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Zachary Lewis, The Plain Dealer   |  November 06, 2017

Paul Taylor Dance Company has special gift for making, retaining avid followers (preview)

CLEVELAND, Ohio - There's a reason dancer Michael Trusnovec has been a with the Paul Taylor Dance Company his entire career, almost 22 years.

It's the same reason the company itself has lasted 63 years, and remains in demand just about everywhere, including here in Cleveland: Taylor's work simply never gets old.

"There's always something new to discover, even in dances we've done hundreds of times," Trusnovec said, by phone from Philadelphia, a few days ahead of an appearance on the DanceCleveland series at Playhouse Square Nov. 11. "It's been so easy to stay and do them for a lifetime."

They're easy to watch for a lifetime, too. Among modern dance companies, Taylor's is almost unique in its ability to make and retain converts, to hook even the staunchest of dance holdouts.

Pressed to pinpoint what it is that makes Taylor's work so appealing, so long-lasting, Trusnovec said it's a combination of its physicality and use of space, born out of Taylor's background as a swimmer, and the sheer joy the dancers exude performing it.

"There's a sense that we're not moving through empty air," Trusnovec said. "It's as if we're moving the air around us, moving through some palpable energy.

"It really does feel as good as it looks, and the exuberance from that is always great. We're always drawing them in."

Exuberance. Physicality. Depth. Those have been constants since 1954, when Taylor founded his troupe in New York. But the company, last here in 2013, has not been immune to change or to growth over the years.

The company's Cleveland program is a case in point. Not all that long ago, the company performed Taylor's work exclusively. Now, it's in the habit of commissioning and presenting work by others, including Lily York's "Continuum," a setting of Max Richter's take on Vivalid's "The Four Seasons."

Also on the program here: Taylor's "Arden Court" (which York herself premiered in 1981) and the tango-inspired "Piazzolla Caldera," from 1997.

"I never thought I'd dance anyone else's work, but right now, I'm getting the best of both worlds," Trusnovec said.

He almost got neither. Despite his self-described "voracious" consumption of Taylor's work as a student and laser-like focus on joining the company, his audition for Paul Taylor was not a success. Not initially, anyway.

Then came the call that changed his life, that kept Trusnovec from pursuing a career in film or musical theater. He and a close friend, a fellow Taylor fan, had in fact landed spots in Taylor 2, the company's expansion troupe.

Two years later, he was a member of the main company, performing all over the world and delving deeper into works he'd already known and loved for years.

"We both pushed each other, and then we both got our dream jobs together," Trusnovec said. "I've been a lucky guy."



What: Paul Taylor Dance Company

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Nov. 11.

Where: Ohio Theatre, Playhouse Square, 1501 Euclid Ave., Cleveland.

Tickets: $25-$70. Go to or call 216-241-6000.

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