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Paul Taylor 1930-2018 (merged)

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The great Paul Taylor has passed away at age 88. I’m sorry, I can’t figure out how to link to the NYT article or the press release from the company. 

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Heartbreaking. 

He was the reason I came to NYC as a young dancer and studied at the Taylor school. 

I think he's the last modern great to go (unless I'm forgetting someone).

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The company's next full season in New York City will be in October 2019.  I wonder if the schedule will be chock full of his masterpieces.  He was a great American artist.  I looked forward to seeing his company annually here in NYC.

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RIP, Paul Taylor.  Thank you for the countless hours of joy your dances and your dancers put into my life. Thank you, too, for the times your dances provoked me, annoyed me, puzzled me, and made me think.

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7 minutes ago, Kathleen O'Connell said:

RIP, Paul Taylor.  Thank you for the countless hours of joy your dances and your dancers put into my life. Thank you, too, for the times your dances provoked me, annoyed me, puzzled me, and made me think.

Well said.  His dances evoked a range of emotions.  Promethean Fire still always causes me to shed a tear each time I see it, because I closely associate it with my own experiences on Sept 11.  Esplanade and other dancers always bring great joy. 

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1 minute ago, abatt said:

His dances evoked a range of emotions.  Promethean Fire still always causes me to shed a tear each time I see it, because I closely associate it with my own experiences on Sept 11.  Esplanade and other dancers always bring great joy. 

Yes, indeed! I should have mentioned bringing me to tears as well, which, believe it or not, Company B almost always did! In wartime, "There will never, ever be another you" means exactly that, for real and for keeps. 

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2 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Heartbreaking. 

He was the reason I came to NYC as a young dancer and studied at the Taylor school. 

I think he's the last modern great to go (unless I'm forgetting someone).

Mark Morris? 

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I only just saw his company for the first time in July, and really enjoyed it. My friend and I will be seeing them again in October at the Egg. I am grateful not only for his choreography and company, but that he had the foresight to designate a successor.

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, rkoretzky said:

Mark Morris? 

Morris belongs to a very different generation--fighting different battles.

As others have expressed too...I feel great gratitude to Paul Taylor. For me Esplanade remains an all time touchstone of what can be done with a run and a walk. May he rest in peace.

Edited by Drew

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Just noting that the above NYT link has been updated to the full obituary.

 

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Official statement from www.patamd.org: 

The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation announced the death yesterday of legendary choreographer Paul Taylor in Manhattan on August 29. Mr. Taylor, a founder and towering icon of America’s homegrown art of modern dance, was at the forefront of the art for decades, and his ideas continue to influence art of the 21st century. During a 64-year career.

Mr. Taylor created 147 dances including such masterworks as Aureole, Esplanade, Company B, Promethean Fire and Beloved Renegade. Mr. Taylor’s final work, Concertiana, premiered March 2018.

In 2014 Mr. Taylor established an institutional home for the art form: Paul Taylor American Modern Dance. He curated and presented great modern dances of the past and present alongside his own works at Lincoln Center, and commissioned a new generation of choreographers so that modern dance flourishes long into the future.

Taylor dancer Michael Novak, whom Mr. Taylor named Artistic Director Designate earlier this year, becomes the second Artistic Director in the Company’s 64-year history.

“Paul Taylor was one of the world’s greatest dancemakers, and his passing deeply saddens not only those of us who worked with him, but also people all over the world whose spirits have been touched by his incomparable art,” said Artistic Director Michael Novak. “We are grateful for your love and support as we begin to carry on his legacy with the utmost fidelity and devotion.”

In lieu of flowers, to celebrate the memory of Paul Taylor
donations can be made to the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation by clicking here:

button_dancemaker.png

To share memories about Paul Taylor and his work, or to express your condolences,
please email us at dancemaker@ptamd.org

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9 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

I think he's the last modern great to go (unless I'm forgetting someone).

Based on these famous photos by Jack Mitchell, I would say that Taylor was the last of the modern greats to go (Rainer and Tharp being postmodern):

https://www.gettyimages.com/photos/cunningham-graham-hawkins-limon-taylor?phrase=cunningham graham hawkins limon taylor&sort=best#license

Anna Sokolow was invited but refused to participate because the photo was taken in the garden at the Graham company headquarters. Foolish! (Interestingly, I had never seen the color photo until tonight. It's less severe than the black and white version and humanizes all of them more.)

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PBS News Hour did a tribute to taylor this evening. You can find the video on the PBS News Hour website.

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14 hours ago, ABT Fan said:

Heartbreaking. 

He was the reason I came to NYC as a young dancer and studied at the Taylor school. 

I think he's the last modern great to go (unless I'm forgetting someone).

I came to NYC hoping to get into his company, too. I studied at the Taylor school... I guess it was in the mid to late 1980's and maybe early 90's. (Time is not my strong suit)

It's sad, but not surprising. He put a lot of thought into it and set his company up to continue without him. A real passing of the torch.

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On 8/30/2018 at 12:27 PM, rkoretzky said:

Mark Morris? 

Taylor was the last titan of modern dance. Very sad news.  Morris or Tharp are not in the same generation -- or league, in my opinion.

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Robert Gottlieb's remembrance of Paul Taylor:

https://observer.com/2018/08/remembering-paul-taylor-dance-genius/

Interesting quote:

"Most tellingly, perhaps, he was Americanwhich may be why he has been less appreciated in Europe and England than he has been back home. He wasn’t experimental enough for the French or comfy enough for the Britsneither avant-garde nor traditional."

I guess I never thought about it before but Gottlieb's right: Paul Taylor doesn't have much of a presence in Europe. Laurent Hilaire programmed Aureole at the Stanislavsky not long ago but, other than that, I'm hard-pressed to name another Taylor work that has appeared on European stages in recent seasons. Maybe Taylor and Mark Morris are the same in that regard -- not having a work that's a fixture of the international repertory?

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Gottlieb may be right - he usually is - but my casual consultation of Taylor's company's tour-stop list over the years, just checking to see whether my provincial city, Chicago, were mentioned, brought up more French cities than American, some seasons.  So I'm surprised by his claim. 

This season, there seems to be about as many stops in China (this November) as in America, and there are a few in Germany and Italy.  That's more important to me than an isolated Taylor work or two performed by dancers to whom - or "on" whom - may look a little alien.  (Edward Villella's MCB performed a couple, but they were like that.  Nothing like so fully realized as by his own dancers.) 

Edited by Jack Reed

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On 9/6/2018 at 11:46 AM, miliosr said:

Robert Gottlieb's remembrance of Paul Taylor:

https://observer.com/2018/08/remembering-paul-taylor-dance-genius/

Interesting quote:

"Most tellingly, perhaps, he was Americanwhich may be why he has been less appreciated in Europe and England than he has been back home. He wasn’t experimental enough for the French or comfy enough for the Britsneither avant-garde nor traditional."

I guess I never thought about it before but Gottlieb's right: Paul Taylor doesn't have much of a presence in Europe. Laurent Hilaire programmed Aureole at the Stanislavsky not long ago but, other than that, I'm hard-pressed to name another Taylor work that has appeared on European stages in recent seasons. Maybe Taylor and Mark Morris are the same in that regard -- not having a work that's a fixture of the international repertory?

I was quite surprised to read this, at least in so far as it relates to Britain.  I don't recall Taylor being reviewed on visits over here in any negative way, rather the complete opposite, with great enthusiasm.  Rambert used to have a few of his works in their rep (Airs was on the bill when Sadler's Wells reopened after the rebuild). Rambert  also used to do Roses. I remember that being reviewed more enthusiastically than other new works on the bill. However, that was last done here n 2011/12. Rambert have headed more towards the search for new choreographers in recent years (though still producing some Cunningham pieces).  Other companies also brought his works on visits to Britain (ABT, Alvin Ailey).  But I don't think any UK ballet company took up any of his work in the last 15 years or so. Maybe that's part of the decline of the triple bill in general. 

I  do wish the Taylor company had toured more frequently  here. They certainly used to but in the last ten years or so it did fall away.  I would love to see that madcap Rite of Spring again. I had assumed that the absence of the company might have had more to do with the costs of touring the UK that seems to limit the number of companies that we get to see here these days rather than any lack of enthusiasm for Taylor's work. 

 

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7 hours ago, Jack Reed said:

Gottlieb may be right - he usually is - but my casual consultation of Taylor's company's tour-stop list over the years, just checking to see whether my provincial city, Chicago, were mentioned, brought up more French cities than American, some seasons.  So I'm surprised by his claim.

I thought Gottlieb was referring to the relative absence of Taylor works in European ballet and contemporary companies rather than to the Taylor company's popularity as a touring phenomenon. Just looking at France, I feel like Merce Cunningham, Trisha Brown and Lucinda Childs are more "go to" choreographers than Taylor is.

The real challenge for the Taylor company begins now. It will become more of an uphill task to secure bookings with the charismatic founder and sole creative force gone. This is the same problem that continues to confront the successor companies to Martha Graham and Jose Limon. Former big names like Erick Hawkins, Alwin Nikolais and Anna Sokolow no longer have companies acting in their names or the successor companies are small and inconsequential. (Merce Cunningham himself famously decided that the struggle to preserve a company's "life after death" wasn't worth it.)

I do think it's telling that Taylor decided to turn his namesake company into a modern dance repertory company. Even with six decades of dances under his belt, he may have felt that relying solely on his own dances wouldn't be enough after his death.

Edited by miliosr

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