Paul Taylor Dance Company visits Opelika on tour


The Paul Taylor Dance Company performed at the Opelika Center for the Performing Arts at 7:30p.m. on Sept. 24, 2014.
This was the opening night of the East Alabama Arts performance series season. Philip Preston, director of the program, has dubbed this season with a theme: The Stage is Set.
Prior to the performance, Preston sat at the edge of the stage and spoke to the audience on what he anticipates to be an exciting season.
"It takes a great community to have great arts," Preston said.
The performance soon began with a number called Arden Court. The focus of the stage for this portion was a large pink rose backdrop.
The performance began with six muscular men taking the stage in pastel speckled tights who were soon joined by female partners dressed in a similar fabric.
According to dancer, Michael Apuzzo, the athletic look is much of what attracted him to the company.
"I immediately fell in love with the athleticism and the artistry of the choreography," Apuzzo said.
This portion was largely couple-based and had a ballet emphasis.
Arden Court was followed by a break before the American Dreamer dancers took the stage.
This portion had a wider variety of styles of dance to offer. Dancers wore costumes of a similar loose-fitting style in neutral colors, but each were unique.
Props such as fans and bonnets were also used.
The music used in this number had lyrics, unlike Arden Court, which helped illustrate what was happening in each scene.
All songs were selected by Stephen Foster and sung by Thomas Hampton.
Finally, after intermission, came the part of the show named Company B.
This section was broken up into 10 distinct parts.
The first part was performed by the entire cast. The eight parts that followed kept only two or three dancers on stage at a time before the cast came back together for the last part, which was effectively the finale.
Every portion of Company B was meant to reflect the sentiments of Americans during World War II.
When dancer, Christina Lynch Markham, reflected on what made each dance so special. She points to Paul Taylor's artistry.
"It's the way that he plays with the music and uses the stage as his canvas that makes it a beautiful dance," Markham said.

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