Northeastern Illinois University Jewel Box Concert Series presents Paul Taylor 2
Paul Taylor, one of the most recognized choreographers of American modern dance, established Paul Taylor 2 in 1993 to ensure that the works of the Paul Taylor Dance Company could be toured across the U.S. and the globe. Modeled after Paul Taylor’s original six-member company, Paul Taylor 2 is comprised of six artists who have performed in all fifty states and also work closely with New York State and New York City Schools to provide educational programming through dance.
Paul Taylor 2’s performance at Northeastern Illinois University showcased the variety of Paul Taylor’s choreography while staying true to Taylor’s style and aesthetic.
A Taste of Paul Taylor
The evening’s first piece, Arden Court, originally choreographed in 1981 to excerpts of William Boyce’s Symphonies Nos.1, 3, 5, 7 and 8, starts with the dancers bursting through the space, leaping, and jumping through the air. The symphonic music fills the theater giving a joyous start to the performance.
The dancers’ buoyant jumps and sweeping arm movements in Arden Court gives an introduction to the movements and shapes that are characteristic of Paul Taylor’s choreography. The classical lines of the dancers arms and legs, extending in straight lines from their bodies, give a nod to shapes typically seen in ballet, then shift in dynamic to create new and more contemporary shapes of Taylor’s own invention.
Changes in Space and Time
While Arden Court is jubilant and cheerful, the next piece Dust takes a slightly darker turn. Choreographed in 1977, Dust transports us to a different world, the dancers becoming creature-like and animalistic while crawling on the ground, their movements more constrained and gestural, as opposed to the lightness and freedom displayed in the previous work.
Dust also incorporates comedic elements, beginning with two dancers covered completely by black capes while they dance. The individual notes of the music, Concert Champetre by Francis Poulenc, are mimicked through the quick footwork and arm gestures by the dancers, giving moments of humor amongst the dark tone of the piece.
If Dust takes us to a different world, the last piece of the evening CompanyB takes us back in time. The upbeat end to the night features short vignette dance numbers to songs sung by the Andrews Sisters such as Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh, Boogie Woogie Bugie Boy (of Company B), and Bei Mir Bist du Schon. The dancers combine swing dance, jazz, and the popular dances of the 40s, with a Paul Taylor modern dance twist, to take us back in time for an entertaining and fun 1940s dance party.
To learn more about the Paul Taylor Dance Company or Paul Taylor 2 visit the Paul Taylor Dance Company website and visit the Northeastern Illinois University Jewel Box Series webpage for more information about upcoming performances in this series.
About the Author:
Hayley Ross graduated from Ohio University in 2016 with degrees in Dance and Journalism. She currently works in the Marketing department at Hubbard Street Dance Chicago as the Communication Coordinator. Learn more about Hayley at hayleyross.weebly.com