Friday, June 09, 2006

American Dance Festival: Paul Taylor Dance Company

Yesterday was opening night of the American Dance Festival, the country's biggest contemporary dance festival and one I always look forward to! We try to attend to see all or mostly all of the performers, and this year we will only miss a few. I taught last night, so we went to the second night performance by the first troupe, Paul Taylor Dance Company, which has been around for more than fifty years.

We enjoyed the four dances presented, particularly one entitled Banquet of Vultures, a hard-hitting dance that rails against civilian leaders who wage war, cynically shown as not caring for the deaths of people including soldiers or for liberty. The other dances were Aureole, Troilus and Cressida (reduced), and Cascade. They were all good - Troilus and Cressida (reduced) was funny, but we found the first (Aureole) and last (Cascade) to seem less contemporary.

We picked tonight, and most of the other nights, as the night that the performers stayed after to take questions and have a little discussion. I asked two questions - did they intend the civilian in Banquet of Vultures to be the US Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld (no - it was meant to be a general statement against war); and how did the dancers find balance in their lives with so much focus required on their art and did criticism they might read affect them. We felt privileged to get a chance after it all broke up to speak one-on-one to a few of the dancers, Parisa Khobdeh and Orion Duckstein.

We also bought tickets to the Tuesday June 13th performance by David Dorfman Dance, Friday 16th Rhythm Suites: Kathak & Tap Dance, Tuesday 20th Private Parts, Wednesday 21st ADF Musicians Concert, Friday 23rd Pilobolus (a favorite! should we attend their Saturday show, too?!), Tuesday 27th Provinicial Dances Theatre, [having it seems to skip Emanuel Gat Dance and Shen Wei Dance Arts and possibly Doug Varone and Dancers], Sunday July 9th ADF Faculty Concert, Tuesday 11th Keigwin and Company, [missing Ronald K. Brown/Evidence], Wednesday 19th International Choreographers, and the closing night, Saturday July 22 Soledad Barrio & Noche Flamenca. I'm so excited that ADF has begun!

Oh, we also saw Art in Motion again today. They performed at Weaver Street Market at 6p; we bought dinner there and saw them perform till we had to leave around 7:15 for ADF. We're so glad that we saw them last week in an ideal setting; tonight's wasn't ideal with people not focused on the performance and many distractions - it was difficult to see and appreciate the performance.

For reference, this week's Independent has a surprisingly positive (it tends to be very tough on ADF for some reason) review of this year's festival, including a PDF-format table that can be downloaded. And of course there is the official ADF website which includes a PDF-format season brochure.


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