Framing of Movement


I am amazed at how Ruthie, Amanda, Michael, and their other collaborators have been able to reconstruct “Party Mix.” Thankfully there are multiple videos, each one providing a different detail for the work. The Hunter College video is a clear close up image, however the speed is incorrect and there is no music. The video from Lake Placid provides the movement to the music (mostly) and larger spatial patterns. While I watch these videos I do my best to track the individual dancers, to keep up with who is doing what, but once we get past the portion we know, I have no idea who is doing what. I’m sure once I spend more time with the videos I will have an easier time distinguishing among the dancers. I have already noticed that I have a better understanding of the decisions Paul Taylor made for “Party Mix” after seeing the Taylor Company perform last week in Fairfield, CT. We were fortunate to be able to see them perform, and two of the works we saw were Taylor’s choreography from the 80s and 90s. So while these works were significantly later than “Party Mix,” there were at least a few common themes that I noticed. So far in “Party Mix” and what I have seen in the rest of the video, Taylor will have one dancer or a group of dancers holding positions in the space, whereas a couple or one dancer will utilize the rest of the stage and engage in movement in relation to those groups. I saw this in both pieces we saw during the show, but particularly “Roses.” While not a feature of choreography unique to Paul Taylor, it was fascinating to see how he chose to use the additional dancer to create a scene for the more active dancers to inhabit. I am thinking of “Roses” in particular as the second part of the piece began, the dancers that started the piece moved towards the back of the stage and remained with their backs facing us while a duet was performed in the foreground. Seeing the low line of dancers in the back, totally changed my perception of the dancers’ lines in the downstage portion. In “Party Mix,” Taylor uses the other dancers as backdrops to help move the audience’s eye around the space and remember that the piece is about a party scene. I am thinking of particular when a group travels from stage left to stage right, while Carolyn and Paul are performing large jumps in the middle of the stage. The group travels behind Carolyn and Paul as their jumps travel them towards stage right. The group provides and interesting change of pace and draws a contrast to the height of the  jumps with their low hip swivels and shifts. I suppose then in both pieces the dancers upstage of those in the foreground are providing a contrasting level to highlight/enhance the shapes and lines that Taylor has created with the downstage dancers. I am interested to learn more “Party Mix” to see additional themes that are present in Taylor choreography and style of movement.

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