The Sarasota Ballet kicked off its 22nd season with an exciting performance by one of the most notable contemporary dance companies in America — Paul Taylor Dance Company. Formed by the legendary choreographer, himself, the Paul Taylor Dance Company is based in New York City but spends its seasons touring the United States performing some of Taylor’s 137 innovative and humorous dances.
Making this performance of the Paul Taylor Dance Company even more significant is that Sarasota was the only Florida stop in its 2012-2013 touring season. Before the curtain, Sarasota Ballet Director Iain Webb professed his enthusiasm and excitement about hosting the company, and that energy carried on throughout the entire performance.
The company opened with Taylor’s “Gossamer Gallants,” which is a comedic piece inspired by the mating rituals of the insect world. Set to music by Bedrich Smetana: dances from “The Bartered Bride,” the piece opens up with a group of male flies buzzing about the stage with their hands and arms quickly rubbing together simulating the movements of the actual insects as if they were in a swarm. Suddenly the male pack falls victim to the charms of female fireflies that quickly take charge of the swarm with their sensual movements and finally dominate the flies in the finale. It’s a rarity in dance to see the females winning out, and it was ultimately amusing to watch.
The program took a more metaphorical turn with Taylor’s newest piece, “The Uncommitted,” which is set to the beautiful music of Arvo Pärt: “Fratres,” “Mozart-Adagio,” “Ricercar” and “Summa.” Using the emotionally charged music, Taylor illuminates the human struggle of forming relationships through multiple solos. The dancers would come together on stage and repeatedly leave one person behind who would struggle with his or her loneliness and demonstrate that feeling with different dance moves representing despair, anger, loss and more.
The final piece of the program was “Cascade” that, unfortunately, was an anticlimactic end to the show. It’s a beautiful piece with pretty costumes by Santo Loquasto and classic music by Johann Sebastian Bach, but it seemed like a better opening piece rather than closing.
All together, the entire evening was a fabulous performance by the strong and technically great Paul Taylor dancers, which is a great teaser to the Sarasota Ballet’s November show when it will dance Paul Taylor’s “Company B.”.
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