2017 Alumni March 2017

SMU Alumnus Michael Trusnovec’s Life Of Dance

Shortly after earning his bachelor’s degree in dance performance at SMU’s Meadows School of the Arts, Michael Trusnovec ’96 joined Paul Taylor’s renowned modern dance company. In an interview with The Dallas Morning News published on February 7, 2017, he talked about his lifelong obsession with dance and obsessively watching videotapes of Paul Taylor Dance Company performances in the library as an SMU student.
By Manuel Mendoza
The Dallas Morning News
When he landed at Southern Methodist University in the early 1990s on a full scholarship, Michael Trusnovec was aiming for career in musical theater. Then the Long Island native discovered the choreography of Paul Taylor.

Michael Trusnovec and Eran Bugge in Esplanade. Photo by Paul B. Goode/Courtesy of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance

“I saw the theatricality of Broadway all of a sudden taken to a whole different level in his work, a much deeper level,” Trusnovec says. “It’s not just about a bunch of people on stage executing movement. There’s a purpose and a meaning behind these dances, even if it’s just a mood and not necessarily a story. There’s no way I can execute a Taylor dance without thinking about who I am in that dance, and that fed my appetite for theatricality.”
More than two decades later, he is such a key member of Taylor’s New York-based company that Trusnovec is considered a potential successor to the 86-year-old modern dance pioneer when he retires as artistic director. Trusnovec joined Taylor’s junior troupe shortly after graduating from SMU in 1996, and he never left.
Now he’s back in town this week as Paul Taylor American Modern Dance prepares to perform at the Eisemann Center in Richardson. Taylor and the Eisemann have a relationship that dates back to the center’s opening in 2002, when it presented the premiere of Taylor’s Dream Girls, commissioned by the city of Richardson.
Saturday’s show will be the company’s eighth appearance at the Eisemann and will include the third premiere of the partnership, former Taylor dancer Lila York’s Continuum. Rounding out the program is a pair of Taylor classics, Books of Beasts (1971) and Cascade (1999).
Performed to Max Richter’s re-composition of Vivald’s The Four Seasons, Continuum is the latest example of the company’s expansion of its repertory beyond Taylor’s choreography. Trusnovec describes it as highly formal and structured, with warlike fight scenes and movement that starts stiff and staccato and evolves to become lighter and more open.