Supporting the Arts in Western Massachusetts and Beyond

November 15, 2008

Paul Taylor Dance Company

Fine Arts Center, UMass, Amherst
by Stacy Ashley

One of the world’s most renowned choreographers revived three popular classics that helped shape what contemporary dance is today. Spending six decades in dance, Paul Taylor brought his creativeness to a new audience.

Arden Court opened the evening with romantic elegance set to music by Baroque composer, William Boyce. With a background reminiscent of local artist Donna Estabrook, the dancers braided themselves within one another moving through syncopated jumps and turns, to simply walking across the stage.

As much as Arden Court was about love, Eventide was about love lost. Set to the bittersweet Suite for Viola and Orchestra and Hymn-Tune Prelude, the dancing focused on couples coming together only to be separated in the end. One of the most poignant moments came at the end when couples walked toward each other in a line, but were then pulled apart by an unseen force. The final couple reached for each other, but only in vain.

The last piece, Le Sacre Du Printemps (The Rehearsal), was quite different from the previous two, and shows off Taylor’s sense of humor. The context is a ballet company rehearsing for a detective-type ballet. There were the usual characters --The Girl, The Private Eye, The Crook, The Mistress, Henchmen and Police etc. Although it became difficult to discern the many layered plots, the dancers infused each character with real emotion. Just like a real Whodunit, there were surprises and twists that evoked shock and laughter.

With a collection of over 128 pieces, Taylor might want to consider his new audience and bring back even more!