Paul Taylor Dance Co.: Dancing In The Streets of Detroit

Modern is like ballet, only uglier.”

~~Paul Taylor on Modern Dance

My college roommate my sophomore year was a dance major. Madonna was, too, at U of M. I used to go to see Jonathan every time he danced – not just out of politeness, but because I quickly recognized that Modern Dance is legit. Art encompasses many subcategories: poetry, fiction, music, dance, comics, film (in all its genres), architecture, painting, sculpture, and maybe even train graffiti.

It certainly encompasses the graffiti of Banksy.

Frank Lloyd Wright even said that Dining is an art form. At least if you believe what’s written on the walls of the Food Court at Lakeside Mall in Sterling Heights.

As in Astronomy, stars encompass dwarf stars like Sol, our Sun. And galaxies encompass dwarf galaxies. And planets should encompass the subcategory of dwarf planets like Pluto, Ceres, Charon, Haumea, Makemake, and Eris. And also moon planets like Ganymede and Titan (both larger than Mercury), and Callisto, Io, Europa, Triton, Rhea, and Luna, our Moon. And any other moon that has reached hydrostatic equilibrium (rounded by its own gravity).

So, there I was last night at the Detroit Opera House with my big sister, enthralled by the Paul Taylor Dance Company bringing Modern Dance to the D. with aplomb, passion, and panache.

Mr. Taylor is 87 now, widely regarded as the greatest dance choreographer on Earth (which wouldn’t be a planet if it was as far from the Sun as Pluto) ( shame on you, I. A. U., for a politicized St. Bartholomew’s Day Massacre 2006 untenable definition of a planet).

Mr. Taylor danced for both Martha Graham and Merce Cunningham, both of whom lack the warmth of syncopation in Mr. Taylor’s compositions.

My sister remarked that the Company was better than Eisenhower Dance, who we have seen dance twice. They are good but the PTDC is as awesome as ginger beer on a hot July afternoon.

Christopher Marlowe once said, “Comparisons are odious.” So, I hate to make comparisons; so, let’s just say the PTDC brought it.

A man in the row behind me kept exclaiming, “Bravo! Bravo!” I must say, I concur, even though my ear drums were not happy, having endured the Jack White show two nights prior at LCA that had the stentorian Negative Approach warm up for Jack. I’m lucky I can still hear.

At any rate, there’s one more performance tonight. I hope you can make it. Act I is an homage to the 60s that is really groovy. Act II has a cool classic vibe. And Act III is powerfully Post-Modern.

Bravo, Paul Taylor! Bravo, dancers! Bravo! Bravo!

The Detroit Opera House is located at 1526 Broadway St, Detroit, Michigan 48226. For tickets and more information, visit their website at

A Frank Lloyd Wright quote adorns the Food Court at Lakeside Mall. (Mike Wrathell/AmericaJR)

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