PAUL TAYLOR'S AMERICAN MODERN DANCE-Aureole, Troillus and Crssida
March 22, 2015
The first half of Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance program saw
two classic Taylor pieces: “Aureole,” and “Troilus and Cressida.”
Originally premiering in 1962, “Aureole” is broken into 5 segments. Lovely
live exerpts from Handel’s “Concerti Grossi in C,F” and “Jephtha,” serenades.
quartet in light shades of blue opens the piece. They run across the stage with
purpose, their chest springing forward, arms tucked tight at their sides. In typical
Taylor fashion, the movement is buoyant but restrained. A dancer will perform a
series of jumps, but every continuous bounce stays at the same level. Quick
sissonnes are sharp and turned in. Between the jetting from on to off stage and vice
versa, are quiet moments. A series of couples enters upstage. One by one they strike
a low arabesque. Slowly rising onto releve, some, like Michelle Fleet sustain the
position flowing into the next movement with ease, while others move more swiftly
from one moment to the next.
“Troilus and Cressida,” (2006) is an imaginative and humorous Taylor piece.
Set to the classic “Dance of the Hours,” the curtain rises to a sleeping Cressida and
three cupids. With shimmering costumes and small wings on their backs, the cupids
flutter around the stage awakening the young woman from her sleep. Cressida
doesn’t move in the same way the cupids do, and without fail, she slips on her pillow
and lands flat on the floor. Cue Troilus who is just as clumsy as Cressida.
manage to meet for a short duet, but for comedy the choreography is sacrificed. It’s
funny to an extent. Enter three Greek invaders to the mix, with velvet capes flowing
behind them and drink in hand, the chaos becomes more confused on stage as the
different groups mix.
The dance turns more slapstick in your face comedy than is
intended to be. In the end the group piles into a final pose, Cressida lifted above the
rest by the invaders. It’s a perfect picture ending that doesn’t entirely share all that
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Bailey Moon