What a difference a year can make. In January last year, the Sarasota Ballet made Paul Taylor’s “Brandenburgs” debut in a full house at the FSU Center for the Performing Arts. A virtual version was released last weekend as part of the Sarasota Ballet’s Digital Program 4.
The All Taylor program also included the bullish “Company B,” and we heard from repeaters and former Paul Taylor company member Michael Trusnovec.
“Brandenburgs” was one of the most memorable premieres of the past season and digitally just as visually appealing. The piece was performed in Bach’s Brandenburg Concerts 3 and 6 and performed brilliantly by every actor, from the director to the ensemble.
Danielle Brown, Katelyn May and Ellen Overstreet were dynamic as a trio and danced with Ricardo Graziano. Each brought a uniqueness to their solo sections, and Overstreet in particular seemed to have mastered the Bach musicality.
Graziano accompanied each of the women organically and commanded the stage during his solos. The ensemble men jumped in unison, with Daniel Pratt standing out as the strongest of the group.
“Company B” is as lively as it is less classic. It was founded in 1991 by the Paul Taylor Dance Company and is set during World War II. From the program notes: “In a groundbreaking piece of Americana, Paul Taylor remembers this turbulent era through the hits of the Andrews Sisters.”
Every emotion is there when “Company B” alternates between fun-loving swing dancing and silhouettes of soldiers falling to the ground. Highlights included Ricki Bertoni in “Tico-Tico,” Elizabeth Sykes and a hilarious flurry of men in “Rum and Coca-Cola,” as well as Ivan Spitale with his wide-eyed cast of women in “Oh Johnny, Oh Johnny, Oh!”
The most memorable was “There will never be you again” danced by Kate Honea and Richard House. The lyrical movements were accompanied by a sense of absence, a loss that was heartbreaking and breathtaking.
Although there were no toe shoes or tiaras in this program, it was wonderful to see the dancers embody Taylor style. Equally beautiful is how the Sarasota Ballet develops in this rare time in history – each digital program brings additional corporate members back on stage and allows us to continue enjoying the beauty of the dance.