. Taylor is supposed to have said, "It's a small company." To make up for the diminution of dwarfs, there is Rose Red, or, as she is known here, "A Bad Apple," danced by Annamaria Mazzini. On the other hand, as Snow Wite, Heather Berest was the apple of any dwarf's or prince's eye.

All sixteen members of the company are onstage for Promethean Fire. Whether or not it was inspired by the events of 9/11, it is a powerful and moving work, to Bach, orchestrated by Stowkowski. (Toccata & Fugue in D minor; Prelude in E-flat minor; Chorale Prelude, BWV 680.) Bach purists might cringe, but the music is perfect for the piece. I just wish City Center had a better sound system. Both women and men are in similar black costumes by Santo Loquasto. There are intimations of mayhem and death, but in contrast fo the hopelessness of Last Look, the overall effect of Promethean Fire is cathartic and uplifting.

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