We sat down with Paul Taylor Dance Firm (PTDC)’s freshman member Austin Kelly to speak concerning the firm’s return to the David H. Koch Theater for its upcoming Lincoln Heart season. Whereas different Taylor dancers will really feel proper at residence, it will likely be Kelly’s first time stepping on the famend stage.
Kelly was employed in 2021, however had been across the firm since 2018. He was an intern with the reserving and touring coordinator on the time, and organized to take firm lessons. He additionally attended among the Taylor intensives. Whereas he’s carried out with the corporate just a few occasions thus far this 12 months, that is his first Lincoln Heart season with PTDC.
Was Paul Taylor on the prime of your organization record if you had been seeking to begin dancing professionally?
“Sure. After my very top quality taking Taylor, I assumed, ‘That is the corporate I wish to dance with for the remainder of my life.’”
What connects you to the motion? What feels at residence about it?
“In faculty, I needed to take a variety of ballet, Graham and Limón, and people simply didn’t really feel pure to me. However I’m proportionate to a Taylor dancer; I’ve a bigger again, my torso is lengthy. That really put me at an obstacle in Limón or Graham, however it gave me a bonus with Taylor. All the pieces felt so pure. All of his Taylor-isms made a lot sense to me – the wrapping, the scoops, the Vs… it simply clicked.
Through the first six months of my time right here, I had to purchase new pants as a result of my quads obtained larger. I had to purchase new shirts as a result of my again and shoulders obtained larger. In ballet, it’s all concerning the intrinsic muscle groups, however that is all massive muscle teams. You’re sprinting, leaping. It’s exhausting athletics.”
What are a few of your favourite Taylor items?
“Thus far, I’ve carried out Aureole, which is what put Paul Taylor on the map. It form of marked when he turned the dance maker we all know him to be reasonably than an avant-garde choreographer. I carried out that on the Joyce Theater in June; that was the dream position.
A month later, I did Cloven Kingdom. There’s this males’s quartet in it the place the gents come out in tuxedos. It’s most likely seven minutes, however it was essentially the most athletic seven minutes of my life. The primary time I carried out it, I got here off stage, collapsed and threw up. And the three guys I carried out it with had been like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s regular. Welcome!’ For the Lincoln Heart programming, Firm B is one I’m actually excited to do. I’m stepping in to Michael Apuzzo’s outdated position, who retired in March. It’s actually humbling to step into such an enormous position inside my first 12 months. I like Firm B. I liked watching it, and now doing it’s the cherry on prime.”
Do you see qualities or habits in older PTDC members that you just wish to undertake for your self?
“Oh my gosh, sure. On a regular basis. I can’t emphasize this sufficient: the folks on this firm are wonderful. After they contact the stage, and even in rehearsal or class, they’re performing. It’s mesmerizing. Even of their stillness, I’m captivated by them, simply standing there with goal. They will maintain focus. After they’re trying throughout 1000’s of seats, you’ll be able to inform that they’re seeing one thing; their eyes aren’t simply glazed over.
One other factor I’m engaged on is to soak up the second. We assume characters, however they’re humanized variations. It appears like Paul was finally concerning the human situation and expertise. So reasonably than placing on a façade, how can I amplify what this character is feeling in a humanistic approach? These dancers do this so naturally. They’ve most likely labored on it for years, however it feels pure. Paul was the grasp of sunshine and darkish dances, and these dancers can do essentially the most lovely issues after which create most ugly characters. The dichotomy is fascinating.
Eran Bugge has been with Taylor since 2005, and we went to the identical faculty. She taught a masterclass whereas I used to be there. It was so cool to bounce with a Taylor titan like her whereas I used to be nonetheless a school child. And now I get to bounce together with her on stage Lincoln Heart? Like, come on. Come on! That’s insane. Sorry, I may go on and on about my co-workers!”
It sounds such as you’ve absorbed a lot of the Taylor historical past. You’re one of many first generations of PTDC dancers to affix after Paul’s passing. How do you see the veteran firm members cross on his imaginative and prescient and artistry to newer members like your self?
“I got here in after he handed away, which was unlucky. I’m grateful for the individuals who’ve been right here earlier than me who actually preserve his concepts alive. Individuals who started working with him, and the tales they inform. These tales piece collectively the character he was. I by no means obtained to satisfy him; I’d solely examine him in textbooks. Though that makes me unhappy, it additionally makes me grateful for folks like Bettie de Jong, who was his muse and is now our rehearsal director. She simply celebrated her 60th 12 months with the corporate. I simply got here from a rehearsal the place I heard her clarify – Paul wished this. Paul did not like this. With out her, we’d drift off into interpretations. However the alumni come again and say, ‘Nicely, when Paul was choreographing this on me…’ and ‘Right here’s what he was fascinated about when he was creating this phrase…’ and that’s simply so cool. I wish to embody what they felt once they had been in that creation with Paul. It retains me tied to his legacy.”
See Austin Kelly and the PTDC members on the Koch stage on the Lincoln Heart from November 2-13. Tickets begin at $15 and are at the moment on sale. You possibly can catch a seat on Opening Night time on November 1 for simply $10, on sale Monday, October, 17, at 12pm. Programing consists of Artwork in Court docket, Firm B, Gossamer-Gallants, Syzygy, Scudorama and others. For tickets and extra data, go to www.davidhkochtheater.com/tickets-and-events/paul-taylor
By Holly LaRoche of Dance Informa.