Paul Taylor Dance Company is a contemporary dance company that tours worldwide. The company is critically acclaimed and Alberta Ballet is presenting the company for the first time. The company is presenting three works: Company B (first performed in 1991), Piazzolla Caldera, and Esplanade.
Company B is a performance that is set to the music of the Andrews Sisters that is meant to express the exuberance and hardship of the 1940s. The piece blends both the lines of ballet with the style of swing. Dancers perform wing while pirouetting across the stage. This is a fun, light performance. The movement in the piece is all in the name of fun as opposed to expressing any real hardship. All of the dancers are wearing beige and grey with accents in red. Costume design by Santo Tipton has the dancers fitting the era, with red belts and 40s hair. The music of the Andrew Sisters pulls everything together. Against a backdrop of colour that changes with each new song (lighting design by Jennifer Tipton), Company B is on the lighter side but is still a whole lot of fun to watch.
Piazzola Caldera is a fiery, passionate piece that fuses the culture of tango within its movement. The set has completely changed, with the backdrop lit in a moody red, and lanterns with lampshades that hang from the top of the set, this piece has all the elements of passion. The movement is punchy with some jaw-dropping lifts, especially in a duet piece where two male dancers (Francisco Graciano and Michael Apuzzo) move to choreography that has them moving as one. This piece set to music by Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterbushsky demonstrates the caliber and deep physicality of the dancers and Paul Taylor’s choreography.
Esplanade was first performed in 1975 and is very classic contemporary dance piece. Male dancers are costumed by John Rawlings in orange pants and leotard tops with female dancers in orange, pink and purple dresses. The choreography of this piece has a lot of movement around the stage, with dancers coming from the wings and then exiting immediately. Set to the classical music of Bach, this piece incorporates some compelling tumbles and choreography in some instances but isn’t as engaging as Piazzola Caldera.
The talented dancers of Paul Taylor Dance Company carry each piece with precision. This presentation makes for an overall compelling evening of dance. The fusion of swing and ballet is fun and the racy tango gives the evening its substance. The final performance is also a beautiful production.
Alberta Ballet’s presentation of Paul Taylor Dance Company had it’s final run in Calgary but is presenting in Edmonton November 6-7. More information is available online.
Photo Credit: Paul B. Goode