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JUNE 8-10

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In a video of one of Paul Taylor’s rehearsals, the choreographer ambles through his studio, creating a work from scratch. When an idea comes into his head, he simultaneously steps out its first few movements. Shadowed by one of his assistants, he watches as she imitates him, dances his movements into something beautiful, then adds a twist of her own. The turn—why is it this way and not that way? He furrows his brow, grunts, and shows her the way he wants it done. The process looks spontaneous, but Taylor aims for perfection, so lots of tinkering probably took place off-camera. A decade ago, writing about Taylor’s meticulously constructed works, one critic commented that “our reigning modern-dance choreographer has cultivated one of the most impersonal vocabularies in the history of dance.” But Taylor, who established the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1958, has always been more concerned with pushing the boundaries of his art than pleasing the audience. Today, with more than 100 dances under his belt, he’s tailoring new movements for the human body based on computer-generated models. Some of his dancers, reportedly, have responded by pumping iron. If the gravity-defying coils, leaps, and spasms of old pushed every nerve and muscle to their limit 40 years ago, just imagine what they have to go through now. Taylor’s dancers test themselves against his high-tech choreography at 7:30 p.m. Thursday, June 8, and Friday, June 9, and 2:30 and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, June 10, at the Kennedy Center’s Eisenhower Theater. $22-$35. (202) 467-4600. (Ayesha Morris)