PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY: A TIMELINE OF MAJOR EVENTS
1954 Taylor’s first professional work and his first collaboration with artist Robert Rauschenberg: Jack and the Beanstalk.
1956 Taylor choreographs 3 Epitaphs; again Rauschenberg collaborates.
1957 Taylor’s first full evening of his own choreography (‘Dances by Paul Taylor,’ Kaufmann Concert Hall, New York City). Seven New Dances provokes Louis Horst’s famous blank review.
1960 In Taylor’s first European tour, Meridian, Tablet, 3 Epitaphs, Rebus and Circus Polka are danced at Italy’s Spoleto Festival. Lincoln Kirstein had recommended Taylor to director Gian Carlo Menotti. The Company would tour to more than 500 cities in 62 countries in its first 50 years. While at Spoleto, Taylor is invited to create The White Salamander for The Netherlands Ballet. This is the first time he uses the pseudonym George H. Tacet, Ph.D as the designer.
1961 First performance at the American Dance Festival, Connecticut College, New London; premiere of Insects and Heroes, with sets and costumes by Rouben Ter-Arutunian. Taylor choreographs Junction, the first work in a long-term collaboration with designer Alex Katz, and the first time Taylor uses a Baroque score, a rarity in modern dance.
1962 Performances in Paris as part of the Festival of Nations. Although most of the 23 participating countries are represented by larger and essentially classical companies, Taylor wins an award for Best Choreographer. Sold-out performances and an invitation to be involved in a TV performance in Turin in four weeks time leads to Taylor extending his Paris performances into a season at the Théâtre des Arts. As with many American artists, the recognition and glowing compliments bestowed on Taylor in Europe open doors for him in the U.S. While the Company is based in Paris, Taylor begins choreographing Aureole. Charles Reinhart becomes the first executive director. He is one of only six people to head the managerial side of the Company through 2004, the others being Judith Daykin, Robert Yesselman, Ross Kramberg, Wallace Chappell and Martin I. Kagan.
1963 The Company marks its first Broadway season, at the Little Theater, produced by Richard Barr, Edward Albee and Clinton Wilder. The Company would subsequently have eight seasons on Broadway.
1964 First London season, at the Shaftsbury Theatre in the West End. 1965 Taylor choreographs From Sea To Shining Sea, thus initiating a series of works based upon Americana themes as well as a long-time collaboration with designer John Rawlings. A tour of South America is the first of 11 tours as goodwill ambassadors under the auspices of the Department of State. The Company begins to be presented on a larger scale, and performs more often and in larger theatres, often with live music. Resident orchestras are rehearsed and conducted by Simon Sadoff, the company’s first Music Director.
1966 The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation is established. Taylor choreographs Orbs, a two-act dance set to Beethoven’s final string quartets. Lighting is by Jennifer Tipton, beginning a collaboration that continues to this day. One-week season at the ANTA Theater on Broadway.
1967 Taylor wins 16th Annual Capezio Dance Award. The citation reads as follows: “To Paul Taylor, for training a company of brilliant young dancers in a style which complements his own inimitable dance technique, and with them building a repertoire which has immeasurably enriched American modern dance and has brought prestige to that unique native art form wherever he has shown it all over the world on behalf of the Cultural Presentations Program of the U.S. Department of State.”
1968 The Taylor Company returns to Paris to represent the U.S. at the Paris Festival. The Royal Danish Ballet performs Aureole, the first time another dance company acquires an existing Taylor work.
1969 Taylor is elected Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.
1970 Big Bertha is created, and subsequently becomes one of the Taylor dances most requested by presenters. The Taylor Company tours Europe and Lebanon under a new relationship with impresario Thomas Erdos, who remains its international agent and ardent champion for more than three decades.
1971 Book of Beasts is created, and later becomes a performance vehicle for Rudolf Nureyev.
1973 Taylor creates his first full-evening work, American Genesis.
1974 After the New York premiere of American Genesis at the Brooklyn Academy of Music on March 14, Taylor retires from dancing.
1975 Esplanade, the first work Taylor makes after he has stopped dancing, is immediately acknowledged by many critics and dance professionals at one of the greatest dance works ever created.
1976 John Holmes becomes Board President and brings on the Board Walter Scheuer, who will be its longest-serving member. Cloven Kingdom is created, and the men’s quartet becomes emblematic of one aspect of Taylor’s style.
1978 First of nine appearances by the Company on PBS Television’s Dance in America series (‘Paul Taylor Dance Company — Esplanade and Runes‘). Taylor choreographs Airs, which later joins the repertoire of American Ballet Theatre.
1980 Taylor receives the Dance Magazine Award. Le Sacre du Printemps (The Rehearsal) is seen by many as a landmark approach to the renowned Stravinsky score.
1981 A benefit performance of From Sea To Shining Sea features Gwen Verdon, Hermione Gingold, Betty Comden, Adolph Green, and, in their first appearance on stage together, Mikhail Baryshnikov and Rudolf Nureyev. Taylor choreographs Arden Court, an instant hit with audiences and critics.
1985 Roses and Last Look are made in the same year, confirming Taylor’s position of the choreographic “Master of the Light and the Dark.” Taylor receives a MacArthur “Genius” Award. Bettie de Jong, who had danced with the Company since 1962, retires from dancing but remains Rehearsal Director.
1986 Musical Offering is considered by many to be one of Taylor’s most profound works.
1987 Publication of Taylor’s autobiography, Private Domain, which is nominated for the National Book Critics Circle Award in Biography, and is now in its third edition.
1988 Speaking in Tongues is hailed by critics as another landmark for the dance world. With Counterswarm, Taylor begins a collaboration with set and costume designer Santo Loquasto that continues to this day.
1989 Taylor is elected Honorary Member of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.
1990 Taylor is elected Commandeur de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in France.
1991 The Kennedy Center and Houston Ballet commission Company B.
1992 Taylor receives an Emmy Award for Speaking in Tongues, produced by WNET/13. He receives Kennedy Center Honors “for enhancing the lives of people around the world and enriching the culture of our nation.” John Tomlinson, to be the Taylor Company’s long-time General Manager, joins the organization.
1993 Taylor is awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Clinton at the White House. The Paul Taylor 2 Dance Company, a second company of Paul Taylor dancers, is formed, with Linda Hodes as Director.
1994 Sponsored by the U.S. government, Taylor 2 tours six countries in Africa.
1995 Taylor receives the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts, for work that “endures as some of the most innovative and important the world has ever seen.” Danmarks Radio in Denmark produces a television program featuring Syzygy and Spindrift. Taylor is named one of 50 prominent Americans honored in recognition of their outstanding achievement by the Library of Congress’ Office of Scholarly Programs.
1996 Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 complete the largest-ever statewide tour of Wisconsin with Wisconsin Dance On Tour and perform in 22 communities in five weeks. The Taylor Company performs for the first time in the People’s Republic of China.
1997 Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 are invited by the American Embassy in New Delhi as a month-long “gift of culture” to the people of India to celebrate 50 years of Indian independence. Both companies tour throughout India. Taylor choreographs Piazzolla Caldera, a runaway hit that has its creative process documented in the film Dancemaker, which plays in movie theaters throughout the U.S. and abroad. The film is executive produced by Walter Scheuer and produced and directed by Matthew Diamond.
1999 Dancemaker is nominated for an Academy Award for best documentary feature film of 1998. Paul Taylor Dance Company presents a four-week residency in San Francisco with San Francisco Performances at the inauguration of the Chase Celebration of American Dance.
2000 Taylor is inducted as Chevalier in France’s Légion d’Honneur for exceptional contributions to French culture. Dancemaker appears on the PBS series, American Masters.
2001 The Taylor Company returns to the People’s Republic of China for a four-week, six-city tour. 2002 Taylor choreographs Promethean Fire, and The New York Times says it may be his greatest work yet. 2003 The Paul Taylor Dance Company wins in the Best Foreign Dance Company category for the Critics’ Circle National Dance Awards
2003 in Great Britain. 2004 Promethean Fire is nominated for London’s Olivier Award in the category of Best New Dance. Taylor wins the Manchester Evening News Award for Dance 2003, for the Company’s engagement at the Lowry, part of a four-week, six-city tour of the United Kingdom; and the 10th Annual American Choreography Awards for Outstanding Achievement in Choreography for the television special Acts of Ardor, which includes Black Tuesday and Promethean Fire. The Taylor Company and Taylor 2 begin a celebration of the 50th Anniversary of the Paul Taylor Dance Company, which will take one or both companies to all 50 States by November 2005. As part of the celebration, Taylor is commissioned to make a Golden Quartet, which becomes Dante Variations, Klezmerbluegrass, Spring Rounds and Banquet of Vultures.
2005 Taylor wins the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Award of Merit for Achievement in the Performing Arts, and the Americans for the Arts Lifetime Achievement Award. In its “Best of the Best 2004” article, Vanity Fair magazine hails him as “the greatest choreographer in the world.” The Taylor Company celebrates its 50th Anniversary with a three-week season at City Center that draws more than 25,000 people. Following the season’s final performance, more than 70 Taylor dancers from past and present join Taylor for a bow on stage while more than 2,000 audience members show their appreciation. In the Fall, Taylor again finds inspiration on the front pages of the daily newspaper, this time denouncing imperialism in Banquet of Vultures.
2007 The Taylor Company returns to the People’s Republic of China for performances and master classes with local students and professional dancers.
2008 Paul Taylor Dance Company and Taylor 2 complete an 18-city tour of Pennsylvania in April. Taylor is awarded an honorary doctorate by Adelphi University; previous doctorates were awarded by California Institute of the Arts, Connecticut College, Duke University, The Juilliard School, Skidmore College, the State University of New York at Purchase, and Syracuse University. After losing its long-time Soho home, the Taylor Foundation leases space for a new home on Manhattan’s Lower East Side.
2009 The New York Times, having called the Walt Whitman-inspired Beloved Renegade “the best new choreography of 2008,” says Mr. Taylor “ranks among the great war poets.” A subsequent article claims that in light of recent artistic successes, “Taylor is on a high.”
2010 The Taylor Foundation celebrates Mr. Taylor’s 80th birthday.
2011 Penn State’s Institute for the Arts and Humanities presents Taylor with its Medal for Distinguished Achievement, given annually to “individuals who have made outstanding contributions to the arts and humanities and whose work has furthered public awareness of the importance of scholarship, literature and the arts.” Further demonstrating the choreographer’s wide appeal, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and American Ballet Theatre both include a Taylor work in their New York seasons: Arden Court and Black Tuesday, respectively. The Taylor School, which previously offered only professional classes, inaugurates classes for neighborhood children and adults.
2012 True to his nature as a risk-taker and iconoclast, Taylor moves his Company to Lincoln Center, where it triumphs in a three-week engagement that shatters its previous box office record. The season celebrates the 50th Anniversary of Aureole, the dance that launched a Golden Age in 1962. The New York Dance and Performance Awards (the “Bessies”) bestow a Lifetime Achievement Award on Mr. Taylor.
2013 As a result of the move to Lincoln Center, box office revenue for the Paul Taylor Dance Company’s annual New York Season tops $1 million for the first time in Company history.
2014 The Taylor Company celebrates its 60th Anniversary with a revival of From Sea to Shining Sea, performed at Lincoln Center by nearly 50 past and current members of the Company in a version specially staged by alumna Sharon Kinney. Taylor announces the creation of a new initiative, Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance. The Dancemaker will curate and present great modern dances of the past and present alongside his own works at Lincoln Center and other prominent venues throughout the world, and nurture a new generation of choreographers so that modern dance flourishes long into the future. Taylor helps fund the initiative by donating four Rauschenberg artworks that Sotheby’s auctions for more than $6 million.
2015 The inaugural season of Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance features two guest companies and music performed live by Orchestra of St. Luke’s. Limon Dance Company performs Doris Humphrey’s Passacaglia (1938) and Shen Wei Dance Arts performs Shen Wei’s Rite of Spring (2004).
2016 A New York Dance and Performance (“Bessie”) Award for Outstanding Revival was given to Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder, choreographed by Donald McKayle. “Rainbow ‘Round My Shoulder was recognized for giving a classic modern dance new and powerful life, transforming the mid-century portrayal of an African American prison chain gang into a searingly resonant cry for our current times, performed with humanity, craft, and beauty by the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company, produced by Paul Taylor American Modern Dance as part of its 2016 season at the David H. Koch Theater,” according to the Bessies. In addition, Taylor dancer Parisa Khobdeh was nominated for a Bessie Award for her body of work with the Company.