On Saturday evening, Oct. 1, the Geneseo community had the chance to experience the modern dance styles of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
A reasonably full audience comprised of a diverse group of faculty and community members as well as students filed into Wadsworth auditorium, eager for the show to begin.
As the curtain opened and the first act began, the audience was greeted by the graceful sounds of Johann Sebastian Bach. The dance piece, “Brandenburg,” had a bright tone and displayed a bit more of a classical style of dance than one would expect from modern. It was hard to keep your eyes off designer Santo Loquasto’s beautiful, forest-green costumes.
The ensemble of men created a frame for the three women – Amy Young, Parisa Khobdeh and Eran Bugge – and soloist Michael Trusnovec, who seemed torn between the three women as they expressed their affection through a talented display of movement.
The next number, “The Uncommitted,” was drastically different from the bright and joyful opening. The overall mood of the piece was dark, complemented by a haunting soundtrack. The dancers moved with rhythmic precision and portrayed emotions of longing and rejection with pure intensity. This piece highlighted the dancers’ talents as actors.
The second half of the recital featured a sequence of intriguing dance combat. The dancers also paired off and told individual stories of relationships. The most captivating sequences occurred when the dancers switched partners as they fought in slow motion. Amy Young also performed a powerful solo in which she externalized all the emotion building through the dance. The only downside to this number was the unflattering costumes that resembled floral curtains in spandex form.
The program hinted that the last number would be something extraordinary. It was introduced with a quote from Chilean poet Pablo Neruda: “The flawed confusion of human beings … worn away as by the labor of hands, impregnated with sweat and smoke, smelling of lilies and urine, splashed by the labor of what we do legally or illegally… as impure as old clothes, as a body, with its food stains, and its shame, with wrinkles, observations, dreams, wakefulness, prophecies, declarations of love and hate, stupidities, shocks, idylls, political beliefs, negations, doubts, affirmations.”
The dance certainly lived up to the quotation with an electrifying display of passion, lust and Spanish culture. The gorgeous red and black attire of the dancers certainly made up for that of the previous act. One could tell that the members of the audience were in awe of what was going on before their eyes. Suspended lighting fixtures swayed occasionally adding a stunning visual effect, and a strong use of shadows radiated the theme of fire and passion.
The choreography bordered on acrobatic at some points, with joined cartwheels and other aerial displays. The show couldn’t have concluded better than with this sexually-charged vision.
When the last piece ended, the Paul Taylor Dance Company was rewarded with thunderous applause and a standing ovation. Senior Caitlin Bast said that she was quite moved by the performance. It seemed as though anyone, whether or not he or she was familiar with modern dance, unanimously admired the show and the talent of the dancers.