The Paul Taylor Dance Company presented three classic high energy works from their extensive repertoire that captivated and uplifted the audience’s spirits.

Paul Taylor, who retired as a performer in 1974 to then turn exclusively to choreography, has and continues to represent the lineage of modern dance from his performances with Martha Graham’s company in the 1950’s and bridging the foundational work of Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn and Doris Humphrey through the 21st century through his initiative at New York’s Lincoln Center.

The Wallis Michelle Cann

The evening began with the 1987 work, Syzygy with a commissioned score by Donald York, costumes by Santo Loquasto. and lighting by Jennifer Tipton. In this high velocity performance, dancers dash limberly across the stage like celestial bodies orbiting and eclipsing each other, that at times I began to visualize the movement patterns as if viewed from above the stage.

The Word, first performed in 1998 with a commissioned score by David Israel, lighting by Jennifer Tipton, and costumes by Santo Loquasto, Setup in the program with the biblical phrase, “For our God is a consuming fire,” we see the performers dressed as prep school students, showing their lack of individuality, seemingly blindly confirming in a series of rigid movements and soon joined by the presence of a mysterious nude female who intervenes to disturb their environment to a finale with the pious youths marching off in lockstep followed the nymph.

Esplande, performed to two Johann Sebastian Bach violin concertos, costumes by Santo Loquasto, and lighting by Jennifer Tipton, was Taylor’s first choreographed work in 1975, is a masterwork based on pedestrian movements of standing, walking, running, sliding and falling. The piece begins with eight dancers bursting with youthful energy, followed by them becoming disconnected and more somber, then couples engaging in romantic interplay and concluding with dancers chaotically rushing across and finally off the stage with one lone female remaining front and center with a beaming smile.

Check out more about the Paul Taylor Dance Company at
Dance at the Wallis continues with Here and Now (May 8 and 9), Matthew Bourne’s Early Adventures (May 17-21), Ezralow Dance: Primo Passo (July 13-14). For full schedule and tickets, go to