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IF DANCE is poetry in motion, then the work of Paul Taylor, the last living member of the pantheon that created modern dance, is a limerick.

Seemingly simple, funny, but with a stark message underneath, Taylor's extensive -- and highly acclaimed -- body of work boasts of 134 styles, making him one of the most sought after names in contemporary dance.

Now, thanks to the American Center and the Shreyasi International Dance Festival, Delhi will have the opportunity to see his travelling ensemble, Taylor 2, perform three pieces: Arden Core, Runes, and Esplanade.

Taylor 2 is a six-member company founded in 1993 to ensure the maestro's work could be seen around the world. "These performances are very different from each other," says Justin Kahan, one of the travelling troupe's six members.

"Arden Core is about relationships and how dysfunctional they can be. Runes is a darker piece with tribal overtones whereas Esplanade is, how do I say it, more pedestrian," Kahan adds, pointing out that Taylor chose these pieces for the kind of diversity they have to offer in terms of style and subject.

Taylor's choice of subjects is as famous as his dancing style, so much so that his mentor, the legendary Martha Graham, famously declared in the 1950s that he was the "naughty boy" of dance. He put incest in the spotlight in the 1970s and highlighted marital rape and intimacy among soldiers in the battleground in the 1980s. At 81, an age when most artistes retire, Taylor is poking fun at American imperialism and feminism, and he is doing it with his signature iconoclastic style and youthful vibrancy.

A vibrancy reflected in the average of his troupe -- 23 -- and the experience that these young dancers come with. All of 20, Alana Allende, who has been dancing since she was three, says the one thing she loves about dancing is its universality. "I don't know of any Indian dance form," she says candidly.

"I have heard of Bollywood but I learn that it isn't a dance form, and yet I see our dance being appreciated greatly here. This is the beauty of dance. It makes the tough life of a dancer worthwhile." The travelling troupe promises to make life worthwhile for the city's dance lovers.

--Paul Taylor 2 will perform this evening at the Shreyasi International Festival of Dance, Siri Fort Auditorium, 7 p.m. Entry by invitation only.

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Publication:Mail Today (New Delhi, India)
Date:Feb 18, 2011

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