Magazine article Dance Magazine

In the Air

Magazine article Dance Magazine

In the Air

Article excerpt

No one should have any problem spotting Michael Trusnovec when he performs with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Along with being the only strawberry blond onstage, 29-year-old Trusnovec possesses the soaring leaps and hang time of a ballet dancer, sustains the sense of earthbound power essential to the modern repertoire, and maintains musical continuity at all times.

An actor could also admire Trusnovec's magnetic ability to attract attention with seemingly little effort. His touching pantomime of blindness in Taylor's Arabesque was Iris own creation. ("Paul will trust ns to work out some moments on our own," Trusnovec says. "If he likes it, it stays.") With a waste-less command of gesture and an unerring sense of timing, he can embody radiant innocence, icy menace, or blissfully sublime goofiness--a typical repertoire for a Taylor dancer. This March he opens the company's season at Manhattan's City Center as the male lead in Taylor's awesome masterpiece set to Bach, Promethean Fire.

Unlike most little boys who study dance, Trusnovec did not follow an older sister to dance class at age 6. Instead he followed a female playmate--to Legworks, a studio on Long Island, where he grew up. "I sat out in the hall to watch until the teacher invited me to join," he recalls.

After study at the June Claire School of Dance in Patchogue and at the Board of Cooperative Educational Services (BOCES) Cultural Arts Center in Syosset, an arts magnet high school, he had no doubt that dance was his life's work.

"At the time I was focused on show business," he says. "I'd seen Jerome Robbins' Broadway, and I had an aunt who would give me videocassettes of Fred Astaire movies."

Fortunately for him and his present admirers, Trusnovec was also compiling such an excellent academic record in high school that he was named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. That achievement brought him to the attention of Southern Methodist University in Dallas, which offered him a scholarship. Not ready to plunge into the gypsy life on the Great White Way, and frankly eager to get away from New York City, he accepted.

Readers are cautioned that at this point young Michael's arrival in the Lone Star state does not provide the sort of conflict found in some recent movies about ballet (and nowhere else). Despite much probing, his SMU professors could not recall any dramatic vignettes about a raw teenager overcoming unfamiliar challenges through heroic effort at the last minute. In fact, they don't recall anything raw about him at all.

"Michael was open to everything and very positive about laying something new," says Nathan Montoya. "The only major correction I remember giving him was about his habit of looking down while in class--'bedroom eyes,' I called it. …

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