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St. Louis native returns home for performance with the iconic Paul Taylor Dance Company

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Heather McGinley was born in St. Louis and graduated from O’Fallon Township High School in 2001. Now, she’s returned to the region with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center as the 50th season opener for Dance St. Louis.

“I’ve been dancing professionally in New York for seven years,” said McGinley on Friday’s “Cityscape.” “This will be my first performance in St. Louis since beginning that career.”

McGinley said she realized she wanted to be a dancer “the moment I realized that was a thing a person could do.” That happened at age 11. “It wasn’t until my senior year in college that I realized that maybe it’s not ballet I want to go into, maybe it's modern dance. I realized I was better at it and I saw more opportunities to make that career happen in modern dance.”

Sally Bliss, the former executive director of Dance St. Louis who now sits on the board of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, also joined McGinley in studio. She will be honored at the Oct. 3 performance. A dancer with a history stretching back to the 1960s, when she joined the Metropolitan Opera Ballet, she danced with both Michael Uthoff, the current executive director of Dance St. Louis, and Paul Taylor himself.

“It’s been 62 years [of the Paul Taylor Dance Company],” Bliss said. “I call him the god of modern dance because he is the one who is left. What he’s done is amazing. He’s still creating, he’s 85-years-old.”

I call him the god of modern dance because he is the one who is left. What he's done is amazing. He's still creating, he's 85-years-old.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company consists of 16 members. Performances this weekend will feature three of Paul Taylor’s works, which McGinley said offers a nice spectrum of his repertoire, which consists of over 140 pieces.

The first is titled “Mercuric Tidings,” of the 1980s. “It’s a flurry of pure movement,” McGinley said. The middle dance is “Three Dubious Memories,” which was choreographed in 2010 and portrays a love triangle from three different angles, using sparse and angular movement. The show will close with “Piazzola Caldera,” which is in the style of Paul Taylor but it shows the essence of tango. 

Related Events

Dance St. Louis Presents Paul Taylor Dance Company
October 2 and 3, 2015
8:00 p.m.
UMSL's Touhill Performing Arts Center
More information

Documentary - Paul Taylor: Creative Domain

Tuesday, Oct. 13, 2015

7:30 p.m.

Webster University’s Winifred Moore Auditorium, 470 E. Lockwood Ave., St. Louis, MO 63119

More information

“Cityscape” is produced by Mary Edwards, Alex Heuer, and Kelly Moffitt. The show is sponsored in part by the Missouri Arts Council, the Regional Arts Commission, and the Arts and Education Council of Greater St. Louis.  

Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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