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Volume 26, Number 6 — June 2018

October arts at ETSU

Julie Fowlis
Julie Fowlis

September 26, 2016

Traditions one ancient and endangered and the other more contemporary and evolving highlight October at Mary B. Martin School of the Arts at East Tennessee State University.

Taylor 2, part of Paul Taylor Modern American Dance, and Gaelic folk singer Julie Fowlis headline the month at the School of the Arts. Both will be performing in ETSU's Martha Street Culp Auditorium. Taylor 2 performs Thursday, Oct. 13, at 7:30 p.m., and Fowlis sings her Music of the Scottish Isles, Thursday, Oct. 20, also at 7:30 p.m.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company, established in 1954 by dancer-turned-choreographer Taylor, whom Martha Graham dubbed "the naughty boy of dance," has taken "American modern dance" around the world many times over. In the meantime, the naughty boy has become a dance legend.

"Short course in modern dance: in the beginning there was Martha Graham, who changed the face of an art form and discovered a new world," Laura Shapiro wrote in Newsweek. "Then there was Merce Cunningham, who stripped away the externals and showed us the heart of movement. And then there was Paul Taylor, who let the sun shine in."

Taylor, who at one time danced with both Graham and Cunningham, has been a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, an Emmy Award, the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1993, three Guggenheim Fellowships and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship, often called the "genius award."

In 1993, Taylor created Taylor 2 to ensure that audiences around the world could experience his dances, regardless of economic or technical limitations. Since then, the company has reached more than 400 cities. Taylor modeled this new company on his original Paul Taylor Dance Company, but pared the troupe down to six professionals, who not only perform but also provide master classes and workshops as outreach with the public.

Gia Kourlas of The New York Times calls Taylor 2 "a miracle" that "unites fearlessness with skill."

Tickets for Taylor 2 are $5 for students of all ages with ID, $15 for seniors 60-plus and $20 for general admission. For more information on Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, visit

The traditions that Julie Fowlis brings to East Tennessee come from another time and another country, her homeland of Scotland, on the Outer Hebridean island of North Uist.

Known as a quiet torchbearer for her native tradition, Fowlis' "intoxicating" vocals and multi-instrumental musicianship have brought Scottish Gaelic culture out of the past and into the musical mainstream. She was the first solo Gaelic singer to be playlisted on the BBC, recorded and performed with folk musicians Mary Chapin Carpenter and James Taylor, and recorded the theme song to Disney Pixar's "Brave."

Fowlis' most recent solo album, "Gach Sgeul" (Every Story), released in 2014, was hailed as "a piece of the Gaelic renaissance" by World Listening Post.

"There's always been something about Julie's whole approach to her music and culture," says David Kidman from Fatea Magazine, "that betokens an uplifting experience and a joyful reassurance for the listener."

Tickets for Fowlis' Music of the Scottish Isles are $5 for students of all ages with ID, $20 for seniors 60-plus, and $25 for general admission. For more information about her, go to

For more information about ETSU's Mary B. Martin School of the Arts or to purchase tickets. visit or call 423-439- 8587.

Topics: Art