Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance

What a joy my evening was at Paul Taylor.

The curtain opened on a proscenium of yesteryear while a crackly LP played in the background. The players: A couple of Fez-wearing, gum-chewing song-and- dance men, a ballerina who loses her tiara, and a tap-dancing horse, all set to the music of Donizetti. Welcome to vaudeville, where the show always goes on and our beleaguered stage hand has to pick up the fallen dancers, clean up after them, and peal their gum off the wall (then eat it). Also Playing, though, is his beautiful closing moment in the spotlight of a naked light bulb, where he reveals the ultimate truth: he is the triple threat, singing, dancing and acting more poignantly then any of his slapstick-comedy cohorts.

If the Sharks and the Jets met on a 2016 subway, they’d find themselves in Doug Elkins’ explosive The Weight of Smoke, hip-hopping their way across the stage (and each other) in fabulous patterns and stripes, then making interludes in passionate pas de deuxs. The energy is contagious and I’m glad they have the stage at the Koch to host them, as no subway car could contain them. Starring beside them is the stunning soundtrack, a “mix tape” mash-up of Justin Levine, Matt Stine and George Frideric Handel. The closing door went bing-bong but I did not want to get off the train.

There’s snow predicted this evening but not on the stage of the Koch, where spring is truly here. The energy, synchronicity and spirits of the company were soaring as they brought in Mercuric Tidings, set to Symphonies No. 1 and 2 of Franz Schubert. Glorious movement was everywhere as the dancers celebrated the season in the bleeding pink and white of perfect tulips.