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The DanceView Times, New York edition

Acts of Ardor:
Two Dances by Paul Taylor

By Dale Brauner
copyright © 2004 by Dale Brauner
Published 26 January 2004

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 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."


Music: Songs from the Great Depression
Choreography by Paul Taylor
Set and Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton
(First performed in 2001)
"Underneath the Arches" .................. Michael Trusnovec
Robert Kleinendorst
"There's No Depression in Love" .................. Amy Young
Andy LeBeau
"Slummin' on Park Avenue" .................. Kristi Edtvedt
Takehiro Ueyama
"Sittin' on a Rubbish Can" .................. Silvia Nevjinsky
"Are You Making Any Money?" .................. Orion Duckstein
Annmaria Mazzini
Amy Young
Julie Tice
"The Boulevard of Broken Dreams" .................. Annmaria Mazzini
"I Went Hunting and the Big Bad Wolf Was Dead" .................. Lisa Viola
"Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?" .................. Patrick Corbin
Music by Johann Sebastian Bach, orchestrated by Leopold Stokowski
Choreography by Paul Taylor
Costumes by Santo Loquasto, Lighting by Jennifer Tipton
(First performed in 2002)
Toccata & Fugue in D minor .................. The Company
Prelude in E flat minor .................. Patrick Corbin
Lisa Viola
Chorale Prelude, BWV 680 .................. Chorale Prelude, BWV 680

(Recorded in performance at the Edinburgh Festival Theatre in May 2003)

Matthew Diamond

Bill DeRonde

Lighting Directors:
Bernie Davis
James Campbell

Producers: Fiona Morris
Ailsa Jenkins

Executive Producers:
Fiona Morris
David M. Jackson


Executive Producer: Jac Venza

First:  Paul Taylor.  Credit: Maxine Hicks
Second:  The Paul Taylor Dance Company performs Black Tuesday). Credit: Paul Dodds
Third:  The Paul Taylor  Dance Company performs Promethean Fire. Credit:  Paul Dodds

Originally published:
Volume 1, Number 9
November 24,, 2003
Copyright ©2003 by Dale Brauner



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Mindy Aloff
Dale Brauner
Mary Cargill
Nancy Dalva
Gia Kourlas
Gay Morris
Susan Reiter
Alexandra Tomalonis(Editor)
Meital Waibsnaider
Leigh Witchel
David Vaughan


The Autumn DanceView is out:

New York City Ballet's Spring 2003 season reviewed by Gia Kourlas

An interview with the Kirov Ballet's Daria Pavlenko by Marc Haegeman

Reviews of San Francisco Ballet (by Rita Felciano) and Paris Opera Ballet (by Carol Pardo)

The ballet tradition at the Metropolitan Opera (by Elaine Machleder)

Reports from London (Jane Simpson) and the Bay Area (Rita Felciano).

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last updated on October 7, 2003