September 28, 2000

Dance the Night Away

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For many dance lovers in the Ithaca area, the fall season will officially begin at 8 p.m. tonight. The Paul Taylor Dance Company — Taylor Two will appear tonight only, at the Center for Theatre Arts, to commence the 2000-2001 Cornell Dance Series.

This much-anticipated event will feature the works of Paul Taylor, master in the art of contemporary choreography. Taylor began his career in dance as a soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1955. He simultaneously produced and presented his own pieces in the United States and Europe, and not long after was recognized as a leader in the dance world. His first piece ever licensed to another company, Aureole, will be performed on the Cornell stage tonight. Paul Taylor has issued over 125 licenses in his career thus far.

Mr. Taylor has also been granted countless honors and awards throughout his lengthy career. Among the forty-something he has received, his 1992 Emmy Award for the documentary Speaking in Tongues, as well as his being named a 1992 Kennedy Center Honors recipient “for enhancing the lives of people around the world and enriching the culture of our nation” stand out. In addition, Paul Taylor has received three Guggenheim Fellowships, a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship Lifetime Achievement Award, holds six honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees, and was elected to knighthood under the French government’s highest honor, the Legion d’Honneur, for “exceptional contributions to French culture.”

Taylor’s second company, Paul Taylor Two, was founded in 1993 in order to expose his choreographic style through performances, master classes, and lecture demonstrations to a wider audience.

In fact, the company members will be conducting a master class before tonight’s performance, which will be held in the Center for Theatre Arts for Cornell dance students.

Specifically a touring troupe, Taylor Two has taken the choreographer’s works to audiences worldwide. In addition to traveling extensively throughout the continental United States and Alaska, the company has toured to the Baltics and India, and has given both performances and master classes in those countries. They have conducted over 80 master classes within the New York City Public School system alone, and continue to seek new audiences.

The Taylor Two company is composed of six talented dancers, as was the original ensemble of 1954. Most of the dancers have only recently joined. For example,two dancers (Susan Dodge and Shanti Guirao) have been with the company for one season only, yet their backgrounds have been instrumental in enabling them to perform the Taylor style with exceptional ability. Most of the members have either previously trained with professional contemporary dance companies, such as the Parsons Dance Company and Ballet Hispanico of New York, or have received dance training from university programs, ranging from Southern Methodist University to SUNY Purchase College.

Whatever their background, tonight’s Cornell audience can expect to be awed. The repertoire includes four very distinct pieces, all of which demonstrate the range of Taylor’s work.

Archived article by Pamela Kelly