TAYLOR MOMENTS

Background

1950s:  THE EARLY YEARS

1954    Taylor’s first professional work and his first collaboration with artist Robert Rauschenberg: Jack and the Beanstalk.

1956    Taylor choreographs 3 Epitaphs; again Rauschenberg collaborates.

1957    Taylor’s first full evening of his own choreography (“Dances by Paul Taylor,” Kaufmann Concert Hall, New York City). Seven New Dances provokes Louis Horst’s blank review.

1959    Taylor, as a member of the Marth Graham Dance Company, works with George Balanchine on his new ballet “Episodes.” Taylor is invited to join New York City Ballet and respectfully declines.

 

1960s:  AN INTERNATIONAL COMPANY

1960    In Taylor’s first European tour, Meridian, Tablet, 3 Epitaphs, Rebus and Circus Polka are danced at Italy’s Spoleto Festival. Lincoln Kirstein had recommended Taylor to director Gian Carlo Menotti. The Company would tour to some 450 cities in 60 countries in its first 50 years. While at Spoleto, Taylor is invited to create The White Salamander for The Netherlands Ballet. This is the first time he uses the pseudonym George H. Tacet, Ph.D as the designer.

1961    First performance at the American Dance Festival, Connecticut College, New London; premiere of Insects and Heroes, with sets and costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian. Taylor choreographs Junction, the first work in a long-term collaboration with designer Alex Katz, and the first time Taylor uses a Baroque score, a rarity in modern dance.

1962    Performances in Paris as part of the Festival of Nations. Although most of the 23 participating countries are represented by larger and essentially classical companies, Taylor wins an award for Best Choreographer. Sold-out performances and an invitation to be involved in a TV performance in Turin in four weeks time leads to Taylor extending his Paris performances into a season at the Théâtre des Artes. As with many American artists, the recognition and glowing compliments bestowed on Taylor in Europe open doors for him in the U.S.

While the Company is based in Paris, Taylor begins choreographing Aureole.

Charles Reinhart becomes the first executive director. He is one of only six  people to head the managerial side of the Company, the others being Judith Daykin, Robert Yesselman, Ross Kramberg, Wallace Chappell,  and John Tomlinson (current Executive Director).

1963    The Company marks its first Broadway season, at the Little Theater, produced by Richard Barr, Edward Albee and Clinton Wilder. The Company would subsequently have eight seasons on Broadway.

1964    First London season, at the Shaftsbury Theatre in the West End.

1965    Taylor choreographs From Sea to Shining Sea, thus initiating a series of works based upon Americana themes as well as a long-time collaboration with designer John Rawlings.

A tour of South America is the first of 11 tours as goodwill ambassadors under the auspices of the Department of State. The Company begins to be presented on a larger scale, and performs more often and in larger theaters, often with live music. Resident orchestras are rehearsed and conducted by Simon Sadoff, the company’s first Music Director.

1966    The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation is established.

Taylor choreographs Orbs, a two-act dance set to Beethoven’s final string quartets. Taylor begins a collaboration with lighting designer with Jennifer Tipton, that continues with the Company to this day.

One-week season at the ANTA Theater on Broadway.

1967    Taylor wins 16th Annual Capezio Dance Award. The citation reads as follows: “To Paul Taylor, for training a company of brilliant young dancers in a style which complements his own inimitable dance technique, and with them building a repertoire which has immeasurably enriched American modern dance and has brought prestige to that unique native art form wherever he has shown it all over the world on behalf of the Cultural Presentations Program of the U.S. Department of State.”

1968    The Taylor Company returns to Paris to represent the U.S. at the Paris Festival.

The Royal Danish Ballet performs Aureole. This is the first time another dance company acquires an existing Taylor work.

1969    Taylor is elected Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

 

1970s :  A GENIUS EMERGES

1970    Big Bertha is created, and subsequently becomes one of the Taylor dances most requested by presenters.

The Taylor Company tours Europe and Lebanon under a new relationship with impresario Thomas Erdos, who remains its international agent and ardent champion for more than three decades.

1971    Book of Beasts is created, and later becomes a performance vehicle for Rudolf Nureyev.

1973    Taylor’s first full-evening work, American Genesis.

1974    After the New York premiere of American Genesis at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on March 14, Taylor retires from dancing.

1975    Esplanade is the first work Taylor makes after he has stopped dancing. It is immediately acknowledged by many critics and dance professionals as one of the greatest dance works ever created.

1976    John Holmes becomes Board President and brings on the Board Walter Scheuer, who will be its longest-serving member.

Cloven Kingdom is created, and the men’s quartet becomes emblematic of one aspect of Taylor’s style.

1978    First of nine appearances by the Company on PBS Television’s Dance in America series (“Paul Taylor Dance Company – Esplanade and Runes”).

Taylor choreographs Airs, which later joins the repertoire of American Ballet Theatre.

 

1980s:  RECOGNITION & REFINEMENT

1980    Taylor receives the Dance Magazine Award.

Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) is seen by many as a landmark approach to the renowned Stravinsky score.

1981    A benefit performance of From Sea to Shining Sea features Gwen Verdon, Hermione Gingold, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and, in their first appearance on stage together, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev.

Taylor choreographs Arden Court, an instant hit with audiences and critics.

1985    Roses and Last Look are made in the same year, confirming Taylor’s position as the choreographic “Master of the Light and the Dark.”

Taylor receives a MacArthur “Genius” Award.

Bettie de Jong, who had danced with the Company since 1962, retires from dancing and remains Rehearsal Director.

1986    Musical Offering is considered by many to be one of Taylor’s most profound works.

1987    Publication of Taylor’s autobiography, Private Domain, which is nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, and is now in its third edition.

1988    Speaking in Tongues is hailed by critics as another landmark for the dance world.

With Counterswarm, Taylor begins a collaboration with set and costume designer Santo Loquasto.

1989    Taylor is elected Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

 

1990s:  MASTER OF LIGHT & DARK

1990    Taylor is elected Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.

1991    The Kennedy Center and Houston Ballet commission Company B.

1992    Taylor receives an Emmy Award for Speaking in Tongues, produced by WNET/13.

He receives Kennedy Center Honors “for enhancing the lives of people around the world and enriching the culture of our nation.”

1993    Taylor is awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Clinton at the White House.

Taylor 2, a second company of Paul Taylor dancers, is formed, with Linda Hodes as Director.

1994    Sponsored by the U.S. government, Taylor 2 tours six countries in Africa.

1995    Taylor receives the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts, for work that “endures as some of the most innovative and important the world has ever seen.”

Danmarks Radio in Denmark produces a television program featuring Syzygy and Spindrift.

Taylor is named one of 50 prominent Americans honored in recognition of their outstanding achievement by the Library of Congress’s Office of Scholarly Programs.

1996    Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 complete the largest-ever statewide tour of Wisconsin with Wisconsin Dance On Tour and perform in 22 communities in five weeks.

The Taylor Company performs for the first time in the People’s Republic of China.

1997    Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 are invited by the American Embassy in New Delhi as a month-long “gift of culture” to the people of India to celebrate 50 years of Indian independence. Both companies tour throughout India.

Taylor choreographs Piazzolla Caldera, a runaway hit that has its creative process documented in the film Dancemaker, which plays in movie theaters throughout the U.S. and abroad. The film is executive produced by Walter Scheuer and produced and directed by Matthew Diamond.

1999    Dancemaker is nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature film of 1998.

Paul Taylor Dance Company presents a four-week residency in San Francisco with San Francisco Performances at the inauguration of the Chase Celebration of American Dance.

 

2000s:  REFINEMENT & TRANSITION

2000    Taylor is inducted as Chevalier in France’s Légion d’Honneur for exceptional contributions to French culture.

Dancemaker appears on the PBS series, “American Masters.”

2001    The Taylor Company returns to the People’s Republic of China for a four-week, six-city tour.

2002    Taylor choreographs Promethean Fire, and The New York Times says it may be his greatest work yet.

2003    The Paul Taylor Dance Company wins in the Best Foreign Dance Company category for the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards 2003 in Great Britain.

2004    Promethean Fire is nominated for London’s Olivier Award in the category of Best New Dance. Taylor wins the Manchester Evening News Award for Dance 2003, for the Company’s engagement at the Lowry, part of a four-week, six-city tour of the United Kingdom; and the 10th Annual American Choreography Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for the television special Acts of Ardor, which includes Black Tuesday and Promethean Fire.

The Taylor Company and Taylor 2 begin a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, which will take one or both companies to all 50 States by November 2005.  As part of the celebration, Taylor creates four dances including Dante Variations, Klezmerbluegrass, Spring Rounds and Banquet of Vultures.

2005    Taylor wins the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Award of Merit for Achievement in the Performing Arts, and the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award.  In its “Best of the Best 2004” article, Vanity Fair magazine hails him as “the greatest choreographer in the world.”

The Taylor Company celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a three-week season at City Center that draws more than 25,000 people.  Following the season’s final performance, more than 70 Taylor dancers from past and present join Taylor for a bow on stage.

2006    Taylor again finds inspiration on the front pages of the daily newspaper, this time denouncing imperialism in Banquet of Vultures.

2007    The Taylor Company returns to the People’s Republic of China for performances and master classes with local students and professional dancers.

2008    Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 complete an 18-city tour of Pennsylvania in April. Taylor is awarded an honorary doctorate by Adelphi University; previous doctorates were awarded by California Institute of the Arts, Connecticut College, Duke University, The Juilliard School, Skidmore College, the State University of New York at Purchase, and Syracuse University. After losing its long-time Soho home, the Taylor Foundation leases space for a new home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.

2009    The New York Times, having called the Walt Whitman-inspired Beloved Renegade “the best new choreography of 2008,” says Mr. Taylor “ranks among the great war poets.”

 

2010s:  THE NEXT GENERATION EMERGES

 2010    The Taylor Foundation celebrates Mr. Taylor’s 80th birthday.

 2011    Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities presents Taylor with its Medal for Distinguished Achievement, given annually to “individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts and humanities and whose work has furthered public awareness of the importance of scholarship, literature and the arts.” Further demonstrating the choreographer’s wide appeal, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theatre both include a Taylor work in their New York seasons: Arden Court and Black Tuesday, respectively. The Taylor School, which previously offered only professional classes, inaugurates classes for neighborhood children and adults.

2012    True to his nature as a risk-taker and iconoclast, Taylor moves his Company to Lincoln Center, where it triumphs in a three-week engagement that shatters its previous box office record. The season celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Aureole, the dance that launched a Golden Age in 1962. The New York Dance and Performance Awards (the “Bessies”) bestow a Lifetime Achievement Award on Taylor.

 2014    The Taylor Company celebrates its 60th Anniversary, featuring a revival of From Sea to Shining Sea performed at Lincoln Center by nearly 50 past and current members of the Company in a version specially staged by alumna Sharon Kinney. Taylor announces the creation of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance (PTAMD). The Dancemaker will curate and present great modern dances of the past and present alongside his own works at Lincoln Center and other prominent venues throughout the world, and commission a new generation of choreographers so modern dance flourishes long into the future.

2015    Along with 17 of his classics and two premieres performed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company, Taylor presents two dances that represent the best of American Modern Dance in both the distant and recent past. Doris Humphrey’s influential work from the 1930s, Passacaglia, is performed by the venerable Limón Dance Company. And Shen Wei Dance Arts performs Rite of Spring, Shen Wei’s brilliant take on the legendary Stravinsky score. Orchestra of St. Luke’s, conducted by Mr. Taylor’s long-time collaborator, Donald York, provides live music.

 2016    Legendary choreographer Donald McKayle oversees rehearsals of his famed work from 1959, Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder, performed by Dayton Contemporary Dance Company at Lincoln Center with live vocal accompaniment, and McKayle is awarded a Bessie in October for the production. Fulfilling the final part of Taylor’s vision for PTAMD, Doug Elkins and Larry Keigwin create dances (The Weight of Smoke and Rush Hour) on the Taylor Company through Taylor Company Commissions. The dances, which both pay homage to Taylor’s influence, are enthusiastically received by audiences.

2017    Continuum is created by Lila York, the first alumna to return to the Taylor Company and choreograph a work through Taylor Company Commissions. A Lincoln Center highlight is the historic program ICONS: Graham Cunningham Taylor, which presents dances by the three great founders of American Modern Dance in a single evening at Lincoln Center. The event also marks the first producing collaboration between PTAMD and the American Dance Festival.

2018    Half Life is choreographed by Doug Varone and The Beauty in Gray is created by Bryan Arias as a part of Taylor Company Commissions. New York City Ballet star Sara Mearns performs Dances of Isadora at the PTAMD Lincoln Center Season. The Season also features second ICONS performance with works by Mr. Taylor, Isadora Duncan and Trisha Brown.

In May, Mr. Taylor creates a new artistic position for his Foundation and selects Taylor Dancer Michael Novak as Artistic Director Designate. After Mr. Taylor’s death in August, Mr. Novak is named Artistic Director by the Taylor Foundation Board. Mr. Novak becomes the second Artistic Director in the history of the Company.

2019    The Taylor Foundation launches “Paul Taylor: Celebrate the Dancemaker,” a multi-year international celebration of Paul Taylor’s legacy and vision for the future for modern dance. The celebration focuses on three components – domestic and international touring of the Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 entitled “The Celebration Tour”; worldwide licensing of Taylor dances; and the PTAMD Lincoln Center Season which received rave reviews under Mr. Novak’s stewardship. Three world premieres (Only the Lonely by Kyle Abraham; Rewilding by Margie Gillis; and all at once by Pam Tanowitz) marked the Season as well as a Memorial Performance for legendary choreographer Donald McKayle and a special ICONS Event celebrating the collaboration between Paul Taylor and Painter/Sculptor Alex Katz.

2020    In light of the global pandemic, COVID-19, all Company activities are temporarily suspended, but the Foundation innovates, launching PTDF Digital – a multi-faceted resource for the sharing and generating of unique digital content for audiences and patrons around the world. Larry Keigwin premieres 22 Rooms, the Company’s first digitally created work (made during quarantine). In addition, The Taylor School begins streaming all classes virtually and begins reaching new students at an unprecedented rate. The global presence and engagement of the company only continue to grow.


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