DanceView Times, New York edition
Dance in America presents “Acts of Ardor: Two Dances by Paul Taylor,” on Wednesday, January 28 as part of Great Performances on PBS (check local listings) as its first performance presentation. This is a return byTaylor to Dance in America, which has broadcast some of his most celebrated works in Aureole, Esplanade, 3 Epitaphs, Arden Court, The Rite of Spring (The Rehearsal), Roses, Last Look, Speaking in Tongues, Company B, Funny Papers and A field of Grass.
Two of Taylor’s most recent creations, Black Tuesday and Promethean Fire, will be shown to a national audience. The program was recorded live in performance at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre last May. Matthew Diamond, involved in Dance in America productions From Broadway: Fosse and the Emmy-winning Le Corsaire with American Ballet Theatre, directed. The sets and costumes are by Santo Loquasto, while Jennifer Tipton designed the lightning.
A 1992 Kennedy Center honoree, Paul Taylor has been a dominant force in dance for more than five decades. He is regarded as the greatest living choreographer. In Black Tuesday and Promethean Fire, the 73-year-old Taylor has created two works of great diversity.
Black Tuesday is a work in the Company B mold. Instead of looking back to World War II, Taylor cast his eye further to the Great Depression. Using songs of the era, he created an entertaining dance with venom beneath. It was created on his dancers, but had its premiere with American Ballet Theatre in 2001. At the time, it was great fun trying to guess which PTDC dancers would take which parts. Most rightly guessed the sultry Annmaria Mazzini would essay the battered spirit in "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams," tiny Lisa Viola would romp as the gun totting baby in "I Went Hunting and the Big Bad Wolf Was Dead," and Patrick Corbin would dance the desperate returning soldier in "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?," performed to the 1932 recording by Bing Crosby.
ABT might have filled the stage better, Taylor’s dancers brought out the anger.
While the dancers in Black Tuesday laugh in the face of adversity, those in Promethean Fire are brought asunder by some unnamed tragedy, but are able to find a re-birth to the glorius music of J.S. Bach. The ballet has been called massive, powerful and life affirming.
Between the two works, Taylor is interviewed. Of Black Tuesday, he says, "While all these people really were having hard times, what interested me was the happiness of most of the entertainment...you know, like the Rogers-Astaire films. People were flocking to escape. They weren't really escaping, but for a moment, they wanted to feel happy. I thought that was so touching."
TWO DANCES BY PAUL
(Recorded in performance
at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in May 2003)
Producers: Fiona Morris
Executive Producer: Jac Venza
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