What a lavish, generous season! We’ve had the happy return of the subtly pleasing Arabesque (Debussy); the surprise return of the long-gone Junction (1961—another veteran of half a century) with its bright primary colors and clever, assertive moves (pretty blonde Jamie Rae Walker, all folded up, handed from boy to boy as a perfectly content little package); the profundities of Taylor’s recent meditation on war and death, Beloved Renegade; the always welcome greater and lesser hits—Company B, Cloven Kingdom, Mercuric Tidings, Piazzolla Caldera, Brandenburgs, Promethean Fire, Syzygy, Roses. And of course Esplanade.
This is a repertory that must survive, and to ensure that it does, the parade of extraordinary dance talent must march on. Consider: Taylor’s finest dancer, Michael Trusnovec, is now in his mid-30s—he and Amy Young are the company’s senior dancers. He was astonishing from the first for his explosive virtuoso technique—explosive, yet somehow contained and spare—but also for the refinement of his posture and carriage. Today we see that, like Baryshnikov, he has ceaselessly worked to become as fine an artist as an executant. Whether as the “Beloved Renegade” or the Apollo-like figure in Brandenburgs, or the murderous father in Big Bertha, or in any of the more abstract works that he anchors, he is a paradigm of style, intensity and modesty. So what happens when he too eventually walks away? There’s a clutch of younger men moving into central roles, and we can’t know whether any particular one of them will become not his replacement but his successor. On the other hand, there’s the newest guy, Michael Novak. His look is deceptively bland, and he doesn’t make a play for your attention, but from performance to performance his intelligence, musicality and artistry grow. He could be the One—if there’s going to be a One. Start watching. We’ll all be watching. Paul Taylor is watching.