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For the week of Mar. 15 through Mar. 21, 2000

Athletic, erotic and
full of passion

New York’s Taylor 2 dance company hits Hailey on
national tour


Taylor 2

Taylor 2, an off-shoot of New York’s legendary Paul Taylor Dance Company, has been called the "best new dance company in New York." The six dancers in the company perform choreographer Paul Taylor’s modern dances at the Wood River High School in Hailey Friday and Saturday at 8 p.m. Photo by Johan Elbers


By HANS IBOLD
Express Staff Writer

Cutting edge contemporary dance comes to the valley this weekend, when Taylor 2, the New York-based off-shoot of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, performs at Wood River High School in Hailey.

Six dancers will perform six dances, Airs, Arden Court, Funny Papers, Images and Runes and Esplanade, choreographed by Paul Taylor especially for Taylor 2.

Presented by the Sun Valley Center for the Arts, the company performs Friday and Saturday nights at 8 p.m. in the high school’s auditorium.

Paul Taylor has been a dominant force in dance for 45 years, and he’s been honored as such. He was knighted by the French; received a Guggenheim Fellowship and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship; received six honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees; won an Emmy; and was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. The list goes on.

With that kind of prestige and acclaim, his Paul Taylor Dance Company grew into one of the largest dance companies—and some say the best—in the world. But it also meant that his work was only being seen in big cities, on big stages and in front of audiences with big wallets.

That changed in 1993, when Taylor had an epiphany.

"He decided he wanted to reinvent himself," said John Tomlinson, Paul Taylor Dance Company’s director of operations. "He realized that his work was more and more being performed in cities and less and less in rural communities. When he started in the 1950s, it was six dancers in a station wagon trying to introduce America to modern dance."

Taylor 2 harks back to those wagon days, when Taylor’s focus was on community outreach.

"It’s a new company of equal stature to the first, but it’s flexible and affordable enough to go almost anywhere," explained Tomlinson. "Taylor 2 concentrates on getting into communities where there’s a passion for modern dance but not the resources to bring in a huge modern dance company."

The dancers, who are rehearsed by Paul Taylor, tour 35 weeks each year and have spanned the globe with Taylor 2.

In 1994, the U.S. Information Agency sponsored a tour that sent the dancers to six African nations. In 1996, they gave performances and taught classes in the Baltics and did the same in India the following year. Most of their time, however, is spent in the U.S. offering performances and classes in what Tomlinson called "the heartland."

As for the dances choreographed for Taylor 2, each reflects the athleticism, humor and range of emotions that are typical of Paul Taylor’s work.

"Paul’s work is incredibly athletic, energetic, full of passion, erotic and very beautiful, although sometimes things will be intentionally odd or ugly," Tomlinson said.

The dances are, however, accessible.

"People get afraid of modern dance because they think they’re not going to understand it, but that’s not the case with Paul’s work," Tomlinson said. "Dance should be for the eyes as music is for the ears. You listen because it’s nice to listen to. Appreciating modern dance is an emotional process, not an intellectual process."

There will be some intellectualizing in the master classes Taylor 2 dancers are offering during the weekend. The six dancers will share Paul Taylor’s vocabulary and techniques with Footlight Dance Centre and Ballet School students.

Tickets for the Friday and Saturday performances are $20 or $18 for Center members. For more information, call 726-9491.

 

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