Choreographer and dance company artistic director Paul Taylor is a genius, according to dancer Heather Berest.
She made the claim by phone from Long Island, N.Y. And she should know. She's been a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company for eight years.
"He has so many different types of pieces," Berest said. "When he sets up a program, he never puts similar works together. You will never see the same types of pieces together.
"He also likes to show the dancers' emotions and physicalities. And he is aware of how the audience will experience the production."
Salt Lake City will get a taste when the Paul Taylor Dance Company performs in Kingsbury Hall on Tuesday. The stop is part of the "50 Years — 50 States" anniversary tour. The three works the company is planning to perform are "Arden Court," "Dante Variations" and "Piazzolla Caldera."
Each of the works premiered within the past 25 years, and they all work well together and are exciting to see, said Berest, who performs in "Arden Court" and "Piazzolla Caldera." She is also an understudy for "Dante Variations."
" 'Arden' is one of my favorite works to dance," she said. "It's a special work that takes me back to the reason I began dancing in the first place."
Berest said "Arden Court" is about love. "Paul uses duets throughout the work. And when I dance it, nothing exists but love. There's a happiness and freedom of feeling the movement through space."
As for "Piazzolla," Berest said it's an intense piece that combines patterns and tension that is set up in the beginning. "Paul has the tension between the sexes on its way once the curtain opens. And that tension builds throughout the work until it explodes in the final moments. At times it can be desperate, violent. And some of the lights are set in a swinging motion to make the work topsy-turvy."
While Berest hasn't danced yet in "Dante Variations," she has participated in rehearsals and knows that it's a very demanding selection. "When Paul brought this to the company, he told the dancers that the idea was, each of them were trapped in a Purgatory where each of them are imprisoned by their own thoughts and actions. It's an uncomfortable work to dance. And it's definitely one of Paul's darker works."
Berest was drawn to audition for the Paul Taylor Dance Company because of her training with the Martha Graham Technique. "Paul was a Graham dancer. And when I got out of school, I wanted to apply the technique. When I auditioned and found out I was selected for the company, I was glad to know I would be using the techniques."
To prepare for the upcoming tour, the PTDC dancers underwent a seven-week rehearsal period. And it was something she lived for. "Dancing has always been a way to express myself. I was a shy child and (dance) was a great way for me to open up. And I love how it feels. And these three dances give the dancers a chance to express themselves."
If you go . . .
What: Paul Taylor Dance Company
Where: Kingsbury Hall
When: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m.
How much: $25-$40
Phone: 581-7100 or 355-2787