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Paul Taylor Program C

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Program C - Wednesday, March 12, 2003

IMAGES - Taylor/Debussy

BLACK TUESDAY - Taylor/Songs from the Great Depression

ESPLANADE - Taylor/Johann Sebastian Bach

Wow, City Center looks great these days and so does the Taylor company! Patrick Corbin is still a wonderful dancer and his fellow company members are equally impressive.

At the beginning of IMAGES, I thought the movement was almost dated. It gave me a sort of Agnes DeMille feeling. Then within minutes, the genius of Paul Taylor took over and I was finding it fresh and delightful. IMAGES with it's beautiful Debussy music is almost like a bed time story, soothing and hypnotic.

I like BLACK TUESDAY much more at City Center. The MET seemed to swallow it up when I saw ABT. Then again, how can any dancer other then a Taylor dancer do his choreography so well? Annmaria Mazzini was fearless in "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams" section.

ESPLANADE is amazing every time. I still remember Betty De Jong and Linda Kent in the cast. The present company is gorgeous, especially Lisa Viola. It was hard to sit still for this one. I wanted to run and jump (but definitely not slide)!


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I remember the lightfooted, slender Linda Kent in Esplanade (as in so many other dances) too--but I checked, and her role was originally danced by Susan McGuire. So having the divine Silvia Nevjinsky in the Kent role--the part where the woman stands on the mans stomach--is a return to having an Amazon dance it. About the Debussy--the costumes do date it--I had the same initial impression you did--,but the movement doesn't--except that it refers to Nijinsky. (Do you think that, too, Glebb--to Faun, not to the Sacre?) But I wouldn't call that dated....Do you think the Met would swallow Black Tuesday if the Taylor company danced it there??? Is it the theater, or the company dancing it? It's certainly Blacker on the Taylorians. I loved the Taylor season, too....So nice to read you on it....

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Esplanade is one of the dances I have trouble watching now -- because I thought the first cast so perfect, and that it died a little each time one left. My favorite Esplanade dancers were Ruth Andrien -- no one will ever do a s-l-i-d-e like Ruthie -- and Carolyn Adams -- her skittering-in-the-dust solo doesn't look like skittering any more. And Elie Chaib, for the way he extended those scooped arms.....

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I saw this wonderful program on Sunday, March 16, closing night of the NYC Taylor season. I was glad to again see so many young, or at least youngish, people in the audience, cheering lustily. I agree with Glebb about Black Tuesday looking better on the Taylor dancers and at City Center. I'm still bothered though, that the recorded singers are not identified in the program. (It was the same at ABT.) I recognize Connie Boswell singing Boulevard of Broken Dreams and, of course, Bing Crosby in Brother Can You Spare a Dime? But who is that great singer on Sittin' on a Rubbish Can? Is that Bessie Smith? Does anyone know? Anyhow, having seen programs A, B, and C, it seemed to me this was a brilliant Taylor season. If only Cascade, Images, and Esplanade could have been performed to live music!

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I also saw last night's performance and for the fist time ever was disappointed in Esplanade. Except for Amy Young, I thought the dancers looked forced and lacking spontaniety, especially Lisa Viola. There have been great dancers in that part, especially Adams and Kate Johnson, but Viola milks the last moments as though it were Oscar night. More worrisome is the fact that for the first time the middle movement failed to arouse any emotional response from me. In the performances of de Jong and then Karla Wolfangle (sp?), it seemed about lost love. Heather Berest just seemed like a bored fashion model and the whole section passed off without a murmur of emotion.

Still the company as a whole looked strong throughout the engagement and I was delighted to see Last Look and Images again after several years when they have been out of the rep.

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Wow Alexandra! I can't imagine how incredible the original cast of ESPLANDE must have been, when several casts within the last two decades have moved me so. It's good to know that a masterpiece will hold through the years and changes of casts. :)

I'm sure BLACK TUESDAY was good at ABT. I was in the orchestra section but it just seemed too dark. I remember Beth Gaither standing out, but once again, why wouldn't Paul Taylor dancers do it best?

I did notice the Nijinsky references Nanatchka, and they were perfect with the Debussy music :). That did not bother me at all. It was actually some of Paul Taylors trade mark movements that bothered me for two seconds. I had not seen the Taylor company in a long while. But as I said, two seconds into it, I was in love.

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