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Paul Taylor Dance Company: Black Tuesday

This dance set to popular songs from the Great Depression is an engaging mix of joy and sorrow.

Annmaria Mazzini in Black Tuesday
(© Lois Greenfield)
Over the years, the great choreographer Paul Taylor has proved time and again that he can make magic using the music of popular American culture -- most-notably in his crowd-pleasing piece, Company B. In his 2001 piece Black Tuesday, which the Paul Taylor Dance Company is reviving during its City Center season, Taylor creates an engaging mix of joy and sorrow out of the songs of the Depression-era.

Swathed in Santo Loquasto's period-appropriate costumes -- and dancing in front of iconic New York-location projections (the sets are by Loquasto and the lighting is by Jennifer Tipton) -- the 13 dancers portray such archetypes as streetwalkers, ne'er-do-wells, and unemployed workers populating the streets.

While so many of Taylor's dances are showcases for the company's male troupe; it's the women who get the flashiest roles here -- and take great advantage of the spotlight. The company's leading lady, Annmaria Mazzini (who is retiring after this season) gives an intense solo performance in the gritty "The Boulevard of Broken Dreams," her body often hurled to the ground in despair.

Elsewhere, Jamie Rae Walker brings a proper sense of mischief to "I Went Hunting and the Big Bad Wolf Was Dead"; and Parisa Khobdeh displays a delicious energy as a pregnant lady during "Sittin' on a Rubbish Can," and Amy Young, Michelle Fleet, and Eran Bugge make valuable contributions.

The gentlemen also get their share of memorable moments, notably Robert Kleindorst as the cigar-smoking pimp in "Are You Making Any Money?" and Michael Trusnovec, who adds poignancy to the work's final number, "Brother, Can You Spare a Dime," which ends with a gesture that lingers long after the lights have gone down.


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