SU, SSO to co-produce performances by Paul Taylor Dance Company
Jaime Winne Alvarez
Syracuse University and the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra (SSO) have partnered to co-produce public performances by the world-renowned Paul Taylor Dance Company Nov. 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. in the Mulroy Civic Center Theater at Oncenter. The program includes the world premiere of Taylor’s “Brief Encounters,” commissioned by the University. The performances mark the culmination of a three-week campus and community residency by the acclaimed Taylor 2 dance ensemble, which in turn launches a yearlong celebration of Taylor’s 80th birthday.
The engagement by the Taylor companies is a New York State Long-Term Dance Residency, funded by the New York State Council on the Arts. The residency and performances are also funded through a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
At an age when most artists’ best work is behind them, Taylor H’86 continues to earn acclaim for the vibrancy, relevance and power of his dances. His works offer cogent observations on life’s complexities while tackling some of society’s thorniest issues. A native of Washington, D.C., Taylor studied art and was a swimmer at SU in the late 1940s. He discovered dance and studied at the Juilliard School, and by 1954 had assembled a small company of dancers and presented his choreography.
“We’re thrilled that Paul Taylor, a legend of dance, is returning to Syracuse this fall to celebrate his 80th birthday with both a residency for his companies and the debut of a new piece,” says SU Chancellor and President Nancy Cantor. “This extraordinary moment is galvanizing our community of experts in the performing arts, highlighting our vibrant and longstanding creative partnership with the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, which is esteemed in its own right and features many musicians who teach and perform as part of SU’s faculty. Paul is one of SU’s own, so this will be as much a homecoming as a birthday celebration for one of the world’s great artists.”
“We are very pleased to be working with Syracuse University and the Paul Taylor Dance Company to bring a new dance work to life right here in Syracuse. We are grateful to the University for suggesting this exciting partnership, and we look forward to collaborating with Paul Taylor Dance Company to present a terrific performance,” says Karen Gahl-Mills, president and executive director of the SSO.
One of the world’s most exquisite dance ensembles, the Paul Taylor Dance Company has performed Taylor’s works in more than 60 countries and 520 cities. It has represented the United States at arts festivals in more than 40 countries and has toured extensively under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State.
In 1993, Taylor established Taylor 2, a six-dancer ensemble, to accommodate performance requests, teach and provide community outreach. Under the direction of Andy LeBeau, an alumnus of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Taylor 2’s repertoire includes dances spanning the broad spectrum of Taylor’s work that have been reworked for a smaller ensemble.
“There is a need in this community for young dancers to work in a consistent way with dancers of this caliber. The community residency by Taylor 2 is a wonderful and important aspect of this project,” says Carole Brzozowski, University Arts Presenter.
Beginning this week, Taylor 2’s three-week residency will consist of private master classes for students, dancers and instructors at SU Drama in the College of Visual and Performing Arts (VPA), Dance Centre North, Dance Arts Studio, Manlius Pebble Hill School, the SUNY College at Oswego and the Syracuse City School District. The ensemble will also conduct a workshop for student athletes at Nottingham High School.
In addition, Taylor 2 will hold a shadowing program for 18 local dancers in grades 9-12 who are admitted by audition only. The local dancers will rehearse with the Taylor 2 dancers for a minimum of 15 hours per week in preparation for a performance on Nov. 4, which will take place prior to a private performance by Taylor 2 at Manlius Pebble Hill School.
Free Master Classes
The Taylor 2 residency will include four free master classes open to the public. All classes take place at One Village Dance Centre, 117 Harvard Place, Syracuse (behind Boom Babies on Westcott Street). For more information, contact Michele Koziara at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Sunday, Oct. 25
“Experience the Movement of Paul Taylor Teacher Workshop”
No dance experience necessary. Using everyday movement, instructors will learn how Taylor develops pedestrian movement into a dance vocabulary that anyone can perform.
“Paul Taylor Master Class for Advanced/Pre-Professional Dancers”
Students will take a New York City-style class, without the price tag. Learn the basics of the Taylor Style with a thorough warm-up, ending with a combination from Taylor’s repertoire.
Sunday, Nov. 1
“Experience the Movement of Paul Taylor Student Workshop”
No dance experience necessary. Students will invigorate their minds and bodies with physical movement created by Taylor. Using gestures, walking, running and jumping, students will learn how Taylor turns everyday movement into dance vocabulary.
“Paul Taylor Master Class: Modern for Ballet Dancers”
For the ballet dancer who has never taken a modern class. Students will learn how to use ballet technique to make them more versatile dancers. The class will take the mystery out of modern dance with simple movement that relies on prior ballet training.
Free Film Screenings
In addition, Taylor 2 director Andy LeBeau will provide commentary before screenings of three Paul Taylor films that will be held at various locations on the SU campus. All are free and open to the public. For more information, contact Daniela Mosko-Wozniak at email@example.com or 443-0296.
Wednesday, Oct. 21
“Dancemaker” (runtime 1 hour, 35 minutes)
5:30 p.m. at Watson Theater, 316 Waverly Ave., SU campus
Nominated for an Oscar, the film is a breathtaking journey into the world of Taylor and his extraordinary dance creations. Offering a rare glimpse into the creative collaboration between the master choreographer and his hardworking dance troupe, the film chronicles the evolution of Taylor’s dances and is also filled with archival footage from his early years as a dancer.
Friday, Oct. 30
“The Wrecker’s Ball: Three Dances By Paul Taylor” (runtime 55 minutes)
7 p.m. at The Warehouse Auditorium, 350 W. Fayette St., Syracuse
Nominated for a Primetime Emmy, the film follows the chronological progression of Taylor’s three dances “Company B” (1940s), “Funny Papers” (1950s) and “A Field of Grass” (1960s). Hit songs featured include “I Can Dream, Can’t I?” and “Rum and Coca Cola” by The Andrews Sisters, “Mother Nature’s Son” and “The Lord Must Be in New York City” by Harry Nilsson, and novelties “Alley Oop,” “Itsy Bitsy Teenie Weenie Yellow Polka Dot Bikini” and “Does Your Chewing Gum Lose Its Flavor on the Bedpost Overnight?”
Saturday, Oct. 31
“Acts of Ardor” (runtime 1 hour, 24 minutes)
Noon at Grant Auditorium, SU campus
The film features three dances by Taylor: “Black Tuesday,” which is inspired by the Great Depression and recalls an era when Hollywood movie and pop music offered a glamorous antidote to the hard times facing America; “Offenbach Overtures,” a comedy of French manners and dueling officers; and “Promethean Fire,” set to the music of Bach with orchestrations by Stokowski that is a work of grandeur and majesty with spiritual dimensions.
Performances with the SSO
Culminating the Taylor 2 residency will be two public performances by the Paul Taylor Dance Company Nov. 6 and 7 at 8 p.m. in the Mulroy Civic Center Theater at Oncenter. Co-produced by SU and the SSO, the event features performances of ”Also Playing” (set to the music of Donizetti) and ”Cascade” (set to the music of Bach), and the world premiere of the University-commissioned “Brief Encounters” (set to the music of Debussy).
Under the direction of guest conductor David LaMarche, the SSO will play live music as the Paul Taylor Dance Company performs the three works choreographed by Taylor. “Cascade” will feature pianists Steven Heyman and Fred Karpoff, both faculty members in VPA’s Setnor School of Music.
Tickets for the general public are $15 and up. The public may purchase tickets through the SSO Box Office located on the street level of the Mulroy Civic Center, 411 Montgomery St., Syracuse; via telephone at (315) 424-8200 or 1 (800) 724-3810; or online at http://www.syracusesymphony.org.
Tickets are $5 for SU students and $20 for SU faculty and staff. SU patrons may purchase tickets at the Schine Student Center Box Office and must show valid SU I.D. For more information, call 443-4517. For group sales of 20 or more, contact Daniela Mosko-Wozniak at firstname.lastname@example.org or 443-0296.
For more information about the residency, public performance and commissioned work, contact the Office of the University Arts Presenter at email@example.com or 443-0296.
For more information on Paul Taylor, the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2, visit http://www.ptdc.org.
For more information on the Syracuse Symphony Orchestra, visit http://www.syracusesymphony.org.