Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Giant of Dance Brings Variety

Newspaper article Sarasota Herald Tribune

Giant of Dance Brings Variety

Article excerpt

Horny insects, lonely hearts and Baroque maidens -- that's a lot of ground for one choreographer to cover in a single evening of dance.

But who better than Paul Taylor to do so?

Taylor, the last living member of America's original modern dance makers has created 136 pieces dating back to the late '50s, on just about any subject you can think of. The Sarasota Ballet kicked off its new season Friday night by presenting the Paul Taylor Dance Company in three of them, a sampling that represented the breadth, depth and variety of Taylor's enduring genius.

As if to prove the 82-year-old is still at the top of his game, the greatest of these was one of the most recent -- "The Uncommitted," which premiered in July 2011 at the American Dance Festival. Set to a minimalist score by Estonian composer Arvo Part, this somber commentary on the impermanence of modern relationships was visually, structurally and emotionally compelling.

The dance's ineluctable sadness reminded me of the chill of autumn up north, dying foliage, falling leaves. (Maybe that explains the strangely unattractive mottled red and gray costumes by longtime Taylor designer Santo Loquasto.)

In the opening section, a mesmirizing pattern is established as the cast of 11 enters running from each side, swirling in a circle center stage, then exiting to reveal a new soloist at each departure. Each solo has its own timbre, from longing to anger, remorse to angst, but always there is the dissipation of connection and a sense of solitude.

In the second section, the couplings are transitory -- a dancer leaps wrecklessly into another's arms and is barely caught under one knee, another kneels and lays his hand on his partner's stomach, which she pushes away in disgust. When the music takes on a darker tone, two men break into a fight as others silhouetted in the background enact their own slow-motion antagonisms. …

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