Paul Taylor Dance Company Returns to White Bird with three Taylor Masterworks
PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY, WHICH LAUNCHED WHITE BIRD IN 1997, RETURNS FOR A 6TH TIME
WITH THREE MASTERWORKS BY THE LEGENDARY CHOREOGRAPHER, “ARDEN COURT,” “SYZYGY” AND
THE DAZZLING TANGO-INSPIRED “PIAZZOLLA CALDERA.”
What: Paul Taylor Dance Company
Presented by: White Bird
When: Thursday – Saturday, October 12-14, 7:30 pm
Where: Newmark Theatre, Portland’5, 1111 SW Broadway, Portland, OR
Sponsors: Jim & Susan Winkler, Lille Boutique, The Oregonian
Tickets: Starting at $26, available at whitebird.org and Portland’5 Box Office,
1111 SW Broadway (formerly PCPA) NO added fees. Discounts available for groups/students and seniors.
“Paul Taylor is the reigning master of modern dance.”
White Bird is delighted to welcome the Paul Taylor Dance Company back to Portland for the sixth time in White Bird’s 20 years as dance presenter. The Paul Taylor Dance Company launched White Bird’s first season back in 1997 and has since been a strong favorite of White Bird’s dance audience. The recipient of White Bird’s first Lifetime Achievement Award in 2013, Paul Taylor is one of the seminal artists of our time, acclaimed worldwide for the vibrancy, power and relevance of his work.
White Bird’s special 20th anniversary program, performed by Paul Taylor’s brilliant dancers, comprises three Taylor classic works, two of which appeared on White Bird’s inaugural program in October 1997, Arden Court and Piazzolla Caldera. The evening will begin with Taylor’s thrilling masterwork Arden Court, set to Baroque composer William Boyce’s effervescent music, which explores themes of love and relationships, with humor and poignancy. Especially impressive are the powerful male dancers who perform heart stopping jumps and cartwheels. When Arden Court premiered in 1981, The NY Times dance reviewer Anna Kisselgoff declared, “It is the kind of performance that rises above routine greatness. It is a dancer’s dream of a display piece, a continuum of nonstop movement.” And according to the New York Post, “Arden Court is one of the few great art works created in [the 20th] century.”
Next on the program is Paul Taylor’s explosive Syzygy from 1987, with an original score by Donald York, called “a choreographic tornado” by The NY Times. The term “syzygy” refers to the changing configurations of the planets, especially earth, sun and moon. Paul Taylor has his remarkably fluid dancers hurtle across the stage like celestial bodies, orbiting and eclipsing each other. The intricacy of the choreography is constantly manifesting itself through the ever-shifting patterns of the choreographed movement, with dancers performing either in lines, or solos, twisting about one another.
The exciting program will close with Piazzolla Caldera, Taylor’s acclaimed tribute to the Argentine tango, from 1997, which appeared on the original White Bird program in preview form. Without a single authentic tango step, Paul Taylor captures the essence of tango culture, propelled by Astor Piazzolla’s seductive music. In a dimly lit club, working class men and women confront each other in sizzling sexual duets and trios: men with women, men with men and women with women. Allen Ulrich in the San Francisco Examiner exclaimed, “The work is hot, steamy, and rife with sexual possibilities.”
Paul Taylor first presented his choreography with five other dancers in Manhattan on May 30, 1954. That modest performance marked the beginning of more than 60 years of unrivaled creativity, and in the decades that followed, Mr. Taylor has become a cultural icon and one of history’s most celebrated artists, hailed as part of the pantheon that created American modern dance. 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 Martha 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 200 years earlier, and then went to the opposite extreme a year later with a view of purgatory in Scudorama, using a commissioned, modern score. 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. 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 so many Americans made during World War II.
Mr. Taylor has 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. Awards for lifetime achievement include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship – often called the “genius award” – and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award. Having been elected to knighthood by the French government as Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1969 and elevated to Officier in 1984 and Commandeur in 1990, Mr. Taylor was awarded France’s highest honor, the Légion d’Honneur, in 2000 for exceptional contributions to French culture.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company has traveled the globe many times over, bringing Mr. Taylor’s ever-burgeoning repertoire to theaters and venues of every size and description in cultural capitals, on college campuses and in rural communities – and often to places modern dance had never been before. The Taylor Company has performed in more than 520 cities in 64 countries, representing the United States at arts festivals in more than 40 countries and touring extensively under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State. While continuing to garner international acclaim, the Paul Taylor Dance Company performs more than half of each touring season in cities throughout the United States. In celebration of the Company’s 50th Anniversary and 50 years of creativity by one of the most extraordinary artists the world has ever known, the Taylor Foundation presented Mr. Taylor’s works in all 50 States between March 2004 and November 2005
White Bird’s 20th season (2017-18) is supported by the Regional Arts & Culture Council, including support from the City of Portland, Multnomah County and the Arts Education & Access Fund; Work for Art; The James F. and Marion L. Miller Foundation, Doris Duke Charitable Foundation, M.J. Murdock Charitable Trust, Ronni Lacroute, National Endowment for the Arts, Oregon Arts Commission, Starseed Foundation, and WESTAF