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Rita Kohn
Performance Reviews
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
United States
Indianapolis, IN

Paul Taylor Dance Company

by Rita Kohn
November 5, 2010
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University
4602 Sunset Avenue
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Paul Taylor Dance Company
5 stars
Clowes Memorial Hall of Butler University, Nov. 5
Paul Taylor, artistic director; Jennifer Tipton, lighting; Santo Loquasto, sets and costumes.

This review was originally published in NUVO Newsweekly, Indianapolis, IN.

Rita Kohn is a member of the Board of the Dance Critics Association.
Incredible being of lightness emanates rainbows of emotions, relationships and personalities from dancers whose fearlessness and athletic abilities mirror Paul Taylor's own unpretentious attitude toward making dance amazing. From the instant the lights revealed a statue of bodies in trim black underwear, sensuality pulsed through ever-flowing sequences of desire, perplexity, playful flirtation, self-absorbtion, hurtfulness, resolution, much as a poem sprints across diverse landscapes searching for meaning of self through place, space and time. Set to Debussy's gently intimate "Le Coin des Enfants," [The Children's Corner] Taylor's choreography transcends what seems like simplicity to address dark complexities mingled with whimsy. Breaking loose from inner constraints is at the core of a loner male. We applaud when he makes contact, becomes a being. "Brief Encounters" premiered in 2009, Taylor's 131st dance at age 79. "Dust," is Taylor's 1977 privately/worldly point of view set to Poulenc's harpsicord "Concert Champetre" [Rural Concerto]. In painterly leotards, the bodies are anything but "dancey." Instead, they pose, satirize, move insect/animal/bird/fish-like, manipulate under and with cloths and generally develop characters whose agendas make us wary of what's next and at whose expense is the humor while we're also wondering why a twist of knotted hemp is hanging stage left.

"Esplanade," set to Bach violin concertos, reinvents ordinary movement into extraordinary feats rivaling a gamut of sports. Inspired by the vision of a girl running to catch a bus, stepping over anyone in the pathway, this 1975 signature work unpretentiously costumes dancers in street clothes, illuminates the act of walking from "around" to "zooming" and hurtles bodies through running leaps and catches, jumping from flat out splats, flying wingless, sliding into homeplate in non-stop reruns. Preservation and revival of 1970s choreography affords us a glimpse of the constantly evolving dance vocabulary underscoring Taylor's genius. He does not have a system of training such as Graham's or Cunningham's techniques but he does gift us with what he coined as a quality of "zunch" –"oomph that sets the exciting dancer apart from the adequate one." Butler dance professor Susan McGuire, a former dancer with Paul Taylor, and Dance Kaleidoscope's David Hochoy provided sprightly pre-performance programming.
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