By Walter Rutledge
I had planned to do a season review of the Paul Taylor Dance Company following the final performance tonight. Then last night I saw Airs! First, the company’s dancing during the entire season has been impressive to say the least. The eighteen-member ensemble is comprised of fourteen relatively new members. Due to the pandemic for many of the dancers this season is their New York City Center debut.
The performance of Airs last night was as refreshing as the Handel music; which was performed live by the Orchestra of St. Luke, with David Lamarche conductor. From the moment the curtain rose revealing Taylor’s signature opening tableau the seven-member cast commanded the stage. Every member of the stellar cast is a exceptional, but the choreography brings particular roles and dancer to the forefront.
Jessica Ferretti slow “music box” arabesque turns were both satisfying and suspenseful. Her high insteps, pure line and stop on a dime precision gave Ferretti an ethereal quality. And Devon Louis has a natural ballon that allows his jumps to defy gravity.
The true standouts in last night’s performance were Madelyn Ho and Alex Clayton. Clayton’s effortless partnering can best be described as Herculean. Their duet is the centerpiece of the work, and the two combined both power and plastique.
The season closes tonight with Taylor’s masterwork Esplanade. If you haven’t had an opportunity to see the Paul Taylor Dance Company, you have one more opportunity. The dancer’s personal investment to the movement’s intent and fleet footed attack would have made founder Paul Taylor very proud.