Escrita por The New York Times como una de las más interesantes, innovadoras y encantadoras compañías de danza en el mundo entero, la Paul Taylor Dance Company fue creada en 1954 por el gran coreógrafo de danza moderna Paul Taylor. La agrupación cuenta con un repertorio de más de cien obras, que han presentado en más de 60 países y 450 ciudades alrededor del mundo.
Celebrado por su musicalidad, Paul Taylor ha creado piezas con música de Bach, además de ragtime, reggae y tango, y ha utilizado llamadas telefónicas y otros sonidos cotidianos en sus coreografías, siguen cautivando al público y la crítica.
Una explanada es un lugar para caminar al aire libre. En 1975, Paul Taylor, inspirado por la visión de una niña corriendo para alcanzar el autobús, creó una obra maestra basada en el movimiento pedestre. Si sus contemporáneos Jasper Johns y Robert Rauschenberg pudieron hacer uso de “objetos encontrados” comunes, como botellas de Coca-Cola y banderas estadounidenses en su arte, Taylor utilizaría tales “movimientos encontrados” como pararse, caminar, correr, deslizarse y caerse. La primera de las cinco secciones, con música de dos conciertos para violín de Bach, presenta un equipo de ocho bailarines rebosantes de la exuberancia juvenil característica de Taylor. Un adagio para una familia cuyos miembros nunca tocan el reflejo sombrío de la vida. Cuando tres parejas se involucran en una interacción romántica, una mujer, parada tiernamente sobre el cuerpo de su amante, sugiere que el amor puede tanto herir como calmar. La sección final tiene bailarines que caminan sin miedo por el escenario, como kamikazes. La más pequeña de ellas, la hija que no había sido reconocida por su familia, es dejada sola en el escenario, triunfante: los mansos heredan la tierra.
Música: Johann Sebastian Bach
Coreografía: Paul Taylor
Vestuario: John Rawlings
Iluminación: Jennifer Tipton
Neruda escribió sobre la poesía que refleja “la confusa impureza de los seres humanos”, la poesía “gastada como por un ácido por los deberes de la mano, penetrada por el sudor y el humo, oliente a orina y a azucena salpicada por las diversas profesiones que se ejercen dentro y fuera de la ley Una poesía impura como traje, como un cuerpo, con manchas de nutrición, y actitudes vergonzosas, con arrugas, observaciones, sueños, vigilia, profecías, declaraciones de amor y de odio, bestias, sacudidas, idilios, creencias políticas, negaciones, dudas, afirmaciones, impuestos”. Neruda podría haber estado describiendo la danza devastadora que se originó en los burdeles de Buenos Aires a comienzos del siglo XX: el tango. La música del tango, con influencias españolas, italianas, indias, africanas y judías, alcanzó nuevas alturas con Astor Piazzolla.
Sin un sólo paso auténtico de tango, Paul Taylor captura la esencia cultural del tango. En un antro poco iluminado, hombres y mujeres de clase obrera, se enfrentan en crepitantes dúos y tríos sexuales: hombres con mujeres, hombres con hombres y mujeres con mujeres. Dos hombres demasiado borrachos para las conquistas, realizan una danza rítmica mientras las lámparas se balancean vertiginosamente sobre sus cabezas. Una mujer que ha buscado desesperadamente una pareja sin éxito, se desploma – como herida de muerte por una noche sin pasión.
Música: Astor Piazzolla y Jerzy Peterburshsky
Coreografía: Paul Taylor
Escenografía y vestuario: Santo Loquasto
Iluminación: Jennifer Tipton
Fuego de Prometeo “que puede encender tu luz” — William Shakespeare
Basado en tres obras para teclado de Bach y orquestadas por Stokowski, Promethean fire examina un caleidoscopio de colores emocionales de la condición humana. Los dieciséis bailarines de Paul Taylor Dance Company, vestidos de negro, entran y salen en intrincados patrones, que reflejan la forma en que las diversas emociones se entrelazan en la vida. Un dúo central representa el conflicto y la resolución que siguen a un evento catastrófico. Si la destrucción ha sido el origen de esta danza, la renovación del espíritu es su mensaje primordial.
Música: Johann Sebastian Bach
Orquestación: Leopold Stokowski
Coreografía: Paul Taylor
Vestuario: Santo Loquasto
Iluminación: Jennifer Tipton
La presentación de Paul Taylor Dance Company es parte de la temporada de Espectáculos Extraordinarios 2018 y es posible gracias a AES Gener, auspiciador estratégico del Municipal de Santiago.
Paul Taylor is one of the most accomplished artists this nation has ever produced,and helped shape and define America’s homegrown art of modern dance from the earliest days of his career as a choreographer in 1954 until his death in 2018.
Having performed with Martha Graham’s company for several years, Mr. Taylor uniquely bridged the legendary founders of modern dance – Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Doris Humphrey and Ms. Graham – and the dance makers of the 21st Century with whom he later worked. Through his initiative at Lincoln Center begun in 2015 – Paul Taylor American Modern Dance – he presented great modern works of the past and outstanding works by today’s leading choreographers alongside his own vast and growing repertoire. He also commissioned the next generation of dance makers to work with his renowned Company, thereby helping to ensure the future of the art form.
Mr. Taylor continued to win public and critical acclaim for the vibrancy, relevance and power of his dances into his eighties, offering cogent observations on life’s complexities while tackling some of society’s thorniest issues. While he often propelled his dancers through space for the sheer beauty of it, he more frequently used them to comment on such profound issues as war, piety, spirituality, sexuality, morality and mortality. If, as George Balanchine said, there are no mothers-in-law in ballet, there certainly are dysfunctional families, disillusioned idealists, imperfect religious leaders, angels and insects in Mr. Taylor’s dances. His repertoire of 147 works covers a breathtaking range of topics, but recurring themes include the natural world and man’s place within it; love and sexuality in all gender combinations; and iconic moments in American history. His poignant looks at soldiers, those who send them into battle and those they leave behind prompted the New York Times to hail him as “among the great war poets” – high praise indeed for an artist in a wordless medium. While some of his dances have been termed “dark” and others “light,” the majority of his works are dualistic, mixing elements of both extremes. And while his work was largely iconoclastic, he also made some of the most purely romantic, most astonishingly athletic, and downright funniest dances ever put on stage.
Paul Taylor was born on July 29, 1930 – exactly nine months after the stock market crash that led into the Great Depression – and grew up in and around Washington, DC. He attended Syracuse University on a swimming scholarship in the late 1940s until he discovered dance through books at the University library, and then transferred to The Juilliard School. In 1954 he assembled a small company of dancers and began to choreograph. A commanding performer despite his late start in dance, he joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1955 for the first of seven seasons as soloist while continuing to choreograph on his own troupe. In 1959 he was invited to be a guest artist with New York City Ballet, where Balanchine created the Episodes solo for him.
Mr. Taylor first gained notoriety as a dance maker in 1957 with Seven New Dances; its study in non-movement famously earned it a blank newspaper review, and Graham subsequently dubbed him the “naughty boy” of dance. In 1962, with his first major success – the sunny Aureole – he set his trailblazing modern movement not to contemporary music but to baroque works composed two centuries earlier, and then went to the opposite extreme a year later with a view of purgatory in Scudorama, using a commissioned, modern score. He inflamed the establishment in 1965 by lampooning some of America’s most treasured icons in From Sea To Shining Sea, and created more controversy in 1970 by putting incest and spousal abuse center stage in Big Bertha.
After retiring as a performer in 1974, Mr. Taylor turned exclusively to choreography, resulting in a flood of masterful creativity. The exuberant Esplanade (1975), one of several Taylor dances set to music by Bach, was dubbed an instant classic, and has come to be regarded as among the greatest dances ever made. In Cloven Kingdom (1976) Mr. Taylor examined the primitive nature that lurks just below man’s veneer of sophistication and gentility. With Arden Court (1981) he depicted relationships both platonic and romantic. He looked at intimacy among men at war in Sunset (1983); pictured Armageddon in Last Look (1985); and peered unflinchingly at religious hypocrisy and marital rape in Speaking In Tongues (1988). In Company B (1991) he used popular songs of the 1940s to juxtapose the high spirits of a nation emerging from the Depression with the sacrifices Americans made during World War II. In Eventide (1997) he portrayed the budding and fading of a romance. In The Word (1998), he railed against religious zealotry and blind conformity to authority. In the first decade of the new millennium he poked fun at feminism in Dream Girls (2002); condemned American imperialism in Banquet of Vultures (2005); and stared death square in the face in the Walt Whitman-inspired Beloved Renegade (2008). Brief Encounters (2009) examined the inability of many people in contemporary society to form meaningful and lasting relationships. In this decade he turned a frightening short story into a searing drama in To Make Crops Grow and compared the mating rituals of the insect world to that of humans in the comedic Gossamer Gallants. Mr. Taylor’s final work, Concertiana, made when he was 87, premiered at Lincoln Center in 2018.
Hailed for uncommon musicality and catholic taste, Mr. Taylor set movement to music so memorably that for many people it is impossible to hear certain orchestral works and popular songs and not think of his dances. He set works to an eclectic mix that includes Medieval masses, Renaissance dances, baroque concertos, classical warhorses, and scores by Debussy, Cage, Feldman, Ligeti and Pärt; Ragtime, Tango, Tin Pan Alley and Barbershop Quartets; Harry Nilsson, The Mamas and The Papas, and Burl Ives; telephone time announcements, loon calls and laughter. Mr. Taylor influenced dozens of men and women who have gone on to choreograph – many on their own troupes – while others have gone on to become respected teachers at colleges and universities. And he worked closely with such outstanding artists as James F. Ingalls, Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, William Ivey Long, Santo Loquasto, Gene Moore, Tharon Musser, Robert Rauschenberg, John Rawlings, Thomas Skelton and Jennifer Tipton. Mr. Taylor’s dances are performed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company, the six-member Taylor 2 Dance Company (begun in 1993), and companies throughout the world including the Royal Danish Ballet, Rambert Dance Company, American Ballet Theatre, San Francisco Ballet, Miami City Ballet, and Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater.
As the subject of the documentary films Dancemaker and Creative Domain, and author of the autobiography Private Domain and Wall Street Journal essay Why I Make Dances, Mr. Taylor shed light on the mysteries of the creative process as few artists have. Dancemaker, which received an Oscar nomination in 1999, was hailed by Time as “perhaps the best dance documentary ever,” while Private Domain, originally published by Alfred A. Knopf, was nominated by the National Book Critics Circle as the most distinguished biography of 1987. A collection of Mr. Taylor’s essays, Facts and Fancies, was published by Delphinium in 2013.
Mr. Taylor received nearly every important honor given to artists in the United States. In 1992 he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and received an Emmy Award for Speaking in Tongues, produced by WNET/New York the previous year. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1993. In 1995 he received the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named one of 50 prominent Americans honored in recognition of their outstanding achievement by the Library of Congress’s Office of Scholarly Programs. He is the recipient of three Guggenheim
Mr. Novak succeeds Paul Taylor, who was Artistic Director from 1954, when he established the Paul Taylor Dance Company, until his death on August 29, 2018. Mr. Novak assumes all Artistic Director duties for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance; the Paul Taylor Dance Company; Taylor 2; The Taylor School; Taylor Archive; and Taylor worldwide licensing. “With characteristic wisdom and foresight, Paul Taylor left us fully prepared to carry on the important work of the Taylor Foundation without losing a step,” said Executive Director John Tomlinson. “Earlier this year, Mr. Taylor selected Mr. Novak to be his successor and worked to prepare him to assume these many duties. Under Mr. Novak’s capable leadership, we will continue to bring the unrivaled Taylor repertoire to every part of the globe, and build a flourishing institutional home for the art form Paul Taylor helped create.”
In 2014 Mr. Taylor established Paul Taylor American Modern Dance to help ensure that the art form he did so much to define flourishes long into the future. To be part of that mission and in memory of Mr. Taylor, donations can be made to the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation by clicking here.
It has grandeur, majesty and a spiritual dimension. It is also quite simply one of the best dance works choreographed by Paul Taylor.
Commissioned by the American Dance Festival to open its annual summer season at Duke University here, ”Promethean Fire,” as this premiere is called with unabashed cosmic flair, is set to Bach. It seems initially still another inspired Taylor work to Baroque music.
On another level it may be Mr. Taylor’s response to the Sept. 11 attacks. The occasional images of despair, rage and physical collapse are direct, but to reduce the choreography to any literal interpretation is to lose the breadth of its formal beauty.
Just the sheer architectonics of the complex and contrapuntal patterns overwhelm the eye. ”Promethean Fire” is a big piece, spreading 16 dancers in black velvet with glistening trim into constantly reconfigured structures. They are building blocks in the human cathedral that Mr. Taylor constructs uncannily and perfectly with such powerful emotional resonance. To say ”Promethean Fire” lifted the audience out of its seats on Saturday night at the Page Auditorium would not be an exaggeration.
Mr. Taylor’s program note speaks of regeneration in a quote from Shakespeare: ”fire that can thy light relume.” The abstract design of ”Promethean Fire” becomes a metaphor for a coming to terms and a salvation; it is not a retelling of the myth of Prometheus.
To appreciate the work mainly for its formal composition would be right. It is a plotless dance that pays tribute to Bach’s own architectonics. Yet Mr. Taylor has always argued that gesture and spatial composition are never devoid of dramatic meaning, and here he operates on several levels.
The dancers are introduced as vertical forms facing the audience, hands at their sides. Santo Loquasto’s costumes are marvelously apt: black velvet tank suits with winding ribbons rendered brown and silvery under Jennifer Tipton’s superbly dramatic and half-dark lighting. The beginning of Bach’s Toccata and Fugue in D minor breaks up the symmetry of this initial formation and spreads the dancers into horizontal lines that dominate the work. Waves of movement travel from one line to another, dancers crisscross or one line plays against the other.
Smaller units come to the fore. Julie Tice wraps herself around Robert Kleinendorst’s neck, and he holds her up in a back bend. There are an unusual number of lifts for Mr. Taylor. But one interesting aspect is that with few exceptions, the movement is not new. The Taylor idiom, with its curved arms, slides across the floor and images of women carried on a man’s hips, is in full view. After a braided chain of dancers steps across, there is increased tension and tautness among the dancers who pair off.
Whatever vertical forms existed in the imagination as humans, skyscrapers and girders, all suddenly begin to collapse. One by one the bodies fall into a heap. A splayed hand is raised and closed in a fist. Suddenly the mood changes.
Ms. Tipton turns the lighting up to bright red for the fire of despair and hope in a duet danced by Patrick Corbin and Lisa Viola to Bach’s Prelude in E flat. Nothing is specific but there is an evocation of consolation and then frustrated rage. Formal partnering with pirouettes and unison movement turns into a shoving match. The man pushes the woman into a back fall. She holds onto his ankle and then, running from one end of the stage to the other, flies into his arms in what looks like ballet’s fish dive. The audience gasps.
As usual Ms. Viola and Mr. Corbin make the difficult look passionate and easy. Their quiet music is succeeded by Bach’s grand Choral Prelude as more couples join in. The numbers of dancers change consistently. This is a work to be seen more than once if its details are to be even remotely captured by the eye. But there is no mistaking the theme of resolution as the dancers cartwheel and swivel on one knee, transforming a jubilant diagonal of five couples into the final pyramidlike grouping. A structure rebuilt. Bravo to the entire cast.
The program included two familiar Taylor works, ”Cloven Kingdom” and ”The Word.” The festival was dedicated this season to the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation for its support of new works (including ”Promethean Fire”) commissioned by the festival.