Sadly, Paul Taylor, The renowned lithe modern dancer/choreographer who gave us the Paul Taylor Dance Company has passed away Wednesday 29th.

Paul Taylor was a living legend in the pantheon of artists from Modern Dance.

Paul Taylor. B: July 29th 1930, Wilkinsburg, Pennsylvania, U.S. – D: August 29th 2018, Manhattan, New York, U.S. Age 88 Years.

Whilst attending Syracuse University, initially studying art, he also received a swimming scholarship. Mr. Taylor’s focus changed to dance in 1952, where he received another scholarship and started attending the Julliard School in New York City. Mr. Taylor studied Modern Dance with José Limón, Martha Graham, and Doris Humphrey. Mr. Taylor study Classical Ballet under Antony Tudor and Margaret Craske.

In his down time and on the odd occasion, Mr. Taylor would perform on Broadway for Jerome Robbins.

Mr. Taylor also performed works for other dance pioneers, such as, Merce Cunningham and George Balanchine.

In 1953, Mr. Taylor was a founding member of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company.

In fact, Mr. Balanchine created a special solo (”Variations, Opus 30”) for Mr. Taylor in the ballet “Episodes,” 1959. In 1986, Mr. Taylor restaged the solo piece which was performed at the State Theatre by New York City Ballet’s Soloist Peter Frame.

Between 1955 and 1962 Mr. Taylor had commenced dancing with Martha Graham’s Company. He created works such as, “Aegisthus in Clytemnestra,”1958. –  “Hercules in Alcestis,” 1960.

Paul Taylor and Martha Graham performing in Graham's Clytemnestra in 1960 Paul Taylor Bettie de Jong (in the foreground) in a performance of Party Mix 1966 Paul Taylor (1961) PT 1969 PT taylor-300 PT 1
Paul Taylor Bettie de Jong (in the foreground) in a performance of Party Mix 1966

In 1954, Mr. Taylor formed the Paul Taylor Dance Company. The Paul Taylor Dance Company first work was “Jack and the Beanstalk” on May 30, 1954.

Although it was his 1956 works “Four Epitaphs” that started to gain attention. “Three Epitaphs” a short version became a signature work.

Mr. Taylor stopped performing on stage around 1974 due to injury.

Whilst not performing on stage any longer, Mr. Taylor shifted his concentration to creating more works. In fact Mr. Taylor during his lifetime in Dance, which was over half a century, did create over 140 dances. He created works such as, “Aureole,” 1962. – “Esplanade,” 1975. – “Arden Court,” 1981. His final work was, “Concertiana,” which premiered March 2018.

Today’s future generation of dancers can still learn at The Taylor School, from those who trained under Mr. Taylor and/or worked in the Taylor Companies.

Mr. Taylor shares his wisdom when performing on stage.

“To live from moment to moment, and to concentrate, be in that moment, especially on stage in the moment, is very important.”

Did You Know?

Paul Taylor took up dance at the age of 20.

The Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company was created in 1993.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company has performed around the world in over 500 cities in 64 countries.

Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev have performed as Guest Artists with The Paul Taylor Dance Company.

In 1968 The Royal Danish Ballet acquired an existing work from Paul Taylor and performed “Aureole.” This was a first for Paul Taylor.

Mr. Taylor earned numerous awards during his lifetime, such as, Kennedy Center Honors, Guggenheim Fellowship, National Medal of Arts presented by President Bill Clinton.

Mr. Taylor was nominated for a 1999 Academy Award for Dancemaker, 1998, in “Best Documentary, Features.”

Mr. Taylor Won at the 1992, 44th Emmy Awards in the category “Outstanding Individual Achievement In Choreography,” for Paul Taylor’s “Speaking In Tongues” Dance In America.

To learn more about the Paul Taylor Dance Company, click here.

Feature photo of Paul Taylor from the web.