Performing Arts: Dance
March 25, 2022
This spring, four major dance companies are appearing under the umbrella of the inaugural City Center Dance Festival. Paul Taylor Dance Company kicks off the season followed by Dance Theater of Harlem, The Martha Graham Dance Company and Ballet Hispanico. The Taylor Company dove  into the utterly gorgeous Roses, Lauren Lovette's premiere Pentimento and the romantically idiosyncratic Brandenburgs.

Sandwiched between two major Taylor works, Lovette's Pentimentoto a score by the classical Argentine composer Alberto Ginastera excels in the ease with which the dancers embody the movement. Like Taylor, Lovette dispenses with over-wrought choreography, and instead aspires towards a cleaner palette. In fact, it makes sense to import a NYC Ballet dancer turned choreographer, because Paul Taylor actually appeared as a guest artist with NYC Ballet from 1959-1960.

Although retired from NYCB, Lovette remains an eloquent performer and her embodied experiences translate seamlessly to her interpreters. Effectively locating dancers' comfort zones, Lovette forms highly organic choreography filled with spatial clarity.  In this instance, Lovette imbued herself in the Taylor athletic style -- one that pulls dancers to the ground rather than into the heavens. Despite this earthy technique, speed remains central--similar to her native Balanchine tongue. In Pentimento a red scarf appears in the arms of a dancer and later it's passed among the 14 performers. Duets filter through the scenes, mixing genders, heights and forms traveling in tandem, lunging and lifting one another.

An open-chested expansiveness filters through outstretched arms and a surprising shimmy or two. Compassion and hope color her easily communicable choreography. Now the company's Resident Choreographer, Lovette will have an opportunity to go even deeper into her own aesthetic in communion with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

The evening included the wistfully romantic Roses and uplifting Brandenburgs.In Roses groups collect and fan out across the stage in nimble counterpoint contrasting against curved, angular forms. Five pairs of dancers share time, and when not dancing, they lay in repose, with women leaning back against men's bodies as if in a sun soaked glen. Clad in white, the lead couple scoops up huge hunks of space with elongated arms, and body lengthening dips.

Taylor's Brandenburgs, to the baroque music of Johann Sebastian Bach, establishes a classical dance frame and quickly upends it with an all-male corps followed by a trio of women who are part of a single man's entourage-- not unlike Balanchine's "Apollo." Dancers weave through thickets of dancers and sail effortlessly through the air.

Throughout the evening, the Orchestra of St. Luke's performs under the baton of David Lamarche. Currently, many of America's major modern dance companies are coping with the generational and COVID-related loss of dancers, and still, the Taylor magnetism continues to buoy this new generation.
EYE ON THE ARTS, NY -- Celia Ipiotis

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