From 1954-2018, Founder and Dancemaker Paul Taylor created 147 dances covering an extraordinary range of topics, themes, and moods. In entirety it amounts to a repertory of dances and collaborations that is extraordinary and unmatched, in its complexity and unflinching look at the human condition.
THE TAYLOR COLLECTION names and establishes the legitimacy of this canon. Dances that address the natural world and man’s place within it; love and sexuality in all gender combinations; iconic moments in American history; and poignant looks at soldiers, those who send them into battle and those they leave behind (works that prompted the New York Times to hail Paul Taylor as “among the great war poets.”)
While some of these dances are termed “dark” and others “light,” the majority are dualistic, mixing elements of both extremes. And while many are largely iconoclastic, the Collection also houses some of the most purely romantic, most astonishingly athletic, and downright funniest dances ever put on stage.
THE TAYLOR COLLECTION begins in 1957 with Seven New Dances; a study in non-movement that famously earned a blank newspaper review, and Graham subsequently dubbing Taylor the “naughty boy” of dance. In 1962, Taylor’s first major success – the sunny Aureole – set trailblazing modern movement not to contemporary music, but to baroque works composed two centuries earlier. One year later, a view of purgatory with Scudorama, using a commissioned, modern score. Other dances inflamed the establishment, like lampooning some of America’s most treasured icons in From Sea To Shining Sea (1965), and the highly controversial 1970 work, Big Bertha, that exposes the horrors of incest and spousal abuse capable underneath the veneer of a seemingly normal American family.
The exuberant Esplanade (1975), one of six Taylor dances set to music by Bach, was dubbed an instant classic, and is often regarded as among the greatest dances ever made. Cloven Kingdom (1976) examines the primitive nature that lurks just below man’s veneer of sophistication and gentility. Arden Court (1981) depicts relationships both platonic and romantic. A look at intimacy among men and women at war sets the scene for Sunset (1983); a picture of Armageddon in Last Look (1985); and a unflinching look at religious hypocrisy and marital rape in Speaking In Tongues (1988). In Company B (1991) popular songs of the 1940s juxtapose the high spirits of a nation emerging from the Depression with the sacrifices Americans made during World War II. Eventide (1997) portrays the budding and fading of a romance. The Word (1998), rails against religious zealotry and blind conformity to authority. Banquet of Vultures (2005) condemns American imperialism and Beloved Renegade (2008) offers a Walt Whitman-inspired dance that speaks to death, memory, life, and reflection. Brief Encounters (2009) examines the inability of many people in contemporary society to form meaningful and lasting relationships. And, in the last decade of Taylor’s life, a frightening short story is transformed into a searing drama in To Make Crops Grow (2012), and a comedic take on comparing the mating rituals of insects and humans in the comedic Gossamer Gallants (2011). Concertiana, made when he was 87, premiered at Lincoln Center in 2018, is the capstone of THE TAYLOR COLLECTION.
Full repertory list will be available soon.
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