Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to Boston with a regional premiere and fresh looks at its iconic choreography
On the cusp of celebrating 70 years since its founding – and with new artistic leadership aiming to honor its founder’s legacy and engage new choreographers – the Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to Boston April 14-16, 2023 for three performances presented by Celebrity Series of Boston.
The performances features two of Paul Taylor’s most popular and influential works (1988’s Brandenburgs and 1991’s Company B), as well as the recently commissioned Somewhere in the Middle, by Amy Hall Garner who studied at The Juilliard School.
In bringing Paul Taylor Dance Company back to Boston, Celebrity Series President and Executive Director Gary Dunning says the appeal of the Company’s catalog has only grown in stature since they were created, and after Taylor’s passing in 2018. “Boston audiences have turned out for this company since they began coming to town,” Dunning says. “Under the vibrant new leadership of Artistic Director Michael Novak, the mix of Paul’s indelible creations and new work from contemporary choreographers ensures we will have audiences on their feet for years to come.”
Among the newest additions to PTDC’s repertoire is Amy Hall Garner’s Somewhere in the Middle, which premiered last fall and marries Taylor’s movement DNA to the inherent qualities of jazz to reflect the vibrancy, interdisciplinary collaboration and multiculturalism that infuses American-born music and dance styles. Colorful costumes and a steady stream of matching clouds, both with painterly touches, catch the eye as adrenaline-fueled choreography highlights the athleticism and talent of the Taylor dancers.
Paul Taylor’s Brandenburgs (1988) boasts some of the dancemaker’s most elegant choreography, closely tied to the Johann Sebastian Bach concertos that inspired it. The dance flows seamlessly on the music while illuminating its layered touches. On a spare black stage – with dancers adorned in green velvet costumes and touches of gold – the work is formal and structured, evoking balletic efficiency and baroque precision, with poignant expression and powerful athleticism.
Taylor’s Company B juxtaposes the high spirits of 1940s America with the human toll of a young nation at war. Musical selections from the period’s popular close-harmony singers the Andrews Sisters are equally joyful and melancholic. The songs and these dances they inspired had poignant dualities – depicting a nation surging with high spirits while millions of young men bid farewell, fearing they may not return from battle.
One of the best-known and most dynamic modern dance ensembles of our time, the Paul Taylor Dance Company has been innovating and transforming the artform of modern dance since 1954. With a history of multidisciplinary collaborations, passionate expression and thrilling athleticism, the Company is known worldwide for a vast repertory, performing work from the founder’s canon as well as new works by established contemporary choreographers, and important historical dance from the 20th and 21st centuries.
Paul Taylor Dance Company plays at Boch Center Shubert Theatre: Fri., April 14 @ 8 PM; Sat., April 15 @ 8 PM; and Sun., April 16, 2023 @ 3 PM. Tickets start at $39 available online at celebrityseries.org.