GREAT BARRINGTON -- Paul Taylor Dance Company returns to the Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center for its seventh consecutive summer with performances at 8 tonight and Friday and 3 and 8 p.m. Saturday.

As a bonus at 6:30 tonight, former Taylor dancer Annmaria Mazzini will give a free 30-minute performance and "talk back" with the audience entitled "Dancing On: Evolution of a Performer."

Mazzini enjoyed a farewell with the Paul Taylor Dance Company during its 2011 Mahaiwe season. In this intimate performance and talk, she shares selections from her personal repertoire and discusses how working with Taylor has influenced her in her new role as a choreographer and soloist.

This free event is open to the general public irrespective of whether they hold tickets for tonight's PTDC performance.

The company's weekend engagement will feature the New England premiere of "Marathon Cadenzas" (2014) with music by Raymond Scott, as well as the following works from Mr. Taylor's repertoire:

n "Cloven Kingdom" (1976) with music by Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Cowell, and Malloy Miller;

n "Dust" (1977) with music by Francis Poulenc;

n "Airs" (1978) with music by George Frideric Handel;

n "Sunset" (1983) with music by Edward Elgar (and recorded loon calls);

n and "Funny Papers" (1994), which features a soundtrack of novelty tunes and choreography by Sandra Stone, Mary Cochran, Hernando Cortez, David Grenke, Andrew Asnes and Patrick Corbin, amended and combined by Taylor.


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"Our performances at the Mahaiwe have become one of the most anticipated events of our year," John Tomlinson, executive director of the Paul Taylor Foundation, said in a news release.

"We are proud to be the Berkshire home for ... Paul Taylor Dance Company," said Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center executive director Beryl Jolly, also in a news release. "Mr. Taylor's dazzling, thought-provoking, and entertaining dances are always a highlight of our summer season."

The weekend performances are among highlights of a 60th anniversary year for the Paul Taylor Dance Company, whose artistic director is launching a new enterprise: Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance.

Goals

The theatrical home of the new enterprise is the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in New York.

Performances begin in the spring of 2015.

According to Tomlinson, Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance's goals are:

n commissioning new work by exceptional choreographers, emerging and established, to be performed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company;

n presenting modern dance masterworks by celebrated choreographers. To best showcase masterworks, they will be danced by legacy companies or by artists trained in the signature techniques of the choreographers whose pieces are being presented;

n assuring live music accompaniment where intended by the choreographer;

n expanding performances at the Koch Theater with the goal of initiating a fall as well as spring season;

n continuing to perform Taylor's new work and repertory;

n continuing touring nationally and internationally.

Education

Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance also will introduce educational components to address the needs of dancers and audiences. A blue-ribbon panel is being assembled to define the educational components and plan for their execution.

Over 60 years, Taylor has created 140 dances including such masterworks as "Aureole," "Esplanade," "Company B," "Promethean Fire" and "Beloved Renegade." At 83, he continues to create works.

"Paul Taylor has long been a visionary, and we are thrilled with his desire to explore the past, present and future of modern dance in all its styles and vocabularies," said Tomlinson.