Dance review: Paul Taylor presents playtime at Lincoln Center

Paul Taylor's "Offenbach Overtures" offers silly sentiments. Credit: Paul B. Goode
Paul Taylor’s “Offenbach Overtures” offers silly sentiments.
Credit: Paul B. Goode

Paul Taylor’s opening night at Lincoln Center primarily evoked exasperation. The last modern-dance master standing, Taylor boasts a troupe of superlative performers and witty designers, but the material onstage was mostly lightweight.

The gala bill mingled samples from early to new works. The recorded music (Bach, New Orleans jazz, Heinichen, Offenbach) sounded a bit tinny on the speakers at what used to be the New York State Theater; its original tenants always worked with live orchestras.

The show opened with “Junction,” an athletic piece from 1961 designed by painter Alex Katz. To a transcendent Bach cello suite, eight dancers in color-block leotards tumbled and strode across the large stage; sometimes a woman balanced precariously on the body of a crouched man. The juxtaposition of sleek physicality with the somber tones of the music was groundbreaking in its day.

Taylor’s legendary “3 Epitaphs” is set to New Orleans funeral-march jazz. In dark leotards and helmets that totally obscured their faces, five dancers shrugged and shambled and leaned on one another, striking odd, simian poses that might be construed, if one were feeling testy, as racist portrayals. The outfits sported tiny round mirrors on gloved hands and heads; this 1956 work prefigures later, better dances in which mirrors also flash light into viewers’ eyes.

The pastoral “Perpetual Dawn” is a new piece that set peasants gamboling in a meadow. For the most part men pursued maidens, though a couple of guys did hold hands and Michelle Fleet often found herself alone. We’ve seen this structure and these sentiments before from Taylor.

The jokey “Offenbach Overtures” completed the program. Twenty-one dances are showing this season, including Taylor’s unique take on Stravinsky’s “Rite of Spring.”

If you go
Paul Taylor Dance Company
Through March 24
David H. Koch Theater
Columbus Avenue at 63rd Street,
$10-$160, www.ptdc.org


News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
National

Train selfie star who got kicked in the…

  A 22-year-old Canadian man who posted a video of himself getting kicked in the head by a train conductor is set to cash in…

National

Call of Duty hoaxer blamed for $100K SWAT…

A heavilly-armed SWAT team and an army of police officers stormed a Long Island home fearing a grisly double homicide – only to find it…

National

Minnie Driver tweets naked celebrity snap to 'shut…

Actress Minnie Driver has responded to bitchy critics who sniped about her bikini body by Tweeting a naked picture of herself. The 44-year-old star of…

National

American middle classes no longer world's richest (guess…

America's middle classes are no longer the richest in the world – having been overtaken in the wealth stakes by their Canadian counterparts. For almost…

The Word

Lupita Nyong'o is People's Most Beautiful

Congratulations to Lupita Nyong'o, officially the most beautiful human on the face of planet Earth (2014 season).

Television

John Turturro tags in for Robert De Niro…

The cast of the courtroom drama miniseries has undergone yet another shift. Following Robert De Niro's exit, the cable network has brought in John Turturro…

Television

TV watch list, Tuesday, April 22: 'Glee,' 'Agents…

'Glee' Rachel makes her Broadway debut in "Funny Girl." Remember when she was just a high school drama nerd? FOX, 8PM 'Marvel's Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.'…

The Word

Lindsay Lohan's big, drunk interview

Lindsay Lohan appears to be completely off the wagon now, if Kode magazine's chronicle of her trip to Coachella is any indication. According to the…

NBA

Nets settle for 1-1 series tie with Game…

DeMar DeRozan, who was an All-Star this season, hit two huge jumpers back-to-back to give the Raptors an 89-85 lead over the Nets with 2:10 to play.

NHL

Rangers reclaim home ice with Game 3 road…

The Rangers jumped out to a 2-0 lead early in the first period for the second straight game. This time, they held on.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers,…

MLB Power Rankings: Brewers best in baseball, Dodgers, Cardinals, Yankees surge. The A's, Braves, Rangers, Giants and Rockies are also in the top 10.

NBA

Jason Kidd reacts to Mike Woodson being fired…

Jason Kidd played for Mike Woodson last year and Joe Johnson spent four seasons being the main focus on offense for Woodson in Atlanta.

Wellbeing

Why you need a facial

What can a facial do for your face that a washcloth and soap can’t?

Wellbeing

How to burn off all that Easter candy

Sorry to be a buzzkill, but you can't eat chocolate eggs and Jelly Bellys forever.

Food

Powdered alcohol: 5 things to know about 'Palcohol'

What's the deal with powdered alcohol? Here's what you need to know about Palcohol.

Travel

Travel hacks: 6 tips on living out of…

Lynne Martin shares her travel hacks on living out of just two suitcases.