Missing spring with the Paul Taylor Dance Company is a little like not getting to see the blossoms in Central Park. There is always much to celebrate as PTDC brings spring to New York City. This year, it was the 50th anniversary of the seminal Taylor dance-piece "Aureole."
As you probably know, the Company moved to the David H. Koch Theatre at Lincoln Center and will be there through April 1. Here are some highlights from the NYC season:
"Syzygy" , defined in the program notes as "the configuration of three or more celestial bodies in a gravitational system," has a lot of verve. The party on stage frugs like it's 1987 as Michelle Fleet demurely balances on one leg, pointing the other as she twirls. Ms. Fleet then proves she can really cut loose as the syncopated music composed by Donald York for the dance piece. PTDC's "celestial bodies" glide and jump with ease, push and pull at each other, rise and fall and rise again.
"Company B" is a personal favorite, and at its absolute best when performed by any of the PTDC groups.
Set during WWII, "Company B" to songs sung by The Andrews Sisters, gives us snippets from the homefront, with an occasional backdrop frieze depicting the warzone. It remains a light and airy paen to a bygone Americana despite these reminders that boys die in wars. James Samson's goofy Johnny is particularly endearing in "Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!" and Eran Bugge is wonderfully seductive in "Rum and Coca-Cola."
"Gossamer Gallants" enjoyed a New York City premiere (as did "The Uncommitted," -- see review on this site at "A Gala To Launch PTDC's Spring") or rather, New York City enjoyed it. "Gossamer Gallants" is an extremely funny look at the battle of the sexes. The "gallants" in question, wonderfully costumed by Santo Loquasto, are insects, whose "gossamer" wings flutter as the girl insects, clad in light green one-piece capris, came by. Ultimately, they are menaced and oppressed by the females they started out chasing. The females wiggle invitingly from their bottoms to their antenae, until the boys, and the audience, are enthralled.
The tango-esque "Piazzolla Caldera" is another treat from the canon. The dancers' posture framed for the rigorous demands of the tango, their steps forceful and assured, yet the choreography only emulates the Spanish dance but in a totally soul-satisfying way.