Paul Taylor cultivated many brilliant dancers during his 60-plus-year career, but seldom have any commanded such a place of authority and artistry as Michael Trusnovec. He models what it takes to become a great Taylor dancer: weight of movement, thorough grasp of style, deep concentration, steadfast partnering, complete dedication to the choreography and a nuanced response to the music.
Trusnovec can simultaneously make choreography sexy and enlightened, and he can do it within one phrase of movement. Refusing to be pigeonholed, he has excelled in roles as diverse as the tormented and tormenting preacher in Speaking in Tongues; the lyrical central figure—one of Taylor's own sacred roles—in Aureole; the dogged detective in Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal); and the corporate devil in Banquet of Vultures.
"I brought a whole bunch of things in my bag of tricks that Paul was able to dig through and find things I didn't even know were in there," says Trusnovec, who has danced with the Paul Taylor Dance Company for more than two decades.
Spotlight On...Michael Trusnovec www.youtube.com
"If Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers had a baby, it would be Michael Trusnovec," says fellow PTDC dancer Parisa Khobdeh. "He can make anything look 'right.' The world could be in utter turmoil, but onstage with him, it all melts away."
One of Trusnovec's most valued experiences was the creation of the Whitmanesque poet in Beloved Renegade, a figure—perhaps symbolic of Taylor's own mortality—who reconciles himself with the dying light of life as he is shepherded by the angel of death. The piece's hushed dramatic impact is singular, and its genesis hard to imagine without Trusnovec.
Now also working as both director of worldwide licensing and associate rehearsal director, Trusnovec, who had 26 Taylor dances created on him, will retire in June.
"I love being able to share the experiences I've had without ever putting those on someone and saying, 'This is the way it should feel,' because that's never how I've been treated," he says. "If I can steer somebody toward a path that might be as rich and rewarding for them as for me, I'm happy to do that."