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By Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
Directed by Matthew Diamond
Artistic License Films 03/99 DVD/VHS Documentary
Only a director entranced with dance could have made a documentary as fresh and as fine as this one. With great elan Matthew Diamond salutes the idiosyncrasy and the creative genius of choreographer Paul Taylor. This modern dance innovator grew up on a farm, was a star soloist with Martha Graham in the 1950s, and then began fashioning his own avant garde creations. A tall graceful dancer in his prime, Paul Taylor is shown working with members of his troupe. Interviews with past and present members of his dance company give us a vivid behind-the-scenes look at the pain, the pleasure, the loyalty, and the camaraderie of these hard-working men and women.
One of the high points of the film is an embassy-sponsored tour of India where the Paul Taylor Dance Company is forced to perform in a less-than-perfect environment. Here discipline carries the day. Two other outstanding numbers are "Cloven Kingdom," with its acerbic commentary on human animality, and "Piazzolla Caldera," a celebration of the tango. Up for an Academy Award in the category of Best Documentary, Dancemaker is a remarkably rich and fascinating work of art.
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by Frederic and Mary Ann Brussat
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