For more than 50 years, choreographer Paul Taylor defined and shaped American modern dance as it is known today. On Saturday, after a 14-year hiatus, Mumbai audiences will get a chance to see some of his iconoclastic compositions when his dance company Taylor 2 performs at the Kala Ghoda Arts Festival.
A smaller version of the 16-member Paul Taylor Dance Company, Taylor 2 specialises in taking the 80-year-old choreographer’s dances to a wider audience through would tours, workshops and outreach programmes.
In Mumbai, the seven-member company will perform three of Taylor’s older dance compositions – Arden Court from 1981, Runes, a tribalistic exploration of druid society, and the celebrated Esplanade of 1975, the first piece Taylor choreographed after retiring as a performer.
“People often call Paul Taylor’s dances inexplicable, but he believes in letting movement speak for itself,” said Ruth Andrian, the company’s rehearsal director, who defined American modern dance as a kind of broken version of classical ballet.
When he emerged as choreographer in the 1950s and 60s, Taylor shocked American audiences with his bold performances.
“But even his most abstract dances are based on human relationships of every kind,” said Madelyn Ho, one of the Taylor 2 dancers who will perform on Saturday.
The company began the Mumbai leg of its India tour on Thursday, by holding master classes with the city-based Expressions Modern Dance Company and Terence Lewis Dance Company, as well as a workshop with the children of Grant Road’s Seva Sadan orphanage.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company – Taylor 2 will perform before the Asiatic Library steps on Saturday at 7.30pm. The concert is free and open to public.