Paul Taylor Dance Company opened its inaugural season at Lincoln Center last night with a 50th anniversary performance of Paul Taylor's 1962 creation Auerole! Every seat in the house cost $3.50 which was the top ticket price back in 1962.
A few of us remember 1962. The time was all about dance: The Twist, The Peppermint Twist, The Watusi, The Mashed Potato, The Locomotion. Those were the good old days when The Duke of Earl Shot Liberty Valance and Sealed It With A Kiss to Johnny Angel down in Palisades Park where The Stripper named Ramblin' Rose, who was actually Bobby's Girl, Limbo Rocked with her Good Luck Charms, Shiela and Sherry, that is, Sheh-eh-ry, and the Soldier Boy named Norman was A Rebel who Just because he doesn't do what everybody else does, that's no reason why we can't share love. Haglund remembers it well. He was ten.
The good old days of dance were bettered last night. The current Taylor dancers were like a gleaming, perfectly calibrated, modern fuel injected engine that had been inserted into the classic choreographic body. They maneuvered the swerves, swivels, loops, parallel cabrioles, and the parallel skiiing glissades with a humming energy that made Auerole a pure joy to watch.
Later they shifted into a piston-pumping 5th gear performance of Taylor's glorious Brandenburgs to Bach's concertos with the brilliant Michael Trusnovec leading the way and Eran Bugge not far behind. It was one of those performances where you could feel the energy building in the audience as it watched the intricate patterns of movement develop, accelerate, and redesign themselves. Brandenburgs looked as much at home on the stage in the House of Balanchine as Concerto Barocco does. If the hints of possible PTDC/NYCB collaborative programing are for real, a great opening program would be Brandenburgs and Barocco together.
The evening's program also included the comedic Troilus and Cressida (reduced) with Robert Kleinendorst as the King of Troy who frequently and hilariously had trouble keeping his purple sweatpants up during his PdD with Jamie Rae Walker's amorous Cressida. (LOL, it brought back Lincoln Center memories of a certain Romeo's total humiliation of ABT in 1988.)
The final dance on the program was Piazzolla Caldera, a piece of pure genius which Taylor made in 1997. Santo Loquasto's designs included bustiers for the women and lamps that hung from the ceiling and swayed in their own choreography. All of the dancers sizzled in the tango-inspired moves. Such a delicious piece to end the evening.
The only complaint about the evening might be with the overall lighting of the stage. It didn't seem that the theater's lighting technical wizardry was being used, and sometimes things looked a little under-lighted. Also, it was weird having the house lights around the rings completely darkened instead of dimmed.
The theater was packed to the very back of the 4th Ring with a crowd that seemed evenly mixed among young, middle aged, and seniors, but it wasn't the basic crowd that you usually see at NYCB performances. Haglund overheard a woman remark, "I don't think that I've ever been in this theater." So it seems that while PTDC will attract new audiences to its performances by moving to Lincoln Center, the Center itself will enjoy new patronage from having PTDC as a resident. All good.
What a great evening. Here's a hot tangerine tango Pump Bump Award for the Paul Taylor Dance Company for its awesome inaugural performance at Lincoln Center!