Thursday, August 5, 2010

Caldera - Paul Taylor Dance Company

Paul Taylor, the dancer and choreographer, celebrated his 80th birthday last week. Our featured video today features the Paul Taylor Dance Company performing his work, Caldera, to the music of Piazzolla's Escualo. The performance was videod this week at the Vail International Dance Festival in Vail, Colorado. Taylor studied at Julliard, founded his dance company in 1954 and has danced with Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and George Balanchine. He is an icon in the dance world.

Caldera was premiered in 1997 and I believe that most dance critics would agree it is among Taylor's half-dozen best works. I have no competence to review the dance but if you Google "paul taylor caldera review" you will find more than 10,000 hits and many of them are actual reviews since Caldera has been danced by many dance companies in many cities all over the world. I scanned many of them and it is rare to find a negative comment.

The music for the dance is Escualo (it translates to shark), composed in 1979 - one of the most rhythmically challenging of all Piazzolla's work. Paul Taylor choreographed the work very specifically to the version of Escualo arranged by Svjatoslav Lips and recorded by Gidon Kremer on the CD, Hommage á Piazzolla. Curiously, today's video and many of the reviews of the work credit the music to Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Petersburski. This is an error. Although one of Petersburski's compositions appears on the Hommage á Piazzolla CD, I can assure you that he had absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with Escualo. Perhaps mention of his name is a legal necessity due to the use of the music directly from the Hommage á Piazzolla recording but it is unfortunate and is evidently replicated in the program notes at every performance of the work.

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