Paul Taylor, one of the most accomplished artists this nation has ever produced, continues to shape America’s indigenous art of modern dance as he has since becoming a professional dancer and pioneering choreographer in 1954. Having performed with Martha Graham’s company for several years, Mr. Taylor uniquely bridges the legendary founders of modern dance – Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Doris Humphrey and Ms. Graham – and the dance makers of the 21st Century with whom he is now working.
Through a new initiative at Lincoln Center – Paul Taylor American Modern Dance – great modern works of the past and outstanding works by today’s leading choreographers are presented alongside Mr. Taylor’s own vast and growing repertoire. And Taylor Company Commissions enables the next generation of dance makers to work with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, thereby helping to ensure the future of the art form. As an integral part of Mr. Taylor’s vision, these dances are accompanied at Lincoln Center by live music whenever so intended by the choreographer.
In 2015, in addition to Mr. Taylor’s own dances, Paul Taylor American Modern Dance presented the Limón Dance Company in Doris Humphrey’s Passacaglia from 1938, and Shen Wei Dance Arts in Shen Wei’s Rite of Spring from 2004. In 2016 PTAMD presented Dayton Contemporary Dance Company in Donald McKayle’s Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder from 1959 (a subsequent Bessie Award winner) and the Paul Taylor Dance Company performed a dance by Martha Graham for the first time: Diversion of Angels from 1948. Under the new initiative Taylor Company Commissions, choreographers Larry Keigwin and Doug Elkins created works on the Taylor dancers, which were premiered at Lincoln Center: Rush Hour by Mr. Keigwin and The Weight of Smoke by Mr. Elkins. As part of the commissioning program, Taylor alumna Lila York has made Continuum, which premiered at Lincoln Center in 2017. The ’17 season also featured guest artists from Lyon Opera Ballet in Merce Cunningham’s Summerspace.