Paul Taylor Dance Company

Paul Taylor Dance Company, is a contemporary 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/Choreographers who emerged from his company include Twyla Tharp, David Parsons, Laura Dean, Dan Wagoner, Elizabeth Keen, Christopher Gillis, Senta Driver, Amy Marshall, and Lila York.

Michael Novak was appointed Artistc Director Designate by Taylor in the summer of 2018, and took over as Artistic Director in September 2018 after Taylor died.[1]


Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 Dance Company, created in 1993, started as a small company and later expanded. In 1997 the Company throughout India in celebration of the nation's 50th Anniversary. In the summer of 2001 the Company toured the People's Republic of China and danced in six countries, four of which had never seen American modern dance before. The Company's performances in China in November 2007 was its fourth tour in the country. One of the early touring companies of American modern dance, the Company has "performed in more than 500 cities in 62 countries and still spends more than half of each performance season touring in American cities. They first performed in Europe in 1960 and toured South America under several programs.

The Company has appeared in PBS programs nine times. In 1999, the PBS American Masters series aired Matthew Diamond's Oscar-nominated documentary about Paul Taylor and his company, Dancemaker. Twyla Tharp joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1963 and two years later formed her own company. 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 Rehearsal Director, was his right hand for the past half-century. She finished her active dancing career in 1985.

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.

Paul Taylor School

The Taylor School has taught Mr. Taylor's style to professional-level dancers since 1984. Raegan Wood is the school's director. All classes at the school are taught by Taylor Company alumni, but the primary instructor is alumna Reagan. The school has for toddlers, teens and adults with any level of experience. They have 7 different levels in which the students move up as the progress. These levels include, Taylor Tots (Ages 2–3 with an adult), Level 1 (Ages 4–6), Level 2 (Ages 7–9), Level 3 (Ages 10–12), Level 4 (Ages 13–18), Advanced Taylor Teen (Ages 14–18), and Open Level Modern (Adults) .Those new to dance are accepted in all levels except Advanced Taylor Teen. The Advanced Taylor Teen class are for those who have already achieved in high technical classes and they need to be able to learn quickly. So, basically these dancers need to be well experienced. Classes for the younger students focus mainly on creative movement and modern dance, while the older students learn through Paul Taylor style of choreography and his Company level technique. In the Level 1 class the students are learning the basics of modern dance.[2] This program has been a new addition to the Taylor school. All levels emphasize the combination of athleticism and artistry that the dance company is known for.

Paul Taylor American Modern Dance

In 2015, Taylor began a new program, called Paul Taylor American Modern Dance,[3] in which works of modern dance by choreographers other than Taylor—performed by dancers practiced in those styles—are included in the company's annual season at the Koch Theater. In addition, contemporary choreographers receive commissions to create new works on the Taylor company. Thus far, dances by Doris Humphrey, Shen Wei, Merce Cunningham, Martha Graham, Donald McKayle, and Trisha Brown have been presented. New commissions by Doug Elkins, Larry Keigwin, Lila York, Bryan Arias, and Doug Varone have been set on and danced by Paul Taylor Dance Company. Since 2015, live music has been performed on every program by the Orchestra of St. Luke's.


- Kennedy Center Honors(1992)

- MacArthur Fellowship(1985)

- Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Choreography(1992)

- Guggenheim Fellowship for Creative Arts(1961)

- Bessie Lifetime Achievement Award(2012)[4]

Performances and repertory

The Taylor Company has traveled the globe multiple times and performed in more than 540 cities and in 64 countries. It has represented the United States at art festivals in more than 40 countries. The Company has created a reputation as one of the best regarded dance organizations in the world.[5]

Paul Taylor Dance Company's annual New York seasons—the primary performance run for the company, which also tours throughout the year—have been presented at Lincoln Center's Koch Theater since 2012.[6] Prior to that, beginning in 1977, New York City Center hosted the company's seasons, which in recent years have typically last three weeks, comprising 20 or so dances. The length and breadth of the runs are unusual for modern troupes, and more resemble a major ballet company's in scope.

Taylor's repertory varies widely and resists simple categorization. He 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, requiring great athleticism and stamina from the dancers. Examples include Esplanade[7], Brandenburgs, Mercuric Tidings,[8] Aureole, Arden Court, and Promethean Fire.

He explored the depth of the human condition or psyche in dramatic works, a number of which follow dark or sardonic themes. These 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, To Make Crops Grow, and many more.

Yet other dances blend the lyrical and formal with undercurrents of drama, such as Sunset, Private Domain, Beloved Renegade, Piazzolla Caldera, and Company B. He had a slapstick sense of humor, seen in pieces such as Offenbach Overtures, Funny Papers, and Troilus and Cressida (Reduced). Romance prevails in dances such as Eventide, Roses, Cascade, and Perpetual Dawn. During the company's season, each program is different, with each of usually three dances varying in tone and dynamic. With the inception of Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, work by other choreographers has been folded into the Taylor repertory, creating greater breadth and diversity.

In March 2016 Paul Taylor Dance Company performed its annual New York season comprising 22 dances. House of Joy is a sketch of a mid-20th century brothel, with memorable characterizations. The Uncommitted gave a message to the audience that even though we feel alone we still belong to a community. Aureole showed the strong bones of Taylor's lyrical dance. The Company has also performed at the Sarasota Ballet.[10] They performed three dances spanning from 1988 to 2007 and they made some type of connection with those in the audience. To open the show was Brandenburgs, it was created nearly 30 years ago but was for the pure dance lovers. Then there was this pieced named Lines of Loss. This dance was choreographed in 2007 and was reference to small daily deaths. One of the dancers said it “Taylor may have been pondering his own mortality.” Black Tuesday demonstrated how life combines tragedy and humor through a series of character studies of adversity. The dancers performed in front of a changing backdrop projections in period costumes and to popular songs of the era.

Dancers and Choreographers

● Raegan Wood

● João Mauricio Carvalho

● Richard Chen See

● Amy Young

The company members of The Paul Taylor Dance Company are:

● Michael Trusnovec, has danced with Taylor 2, Cortez & Co. Contemporary/Ballet, and Corbin Dances.

● Robert Kleinendorst, danced with the Gail Gilbert Dance Ensemble, and Cortez & Co. after moving to New York.

● James Samson, studied as a scholarship student with David Parsons New Arts Festival, Pilobolus Intensive Workshop, Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive and joined PTDC in February 2001.

● Michelle Fleet, has performed in works by Bill. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Kevin Wynn, Carlo Menotti, and joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in September 2002.

● Parisa Khobdeh, attended Paul Taylor and Martha Graham dance intensives in New York City and joined Paul Taylor Dance Company at the American Dance Festival in Summer 2003.

● Sean Mahoney, was chosen as one of the first members of the Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company in 1993 and has danced for David Parsons, Alex Tresor, and Geoffrey Doig-Marx.

● Eran Bugge, has performed in works of Amy Marshall, Katie Stevinson-Nollet, Jean Grand-Maitre, and joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in Fall 2005.

● Francisco Graciano, has been a member of TAKE Dance Company, Michael Mao Dance, Cortez & Co. along with a couple of others. He joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in Spain in Summer 2006.

● Laura Halzack, has performed with the Amy Marshall Dance Company, Syren Modern Dance and, studied at the Taylor school for two years before the Company in Summer 2006

● Jamie Rae Walker, performed with American Repertory Ballet while studying ballet and joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in Summer 2008.

● Michael Apuzzo, danced and choreographed in undergraduate companies and joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Fall 2008.

● Michael Novak, has performed pieces by Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio, Vaslav Nijinsky, and participated in the Taylor Summer Intensive before the joining the Company in Summer 2010. In May 2018 Paul Taylor personally announced Mr. Novak would be appointed Artistic Director Designate Paul Taylor American Modern Dance effective July 1, 2018.

● Heather McGinley, was member of the Graham II for two seasons and participated in the 2010 at The Taylor School then joined the Company in Spring 2011.

● George Smallwood, first joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in spring 2011 and later rejoined in Summer 2012.

● Christina Lynch Markham, danced with Amy Marshall Dance Company, Stacie Nelson and the Dance Theater Company. She joined Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company in Summer 2008 and the Company in Spring 2013.

● Madelyn Ho, performed with Urbanity Dance and joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Spring 2015.

● Kristin Draucker, has danced with Michael Mao Dance, ArmitageGone!Dance, New Chamber Ballet since she moved to New York and joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Winter 2017.

[1] "Paul Taylor Dance Company | The Lo-Down: News from the Lower East Side." The LoDown News from the Lower East Side. Accessed March 28, 2017.

[2] Wakin, Daniel J. "Paul Taylor to Receive Bessie Lifetime Achievement Award." The New York Times. September 25, 2012. Accessed March 28, 2017.

[3] Kaufman, Sarah L. "Paul Taylor's vintage works and classic joys." The Washington Post. May 26, 2016. Accessed March 28, 2017.

[4] Seidman, Carrie. "Dance Review: Paul Taylor Company provides a different flavor of the month." Sarasota Herald. February 25, 2017. Accessed March 28, 2017.


The Company is a charitable, not-for-profit organization managed by a board of trustees, which includes Taylor, as well as chairman C. F. Stone III, and vice-chairs Elise Jaffe, Scott King, Max R. Shulman, Stephen D. Weinroth, and Robert A. Scott, treasurer Joseph A. Smith, and secretary Joan C. Bowman.[11]


  • The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts says " of the world’s most exquisite ensembles."[12]
  • PBS refers to this Dance Company as "one of American's premier troupes"[13]
  • Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts says "One of the world's most brilliant dance companies..." and calls Paul Taylor "...a living legend."[14]

Performances on video

  • Nonesuch VHS (1992) Speaking in Tongues, ASIN: 6302550394
  • PBS Thirteen/WNET VHS (1996) The Wrecker's Ball (Company B, Funny Papers, A Field of Grass)
  • Warnervision VHS (1999) Paul Taylor Dance Company (Esplanade, Runes), ASIN: 1568327889
  • Docurama DVD (2000) Dancemaker, ASIN: 0767023447



  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. "Paul Taylor Dance Company | The Lo-Down : News from the Lower East Side". Retrieved 2017-03-28.
  3. 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.
  4. Wakin, Daniel J. "Paul Taylor to Receive Bessie Lifetime Achievement Award". ArtsBeat. Retrieved 2017-03-30.
  5. 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.
  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. Seidman, Carrie (February 25, 2017). "Dance Review: Paul Taylor Company provides a different flavor of the month". Sarasota Herald. Retrieved March 28, 2017.
  11. "Board". Paul Taylor Dance Company. Archived from the original on 2017-03-19. Retrieved March 18, 2017.
  12. Kennedy Center: Information about Paul Taylor Dance Company
  13. American Masters . Paul Taylor | PBS
  14. Penn Presents: Paul Taylor Dance Company

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