Dance maker Paul Taylor first presented his choreography with five other dancers in Manhattan on May 30, 1954. That modest performance marked the beginning of 64 years of profound, uninterrupted creativity that shaped the future of American Modern Dance.
Throughout and since those early days, Paul Taylor Dance Company has traveled the globe many times over, bringing Mr. Taylor’s astounding repertoire to theaters and venues of every size and description in cultural capitals, on college campuses and in rural communities – and often to places modern dance had never been seen before. Our reputation grows with every year, fueled by several essential aspects to our work:
In amassing a choreographic oeuvre spanning over 60 years, Paul Taylor’s 147 dances stand as testament to his devotion to dancers and his genius as a dance maker. He had a special relationship with those he chose for his Company and created work that though deeply rooted in his own history and collaboration with other modern dance pioneers (Louis Horst, José Limón, Martha Graham, Merce Cunningham) constantly innovated in new directions. His love of painting, poetry, and nature provide a rich palette for exploring the human condition, and he uses each to demonstrate and depict its dark and light elements in transcendent ways that include and move audiences, lending them new perspective on the joy, pain, humor and tragedy that bind us together.
Critics and audiences are drawn to and astounded by his relationship to music ranging, from early jazz and original abstract scores, to popular or novelty tunes or reggae. Yet is was his unique mastery of classical music, particularly from baroque composers that resonates strongest within his repertory. His breakthrough Aureole, which he created and set to Handel in 1962, established a singular voice that married the freedom and abstraction of modern movement to classical music that amplified over decades in masterworks like Esplanade (1975), Images and Dust (1977), Airs (1978), (1980), Arden Court (1981), Mercuric Tidings (1982), Sunset (1983), Roses (1985), A Musical Offering (1986), Eventide and Piazzolla Caldera (1997), “Promethean Fire” (2002), and Beloved Renegade” (2008).
The repertoire also provides snapshots of the evolution of the “Taylor Family.” Rich, productive collaborations with artists like Robert Rauschenberg, Alex Katz, Jennifer Tipton, and Santo Loquasto yielded compelling work as well as lasting relationships that intertwine with the tenures and careers of some of modern dance’s most beloved and prolific dancers, like Pina Bausch, Twyla Tharp, Christopher Gillis, David Parsons, and guest artists like Rudolph Nureyev, Mikhail Baryshnikov, and Misty Copeland. The way each member of this extended family enhances the repertoire and legacy of The Dance Maker.
A NEW YORK INSTITUTION
From the outset, Paul Taylor viewed himself as a New York artist, and performing in his creative hometown has remained a tradition and priority. With pioneering performances at the 92nd Street Y and Broadway houses, the Company performed for decades years at New York City Center. In 2012, Mr. Taylor he moved the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s annual New York City performances to Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts, one of the world’s greatest cultural centers. The first modern dance company to call Lincoln Center home, it attracted larger audiences and featured historic master works and fresh new work by choreographers Mr. Taylor invited to work with the Company. An integral element of Mr. Taylor’s vision for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance is the marriage of live music and dance. Beginning in 2015 Orchestra of St Luke’s has partnered with the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation to provide live musical accompaniment to deepen the performance experience, whenever so intended by the choreographer.
The Taylor Repertory is seen and embraced around the world. The Company has performed in more than 500 cities in 64 countries, representing the United States at arts festivals in more than 40 countries and touring extensively under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State. In 1997 the Company toured throughout India in celebration of that nation’s 50th Anniversary. Its 1999 engagement in Chile was named the Best International Dance Event of 1999 by the country’s Art Critics’ Circle. In the summer of 2001 the Company toured in the People’s Republic of China and performed in six cities. In the spring of 2003 the Company mounted an award-winning four-week, seven-city tour of the United Kingdom. The company regularly tours throughout North America, South America, Asia and Europe, sharing the choreographic innovation and emotional range that is the Company’s hallmark.
FROM STAGE TO SCREEN
Beginning with its first television appearance for the Dance in America series in 1978, the Paul Taylor Dance Company has appeared on PBS in ten different programs, including the 1992 Emmy Award-winning Speaking in Tongues and The Wrecker’s Ball — including Company B, Funny Papers, and A Field of Grass— which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1997. In 1999 the PBS American Masters series aired Dancemaker, the Academy Award-nominated documentary about Mr. Taylor and his Company. In 2013, PBS aired Paul Taylor Dance Company in Paris, featuring Brandenburgs and Beloved Renegade. The 2014 documentary Paul Taylor Creative Domain won critical and public acclaim for its revelation of Mr. Taylor’s creative process, as it followed the famously private choreographer and his Company through the entire process of creating a new work from initial concept to opening night.
To watch Dancemaker or other films from our Archive click HERE.