Paul Taylor’s Austin Kelly Lincoln Middle

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We sat down with Paul Taylor Dance Firm (PTDC)’s freshman member Austin Kelly to speak in regards to the firm’s return to the David H. Koch Theater for its upcoming Lincoln Middle season. Whereas different Taylor dancers will really feel proper at house, it will likely be Kelly’s first time stepping on the famend stage. 

Kelly was employed in 2021, however had been across the firm since 2018. He was an intern with the reserving and touring coordinator on the time, and organized to take firm courses. He additionally attended a number of the Taylor intensives. Whereas he’s carried out with the corporate a couple of occasions up to now this 12 months, that is his first Lincoln Middle season with PTDC. 

Austin Kelly in 'Cloven Kingdom'. Photo by Ben McKeown.
Austin Kelly in ‘Cloven Kingdom’. Picture by Ben McKeown.

Was Paul Taylor on the prime of your organization record once you have been trying to begin dancing professionally?

“Sure. After my very first-class taking Taylor, I assumed, ‘That is the corporate I need to dance with for the remainder of my life.’”

What connects you to the motion? What feels at house about it?

“In school, I needed to take numerous ballet, Graham and Limón, and people simply didn’t really feel pure to me. However I’m proportionate to a Taylor dancer; I’ve a bigger again, my torso is lengthy. That really put me at a drawback in Limón or Graham, however it gave me a bonus with Taylor. All the pieces felt so pure. All of his Taylor-isms made a lot sense to me – the wrapping, the scoops, the Vs… it simply clicked. 

In the course of the first six months of my time right here, I had to purchase new pants as a result of my quads acquired larger. I had to purchase new shirts as a result of my again and shoulders acquired larger. In ballet, it’s all in regards to the intrinsic muscle tissue, however that is all huge muscle teams. You’re sprinting, leaping. It’s arduous athletics.”

What are a few of your favourite Taylor items? 

Austin Kelly in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Austin Kelly in rehearsal. Picture courtesy of Paul Taylor Dance Firm.

“To this point, I’ve carried out Aureole, which is what put Paul Taylor on the map. It form of marked when he turned the dance maker we all know him to be slightly than an avant-garde choreographer. I carried out that on the Joyce Theater in June; that was the dream function. 

A month later, I did Cloven Kingdom. There’s this males’s quartet in it the place the gents come out in tuxedos. It’s in all probability seven minutes, however it was essentially the most athletic seven minutes of my life. The primary time I carried out it, I got here off stage, collapsed and threw up. And the three guys I carried out it with have been like, ‘Oh, yeah, that’s regular. Welcome!’ For the Lincoln Middle programming, Firm B is one I’m actually excited to do. I’m stepping in to Michael Apuzzo’s outdated function, who retired in March. It’s actually humbling to step into such an enormous function inside my first 12 months. I really like Firm B. I liked watching it, and now doing it’s the cherry on prime.”

Do you see qualities or habits in older PTDC members that you just need to undertake for your self? 

Devon Louis, Lee Duveneck, Alex Clayton and Austin Kelly in 'Cloven Kingdom'. Photo by Ben McKeown.
Devon Louis, Lee Duveneck, Alex Clayton and Austin Kelly in ‘Cloven Kingdom’. Picture by Ben McKeown.

“Oh my gosh, sure. On a regular basis. I can not emphasize this sufficient: the folks on this firm are wonderful. After they contact the stage, and even in rehearsal or class, they’re performing. It’s mesmerizing. Even of their stillness, I’m captivated by them, simply standing there with function. They’ll maintain focus. After they’re trying throughout 1000’s of seats, you may inform that they’re seeing one thing; their eyes aren’t simply glazed over. 

One other factor I’m engaged on is to soak up the second. We assume characters, however they’re humanized variations. It seems like Paul was finally in regards to the human situation and expertise. So slightly than placing on a façade, how can I amplify what this character is feeling in a humanistic means? These dancers do this so naturally. They’ve in all probability labored on it for years, however it feels pure. Paul was the grasp of sunshine and darkish dances, and these dancers can do essentially the most lovely issues after which create most ugly characters. The dichotomy is fascinating. 

Eran Bugge has been with Taylor since 2005, and we went to the identical school. She taught a masterclass whereas I used to be there. It was so cool to bop with a Taylor titan like her whereas I used to be nonetheless a school child. And now I get to bop along with her on stage Lincoln Middle? Like, come on. Come on! That’s insane. Sorry, I might go on and on about my co-workers!”

It sounds such as you’ve absorbed a lot of the Taylor historical past. You’re one of many first generations of PTDC dancers to hitch after Paul’s passing. How do you see the veteran firm members cross on his imaginative and prescient and artistry to newer members like your self?

Austin Kelly in rehearsal. Photo courtesy of Paul Taylor Dance Company.
Austin Kelly in rehearsal. Picture courtesy of Paul Taylor Dance Firm.

“I got here in after he handed away, which was unlucky. I’m grateful for the individuals who’ve been right here earlier than me who actually maintain his concepts alive. Individuals who started working with him, and the tales they inform. These tales piece collectively the character he was. I by no means acquired to fulfill him; I’d solely examine him in textbooks. Though that makes me unhappy, it additionally makes me grateful for folks like Bettie de Jong, who was his muse and is now our rehearsal director. She simply celebrated her 60th 12 months with the corporate. I simply got here from a rehearsal the place I heard her clarify – Paul needed this. Paul did not like this. With out her, we’d drift off into interpretations. However the alumni come again and say, ‘Effectively, when Paul was choreographing this on me…’ and ‘Right here’s what he was occupied with when he was creating this phrase…’ and that’s simply so cool. I need to embody what they felt once they have been in that creation with Paul. It retains me tied to his legacy.”

See Austin Kelly and the PTDC members on the Koch stage on the Lincoln Middle from November 2-13. Tickets begin at $15 and are at present on sale. You possibly can catch a seat on Opening Evening on November 1 for simply $10, on sale Monday, October, 17, at 12pm. Programing consists of Artwork in Courtroom, Firm B, Gossamer-Gallants, Syzygy, Scudorama and others. For tickets and extra info, go to

By Holly LaRoche of Dance Informa. 


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