Ballet Squid Chronicles: Brief Thoughts on Paul Taylor Dance Company
Tonight we caught a performance of PTDC’s 60th Anniversary tour.
Really amazing stuff — Taylor’s choreography is the work of someone clearly literate in the language of classical ballet, but able to leap beyond its boundaries and forge a kind of syncretic modern dance vocabulary suffuse with free and playful movement.
It reminded me of our Introductory Intensive with the amazing Linnie Diehl at the ADTA conference this year. We talked about Laban movement analysis, and about the qualities of movement — about how some people (and dance forms) are very formal and bound (hello, ballet!), while others are fluid and free. We also talked about how sometimes dance forms or people encompass more than one style of movement.
Paul Taylor’s choreography captures that principle: it can work within the formal vocabulary and syntax of ballet at one moment and discard it the next.
I’d love to reach a point in my own life — as a dancer, but also as a person – at which I can do that. The language of ballet works for me because I am, by nature, rather formal and bound. My best days in class, though, are the days when I’m the most free; my best moments in general happen when I manage to let go of the concept of doing things correctly and precisely and instead I just do them. This is part of why I love clubbing: I get to be free, to be moved by the music, to toss the rules out the window (don’t get me wrong — I actuality love the rules of ballet; they are the restrictions that perfect the art).
I want more of that in my life. I want to incorporate a little of Paul Taylor’s freedom into my own work as a dancer.
I think the next time I’m in New York (whenever that is…) I’m going to drop in on their daily class. I may be a ballet boy at heart, but I suspect there’s a lot I can learn from these modern dance mavens.
As for you guys out there in Internetlandia — if you get a chance to see Paul Taylor live, snap it up. And if you get a chance to dance with them (which is how I learned of their existence — they came to our class a while back), snap that up too.