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Paul Taylor
American Modern Dance

Thursday, March 15, 2018 7:00 PM

Location: David H. Koch Theater

Changes

Choreography by Paul Taylor

The 1960s began in a spirit of unbridled optimism, with Americans electing the youngest President ever. That optimism was short-lived, dashed by assassinations, race riots and the nation’s tragic involvement in the Vietnam War. Changes revisits that time through songs of the iconic folk/rock group, The Mamas and The Papas. The opening section reveals snippets of popular dance steps as an announcer introduces the vocal group at a rock concert. After we’re reminded that this was the era of “free love,” the dance grows dark with sections about an impending earthquake, hallucinogenic drugs and the growing radicalization of young people as they defied authority and embraced liberation movements. In a dream sequence, a boy learning from a father figure hurts himself and is comforted by the older man. The dance climaxes with an anthem of the era, “California Dreamin’”, uniting the disillusioned young people. A program note states that while we remember the turbulent ’60s as unique, in fact they were not – 40 years later the country is again involved in an unpopular war amid demands for change, indicating that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Continuum

Choreography by Lila York  |  Music by Vivaldi

Continuum is a new work by choreographer Lila York, commissioned through “Taylor Company Commissions” and made on the Taylor dancers. Continuum is set to Vivaldi’s “The Four Seasons” recomposed by Max Richter. It is an abstract work in nine sections that offer images of contemporary life in a fraught world. It is about finding peace in a hostile environment.

Cloven Kingdom

Choreography by Paul Taylor

“Man is a social animal,” said Spinoza. Just below the surface of humans’ civilized veneer lurks an animal nature that cannot be ignored. The scene is a cotillion ball where members of high society are dressed in formal attire – the gentlemen in tailcoats and the ladies wearing gowns and mirrored headpieces. A baroque score vies for dominance with urgent, percussive 20th-Century music, reflecting the struggle between our gentler and more savage natures. As primitive impulses emerge, the women plant seeds and bear progeny, while the men seem no longer to wear tails but bear tails. They prance and stalk on all fours, and their totemic friezes suggest the prehistoric ancestors from whom we have descended. Although the dance ends on a triumphant note with social structures intact, it has become clear that we are not separate from animals, we are animals.  

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