Broadway meets ballet (Paul Taylor Dance Company, Metro Philadelphia)

October 24, 2013

By Shaun Brady

For Metro Philadelphia

Starting down the path toward a career in dance, Michael Trusnovec was most attracted to the theatricality of the Broadway stage. But when he saw his first performance by the Paul Taylor Dance Company while in college, Trusnovec took a detour from the Great White Way. "All of the technique — the physicality melded with the emotional performance aspect that I love about the Broadway side of dancing — that met really well in Paul's work," Trusnovec recalls. "It seemed like a good fit for me."

Trusnovec joined Taylor's second company in 1996 and moved to the main company in 1998, where he's stayed ever since. A native of Yaphank, N.Y., he began dancing at age 6 at a school in the same Long Island strip mall where his parents ran a Carvel Ice Cream shop. "My sisters and my best friend went to the dancing school and I would watch them and do all the choreography in the hallway," Trusnovec says. "The teacher encouraged me to come in and actually take the class. Reinforcement for something makes you feel good. So I kept dancing because it felt good."

Soon to celebrate its 60th anniversary, the Paul Taylor Dance Company, led by the 83-year-old eponymous choreographer, will perform four Philadelphia premieres to kick off Dance Celebration's 31st season at the Annenberg Center. The program features two Taylor classics: "Fibers," a rarely-revived quartet piece from 1961 set to the music of Arnold Schoenberg; and "Profiles," a highly physical 1979 piece about the relationship between two couples.

"Profiles" is one of two pieces on the program in which Trusnovec will perform. "The music is screechy strings and the movement has a little bite and tension to it," he describes. "It's an extremely difficult dance. You really have to listen to the music as well as pay attention to the other person to survive some of these death-defying lifts and balances. But it's super rewarding when it works out well."