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The DanceView Times, New York edition

In the Beginning, Houston to New York

In the Beginning
Paul Taylor Dance Company
City Center
New York, NY
Tuesday, March 9, 2004

by George Jackson
copyright © 2004 by George Jackson
published March 15, 2004

Has In the Beginning changed since it was premiered by Houston Ballet on April 9, 2003? There are differences in emphasis, but the choreography of Paul Taylor's Creation comedy is much the same as before. What about delivery of the text by people who speak ballet as opposed to those who talk modern dance?

What struck me most during the Houston run in Washington was the role of God. It had force and power as well as humor and, yes, humanity. Dominic Walsh and alternately Lucas Priolo endowed Jehovah, as the character is called, with exceptional gravity. It looked like a part Taylor himself might have performed once upon a time. Also, it harkened back to the tradition of the danseur mur, the mature classical dancer who impressed by the grandness of his bearing, the gravity of his walk and didn't have to vow the viewers with his agility in variations. When that Jehovah's foot swept into the air, the force seemed so strong that some of the earth might be pulled up with it.

On Tuesday, Andy LeBeau's put upon Jehovah was deliciously funny but did not threaten to tear the world asunder. Taylor undoubtedly wants it that way, for the character doesn't stand aside as much but becomes part of the scene like your local rabbi. This allows the two Adam and Eve duets—one with the apple, before the fall from grace and the other, the procreative one after the fall—to become highlights. The work's final section still seems an abrupt ending and belies its title, Unto Dust Returned. Rather than a death scene it seems a lullaby after a wearying journey home.

In the Beginning was danced full throttle between a sumptuous Airs and a stiletto Piazzolla Caldera. The Paul Taylor Dance Company is in great shape.

Read other reviews of the Paul Taylor City Center season:

Opening night gala (Susan Reiter)
Program A (Leigh Witchel)
Program B (Mary Cargill)
Program C (Nancy Dalva)

Originally published:
Volume 2, Number 11
published March 7, 2004

Copyright ©2004 by George Jackson



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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


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last updated on March 7, 2004