Taylor Dance Company
Taylor—according to Newsweek, “the world’s greatest
living choreographer”—will bring his renowned company back
to Albany on Friday.
A swimmer and art student at Syracuse University, Taylor
discovered dance in the late 1940s and switched his studies
to Juilliard. By 1954 he had assembled a small company of
dancers and had begun presenting his own choreography. Known
by his peers as an intense performer, Taylor joined the
Martha Graham Dance Company in 1955 and spent seven seasons
as a soloist for Graham, while continuing to choreograph
for his own troupe. In 1959, he appeared with the New York
City Ballet as guest artist in George Balanchine’s Episodes.
Taylor retired as a performer in 1975 and began to fully
devote his time to choreography.
Fast forward to the present, and Taylor has recently completed
his 116th work. His company, which launched its first international
tour in 1960, has since performed in more than 450 cities
in over 60 countries. Taylor has received numerous awards,
including the National Medal of Arts in 1993 and an Emmy
Award in 1992. In 1989, he was elected one of the 10 honorary
American members of the American Academy and Institute of
Arts and Letters.
The company will perform Roses, first presented in
1985 with music by Richard Wagner, Siegfried Idyll and Henrich
Baermann; Black Tuesday, featuring songs from the
Great Depression and commissioned by the John F. Kennedy
Center for the Performing Arts; and a piece commissioned
by the American Dance Festival, Promethean Fire,
set to music by Bach.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company will perform Friday (Oct.
4) 8 PM at the Egg (Empire State Plaza, Albany). There will
be an informal talk with a representative from the company
beginning at 7:15 PM, which is free to ticketholders. Tickets
are $28, $26 seniors and $14 children. For more information,
got to give Ryan Adams credit. Alt-country’s It Boy isn’t
content to rest on his laurels—honestly, it seems that the
guy doesn’t rest at all. Give him 15 minutes of downtime
and he’ll give you a double album. His latest release, Demolition,
is a selection of outtakes from recording sessions held
over the past two years or so (sessions that produced several
full-length, unreleased albums); and though it’s a modest
single-album release, there are rumors that it was originally
slated as a box set. Keep in mind that during that time,
Adams also managed to release a knockout solo debut album
on an indie label, and then an ambitious double record as
his major-label debut. Pretty productive for a self-proclaimed
“fuck-up.” The busy boy is keeping an appropriately busy
touring schedule as well, and will hit Northampton’s Calvin
Theatre on Monday.
As the frontman of Whiskeytown, Adams gained a reputation
as an erratic and self-destructive performer, and it was
implied that it was his behavior that was preventing his
talented band from gaining more than a cult following. That
assumption has been given the lie, however, by Adams’ post-Whiskeytown
focus. After releasing Heartbreaker—a simple and
stunning solo album of country-inflected melancholy—in 2000,
Adams shot from the ranks of the underground faves to that
of high-profile rock star, with pals the likes of Elton
John (who publicly proclaimed Adams’s songwriting “genius”).
His double album, Gold, surprised fans and critics
alike with its unabashed ’70s-style big rock: Van Morrison,
the Band, the Who and Captain Fantastic himself all were
referenced in Adams’s grand swinging sprawl. Demolition
kind of splits the difference, offering up spare, depressive
numbers and uptempo pop-rock in nearly equal measure.
Asked to explain his hyperactive approach to songwriting
and recording, Adams summed it up neatly to Mojo magazine:
“I just really love playing guitar and coming up with these
funky songs,” he said. “I like it the way people like sex
Ryan Adams will play the Calvin Theatre (19 King St., Northampton,
Mass.) on Monday (Oct. 7) with opening act Tegan & Sara.
Tickets for the 8 PM show are $20-$35. For more information
and tickets, call 800-THE-TICK.
of the Spirit Film & Video Festival
in its intent and scope, this festival attempts to present
a diverse and challenging look at various aspects of human
spirituality. From the workings of organized religion to
glimpses into private, mystical spiritual journeys, the
Cinema of the Spirit Film & Video Festival, in the words
of its mission statement, seeks to “honor the work of filmmakers
and videographers who celebrate the world’s great spiritual
and cultural traditions.”
The program includes a mix of local premieres and classic
films. Perhaps the most notable local debut is the 2001
release The Diaries of Vaslav Nijinsky, which begins
the festival at the Saratoga Arts Center tonight (Thursday).
In dramatizing the diaries of the legendary 20th-century
ballet dancer, filmmaker Paul Cox has crafted a work that
is not quite fiction and not quite documentary. Using the
diary text—spoken by Derek Jacobi—as a starting point, Cox
incorporates impressionistic visuals and elaborate dance
sequences into a portrait of an artist in torment. (Nijinsky
was sliding into the mental illness that would haunt the
last two decades of his life.) The Mahabharata, English
filmmaker Peter Brook’s nearly-three-hour-long version of
the seminal Sanskrit poem, is featured tomorrow (Friday).
Saturday highlights include Diary of a Country Priest,
Robert Bresson’s austere 1950 masterpiece about a young
priest making his way among the reticent and often unforgiving
people of rural France, and the recent Inuit film The
Fast Runner. On Sunday, take a journey with onetime
Harvard professor Richard Alpert, who dropped acid with
Timothy Leary and subsequently became spiritual seeker-teacher
Ram Dass in Ram Dass: Fierce Grace—another local
The Cinema of the Spirit Film & Video Festival features
over 30 films and videos starting tonight (Thursday, Oct.
3) through Sunday (Oct. 6), which will be presented at the
Saratoga Arts Center, Skidmore College, and the Saratoga
Springs Public Library. Prices range from $7-$15; some presentations
are free. Please go to www. saratogafilmforum.org for a
complete list of films, times, prices and venues, or call
584-3456 for more information.