I reviewed Wednesday and Sunday’s programs for the San Francisco Classical Voice:

“Paul Taylor is 80, and his Paul Taylor Dance Company is in its 56th season, and because of these facts — well, and because of his instantly recognizable muscular yet sunny movement style, his broadly inclusive musicality, and his singular way of seeing the world as alternately bizarre and tender — seemingly everything written about him drives home the dread that we might not have him with us much longer.

The Taylor Company itself has begun to engage in prematurely posthumous-like framing, in the program materials accompanying its latest San Francisco Performances engagement, introducing Taylor as “one of history’s most celebrated artists” and labeling his works with opus numbers. Yet Taylor himself simply goes on making new dances. Over three programs at the Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ Novellus Theater last week, his 16-member troupe brought us two recent creations.

My favorite by far (which I found absolutely ravishing) was 2009’s Brief Encounters, set to Debussy’s Coin des Enfants, in an orchestration by Andre Caplet. The rich backdrop of a monastery-like hall and costumes of black bikinis and briefs are by the frequent Taylor collaborator Santo Loquasto; the ambiance and the movement draw on the primal lushness of Debussy’s score.

The 11 men and women in this dance are deeply sexual, yet deeply innocent in their sexuality; they skip, prance, snatch at each other as they run through the halls, cavort, dash off again. As usual, Taylor’s structural response to the music is loose and yet rich, because he creates an emotional progression that plays both with and against the score’s. ”

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