Move over, "The Wizard of Oz" and "The Wiz." Make room for "Oz," a wonderful new dance choreographed by Paul Taylor.
Mr. Taylor's dance company was in fine form for last Tuesday's premiere at City Center. The well-crafted jazz score was composed by Wayne Horvitz and punctuated by glorious saxophone.
Modern-dance choreographer and dance pioneer Taylor will be one of the performers given Kennedy Center Honors awards in December.
For "Oz," Taylor read a lot of the late L. Frank Baum's Oz books and then put in the characters he wanted. He leaves out many of Dorothy's yellow-brick-road companions, including Toto, instead bringing in Dorothy's country cousin, Zeb, along with staple characters such as the wicked magician and the good witch.
The dance was commissioned by Baryshnikov Productions Inc. for the White Oak Dance Project. The evening also included earlier Paul Taylor pieces, "Musical Offering" to Bach, and "Company B" to Andrews Sisters records.
While the New York engagement ends Nov. 8, the company will appear in Los Angeles and Costa Mesa, Calif.; Monmouth, Portland, and Eugene, Ore.; and Madison, Wis. Beginning in January, it travels to Germany, Luxembourg, and France, and returns for more dates in the US and Canada.