Up Front: Buzz with Paul Taylor Dance Company

The vision for Paul Taylor’s reimagined company, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, becomes fully realized this month with its spring season, opening March 16 and running through April 3. Rather than its usual all-Taylor programming, the group will perform commissioned premieres by choreographers Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkins, as well as Diversion of Angels by Martha Graham and two new Taylor works, Sullivaniana and Dilly Dilly. Dancer Heather McGinley, a Paul Taylor company member since 2011, takes us behind the scenes.

Heather McGinley rehearsing Martha Graham's Diversion of Angels. (Photo by Paul B. Goode, courtesy Paul Taylor Dance Company)

Dance Spirit: What’s it been like working with new choreographers?

Heather McGinley: Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkins are very different—it’s been thrilling to work with them. Larry’s style is a little bit closer to what we’re used to. Doug’s is more of a departure. His choreography involves a lot of break dancing, voguing and house dancing, so we had workshops to get the feel.

DS: Has Paul Taylor been involved in rehearsals?

HM: So far, Taylor’s let the choreographers have us to themselves. He hasn’t seen the final product yet. He’s been letting Larry and Doug do their thing!

DS: As a former Martha Graham Dance Company member, what does it mean to be able to perform a Graham piece again?

HM: It’s very exciting. We’ve been taking some Graham classes to get into the style, and I’m hoping it’ll be like riding a bike! Diversion of Angels is going to be really beautiful on the Taylor Company.

DS: Are Keigwin and Elkins letting Taylor’s style influence their choreography?

HM: Absolutely. It’s not like they came in and said, “Forget everything you know, I want you to move like this.” They’re very interested in seeing what we do with the movement they’re giving us.

DS: What will audiences take away from this new season?

HM: I think they’ll feel an excitement for the future of the company. It’s only been Paul Taylor for over 60 years, so it’s a pretty big departure and a big deal.

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