2017 Archives

How an SMU alum's obsession led to a life of dance with Paul Taylor


The following is from the Feb. 7, 2017, edition of The Dallas Morning News.

February 8, 2017

By Manuel Mendoza

Michael Trusnovec
Michael Trusnovec

When he landed at Southern Methodist University in the early 1990s on a full scholarship, Michael Trusnovec was aiming for career in musical theater. Then the Long Island native discovered the choreography of Paul Taylor.

"I saw the theatricality of Broadway all of a sudden taken to a whole different level in his work, a much deeper level," Trusnovec says. "It's not just about a bunch of people on stage executing movement. There's a purpose and a meaning behind these dances, even if it's just a mood and not necessarily a story. There's no way I can execute a Taylor dance without thinking about who I am in that dance, and that fed my appetite for theatricality."

More than two decades later, he is such a key member of Taylor's New York-based company that Trusnovec is considered a potential successor to the 86-year-old modern dance pioneer when he retires as artistic director. Trusnovec joined Taylor's junior troupe shortly after graduating from SMU in 1996, and he never left.

Now he's back in town this week as Paul Taylor American Modern Dance prepares to perform at the Eisemann Center in Richardson. Taylor and the Eisemann have a relationship that dates back to the center's opening in 2002, when it presented the premiere of Taylor's Dream Girls, commissioned by the city of Richardson.

Saturday's show will be the company's eighth appearance at the Eisemann and will include the third premiere of the partnership, former Taylor dancer Lila York's Continuum. Rounding out the program is a pair of Taylor classics, Books of Beasts (1971) and Cascade (1999).

Performed to Max Richter's re-composition of Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, Continuum is the latest example of the company's expansion of its repertory beyond Taylor's choreography. Trusnovec describes it as highly formal and structured, with warlike fight scenes and movement that starts stiff and staccato and evolves to become lighter and more open.

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