Paul Taylor Dance Company

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General information
Year founded1954; 67 years ago (1954)
Founding artistic directorPaul Taylor
Location551 Grand Street, New York City
Principal venueDavid H. Koch Theater
Senior staff
Executive DirectorJohn Tomlinson
Artistic staff
Artistic DirectorMichael Novak

Paul Taylor Dance Company, is a modern dance company, formed by dancer and choreographer Paul Taylor (1930—2018). The modern dance company is based in New York, New York and was founded in 1954.

Taylor originally performed in the companies of Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, and George Balanchine, and founded his own in 1954. Dancers and choreographers who have emerged from his company include Twyla Tharp, Pina Bausch, David Parsons, Laura Dean, Dan Wagoner, Elizabeth Keen, Christopher Gillis, Senta Driver, Amy Marshall, Lila York, and Takehiro Ueyama.

Michael Novak was appointed artistic director designate by Taylor in the spring of 2018, and took over as artistic director in September 2018 after Taylor died.[1]


Paul Taylor Dance Company performing Taylor's Esplanade

The Paul Taylor Dance Company was founded in 1954. One of the early touring companies of American modern dance, the Paul Taylor Dance Company has performed in more than 500 cities in 62 countries. In most years, about half of each performance season is spent touring in the United States.[2] They first performed in Europe in 1960 and since have toured in Central and South America, throughout North America, in India, China, Korea, Asia, Australia, New Zealand, Indonesia, Africa, the Middle East, the Baltics, and Russia.

Twyla Tharp joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1963 and two years later formed her own company. Carolyn Adams joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1965. During Adams's seventeen year career with the company, she starred in several major productions including Orbs in 1966, Big Bertha in 1971; Aureole and Esplanade in 1975; and Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) in 1980.[3] Christopher Gillis joined in 1976. He was a member until his death in 1993. Bettie de Jong joined the Taylor Company in 1962. Noted for her strong stage presence and long line, she was Paul Taylor's favorite dancing partner and, as current Rehearsal Director, was his right hand for the past half-century. She finished her active dancing career in 1985 but remains the Company's Rehearsal Director to this day.

The Taylor School has taught Taylor's style to professional-level dancers since 1984.[4]

Mr. Taylor established Taylor 2 Dance Company in 1993 to ensure that his works could be seen by audiences all over the world regardless of economic considerations and the logistical limitations of non-traditional venues. While the Paul Taylor Dance Company is still performing and touring throughout the world, Taylor 2 has been temporarily closed.

In 2005, it was among 406 New York City arts and social service institutions to receive part of a $20 million grant from the Carnegie Corporation, which was made possible through a donation by New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.

In 2015, Taylor began a new program, called Paul Taylor American Modern Dance,[5] in which works of modern dance by choreographers other than Taylor are included in the company's annual season at the Koch Theater at Lincoln Center.

Performances and repertory[edit]

Paul Taylor Dance Company's annual New York seasons have been presented at Lincoln Center's David H. Koch Theater since 2012.[6] Prior to that, beginning in 1977, New York City Center hosted the company's seasons, which have typically lasted up to three weeks, comprising as many as 20 dances in a single season.

Taylor created numerous formal dances, often to classical music, with complex patterning and intricate formations with tempos varying with the musical sections, from andante to allegro. Examples include Esplanade,[7] Brandenburgs, Mercuric Tidings,[8] Aureole, Arden Court, and Promethean Fire.

Taylor has made many dramatic works. A few listed here include Big Bertha,[9] From Sea to Shining Sea, American Genesis, The Word, Speaking in Tongues, Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal), Last Look, Black Tuesday, and To Make Crops Grow.

American Modern Dance Masterworks[edit]

Title Choreographer World Premiere PTAMD Premiere Company/Artist
1 Passacaglia and Fugue in C Minor Doris Humphrey August 5, 1938 March 14, 2015[10] Limón Dance Company
2 Rite of Spring Shen Wei 2004 March 17, 2015[11] Shen Wei Dance Arts
3 Rainbow 'Round My Shoulder Donald McKayle May 10, 1959 March 22, 2016[12] Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
4 Diversion of Angels Martha Graham August 13, 1948 March 23, 2016[12]
5 Summerspace Merce Cunningham August 17, 1958 March 21, 2017[13] Guests from Lyon Opera Ballet
6 Set and Reset Trisha Brown October 20, 1983 March 14, 2018[14] Trisha Brown Dance Company
7 Dances of Isadora
(Butterfly Etude, Les Funérailles, and Rose Petals)
Isadora Duncan 1900–1924 March 18, 2018[14] Sara Mearns

Taylor Company Commissions[edit]

Title Choreographer World Premiere
1 Rush Hour Larry Keigwin March 16, 2016[12]
2 The Weight of Smoke Doug Elkins March 17, 2016[12]
3 Continuum Lila York February 11, 2017[15]
4 The Beauty in Gray Bryan Arias March 8, 2018[14]
5 Half Life Doug Varone March 10, 2018[14]
6 all at once Pam Tanowitz June 7, 2019
7 Rewilding Margie Gillis June 23, 2019
8 Only the Lonely Kyle Abraham October 30, 2019
9 Untitled premiere Michelle Manzanales June 16, 2020; postponed due to COVID-19[16]
10 Untitled premiere Peter Chu June 17, 2020; postponed due to COVID-19[16]
11 Untitled premiere Lauren Lovette November 3, 2020; postponed due to COVID-19[17]


The company is a charitable, not-for-profit organization managed by a board of trustees and a board of advisors, with board co-chairs Dr. Nancy H Coles, and Robert Aberlin, and vice-chairs Richard E. Feldman, Esq, Douglas Peterson, Stephen Kroll Reidy, treasurer Joseph A. Smith, and secretary Elise Jaffe.[18]


Video performances[edit]

  • Diamond, Matthew; Taylor, Paul; Patton, Matthew; Kinberg, Judy; WNET (Station de télévision : New York, N.Y.) (1992). Speaking in tongues (VHS). Elektra Entertainment. OCLC 757655946.
  • Taylor, Paul; Kinberg, Judy; Diamond, Matthew; Venza, Jac; Loquasto, Santo; Asnes, Andrew; Benz, Rachel Berman; See, Richard Chen; Cochran, Mary; Corbin, Patrick; Cortez, Hernando; Echo, Jill; Egtvedt, Kristi; Grenke, David; Heilman, Caryn; Huber, Francie; LeBeau, Andrew; Nevjinsky, Silvia; Patrick, Thomas; Viola, Lisa; Nilsson, Harry; WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.) (1996). The Wrecker's Ball: Three Dances by Paul Taylor (VHS). Thirteen/WNET. OCLC 430372378.
  • Taylor, Paul; Bach, Johann Sebastian; Busby, Gerald; WNET (Television station : New York, N.Y.) (1998). The Paul Taylor Dance Company (VHS). Nonesuch : Distributed by WarnerVision Entertainment. OCLC 1078010330.
  • Diamond, Matthew; Scheuer, Walter; Kupfer, Jerry; Taylor, Paul; Thomas, Ted; Echo, Jill; Egtvedt, Kristi; See, Richard Chen; Benz, Rachel Berman; Corbin, Patrick; Heilman, Caryn; Patrick, Thomas; Asnes, Andrew; Huber, Francie; Hurwitz, Tom (1999). Dancemaker (VHS). Docurama : Distributed in the U.S. by New Video Group. OCLC 43118504.


  1. ^ "Taylor, Paul B., (born 29 July 1930), choreographer; Artistic Director, Paul Taylor Dance Company, since 1954; President, Paul Taylor Dance Foundation (Board Chairman, 1966); Founder, Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance, 2014", Who's Who, Oxford University Press, 2007-12-01, doi:10.1093/ww/9780199540884.013.4000224
  2. ^ Kaufman, Sarah L.; Kaufman, Sarah L. (2016-05-26). "Paul Taylor's vintage works and classic joys". The Washington Post. ISSN 0190-8286. Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  3. ^ "Carolyn Adams's Biography". The HistoryMakers.
  4. ^ "Paul Taylor Dance Company | The Lo-Down : News from the Lower East Side". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  5. ^ Kourlas, Gia (2015-03-06). "Paul Taylor, at 84, Has a New Mission With American Modern Dance". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-19.
  6. ^ Seibert, Brian (2018-03-11). "Review: Paul Taylor Classics Outshine New Dances (His and Others’)". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  7. ^ Kisselgoff, Anna (1975-06-11). "The Dance: Paul Taylor's 'Esplanade'". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  8. ^ Macaulay, Alastair (2012-03-22). "Paul Taylor Dance Company at David H. Koch Theater". The New York Times. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  9. ^ "Paul Taylor’s Canon: Flippant, Savage, Idyllic". The New York Times. 2018-09-04. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2019-01-26.
  10. ^ Burke, Siobhan (17 March 2015). "Review: Paul Taylor Troupe's Dizzying New Palette Takes Shape". The New York Times.
  11. ^ MacAulay, Alastair (18 March 2015). "Review: Paul Taylor's American Modern Dance at David H. Koch Theater". The New York Times.
  12. ^ a b c d
  13. ^
  14. ^ a b c d
  15. ^ "Fast-moving premiere adds another epic dance to Paul Taylor repertoire, sharing bill with classic parody of human behavior". 12 February 2017.
  16. ^ a b
  17. ^
  18. ^ "Board".
  19. ^ Wakin, Daniel J. "Paul Taylor to Receive Bessie Lifetime Achievement Award". ArtsBeat. Retrieved 2017-03-30.

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 40°42′50.12″N 73°58′49.84″W / 40.7139222°N 73.9805111°W / 40.7139222; -73.9805111