The Paul Taylor Dance Company Presents All-Taylor Program in Memory of Founder

July 9, 2019 – (Becket, MA) The Paul Taylor Dance Company marks its 18th Pillow appearance with The Celebration Tour, an exclusively Taylor-choreographed program to commemorate the passing of their founder, July 24-28 in the Ted Shawn Theatre. Having created 147 original works over the course of his celebrated career, Paul Taylor is remembered for dances that capture life’s joys and tackle some of society’s most complex issues. The New York Times has praised Mr. Taylor as “one of the most singular and searching imaginations of our time,” and remembers him as one who “brought a lyrical musicality, capacity for joy, and wide poetic imagination to modern dance over six decades.” The Celebration Tour’s Pillow program includes, Aureole, Concertiana, and Promethean Fire, and features archival footage of the Taylor company performing at Jacob’s Pillow.


“Mr. Taylor’s work was the very first contemporary dance that I ever experienced,” says Jacob’s Pillow Director Pamela Tatge. “To this day, I have not forgotten that joyous and visceral performance I witnessed at the age of 13. Pillow audiences have a deep affection for this American master and I knew we had to honor the passing of the great Paul Taylor at the Pillow this summer to help ensure the continuance of his legacy, now in the hands of his hand-picked successor, Michael Novak.”


Mr. Taylor’s earliest success, the sunny Aureole, opens the program as a nod to the company’s 1964 Pillow debut. This work, set to Baroque music by George Frideric Handel, encapsulates Mr. Taylor’s serenity with a rigorous yet simple solo—originally danced by Mr. Taylor—that “alters our notion of time,” (The New York Times). With lyricism and white costumes, the work contains “downright beautiful moments in an increasingly dark world,” (The New York Times) and will “catapult you to a happier time and place” (The Huffington Post).


Mr. Taylor’s final work, Concertiana, is considered “a living flip book of dance history,” (The New York Times). Dancers are costumed in hand-painted unitards by William Ivey Long and perform to a musical score by Eric Ewazen with movement described as “a hybrid of pedestrianism” (The Berkshire Eagle).  Concertiana, which has never before been performed at the Pillow, reveals that Mr. Taylor was a choreographic genius until the end of his life. The complex, illustrious work has been received as Mr. Taylor’s parting gift.


Mr. Taylor’s Promethean Fire, premiered in 2002, is accepted by some as his greatest accomplishment. This unabashed work set to the orchestral arrangements of Bach features 16 dancers costumed in black velvet. While Promethean Fire does not portray a specific historical event, the complex architectural patterns matched with the dancers’ powerful emotion resonates with many cruel moments in history, including the tragedy of September 11th, that occurred the year before the work’s premiere. Examining the vast array of emotional colors within the human condition, the work “suggests that we’re strong enough to prevail” (The Los Angeles Times).


Beyond dance-making, Paul Taylor was an infinitely creative artist in multiple media. Jacob’s Pillow salutes his memory with Assemblages, an exhibit on display in the lobby of the Ted Shawn Theatre for the duration of Festival 2019 featuring his own idiosyncratic visual works, some on public display for the first time. Assembled mostly from found objects, Mr. Taylor’s artworks are joyful, haunting, humorous, bawdy, ingenious, and just as memorable as the dances for which he is best known.


Michael Novak, only the second Artistic Director in the history of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation upon the death of Founding Artistic Director Paul Taylor, will participate in a PillowTalk on July 27 where he will discuss what lays ahead for the company.



Paul Taylor, one of the most accomplished artists this nation has ever produced, helped shape and define America’s homegrown art of modern dance from the earliest days of his career as a choreographer in 1954 until his death in 2018.


Having performed with Martha Graham’s company for several years, Mr. Taylor uniquely bridged the legendary founders of modern dance: Isadora Duncan, Ruth St. Denis, Ted Shawn, Doris Humphrey, Martha Graham; and the dance-makers of the 21st Century with whom he later worked. Through his initiative at Lincoln Center that began in 2015—Paul Taylor American Modern Dance—he presented great modern works of the past and outstanding works by today’s leading choreographers alongside his own vast and growing repertoire. He also commissioned the next generation of dance-makers to work with his renowned Company, thereby helping to ensure the future of the art form.



The Paul Taylor Dance Company has traveled the globe many times over, bringing Mr. Taylor’s ever-burgeoning repertoire to theaters and venues of every size and description in cultural capitals, on college campuses and in rural communities – and often to places modern dance had never been seen before. The Taylor Company has performed in more than 500 cities in 64 countries, representing the United States at arts festivals in more than 40 countries and touring extensively under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State. Michael Novak, member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company since 2010, was named Artistic Director Designate by Paul Taylor in March 2018, and assumed his role in September 2018.



Paul Taylor Dance Company has a deep Pillow history, making its 18th appearance this season; the last appearance was in 2017. The first time Paul Taylor himself performed at the Pillow was in 1954 while he was a member of Pearl Lang’s company. Paul Taylor Dance Company made its Pillow debut in 1964, with Twyla Tharp making her first professional performances as a member of the company.


Other Pillow “firsts” include the fact that Paul Taylor was the first choreographer to be the subject of a workshop in The School at Jacob’s Pillow, with three-week programs in 1982 and 1983, and a two-week program in 1996. Mr. Taylor’s second company, known as Taylor 2, made its world debut at the Pillow in 1993 and returned for a residency in 1996. Paul Taylor gave his first exhibition as a visual artist at Jacob’s Pillow in 2000, showing his collages of found objects in a show entitled Assemblages (reprised this season). That same summer, in honor of Mr. Taylor’s 70th birthday, the main company appeared in the Ted Shawn Theatre for a weeklong engagement while Taylor 2 was in the Duke Theatre, marking the first and only time thus far that both theaters have been given over to the same choreographer.


Watch Paul Taylor Dance Company on Jacob’s Pillow Dance Interactive:

  • Paul Taylor Dance Company in Airs in 1982: company/airs/

  • Paul Taylor Dance Company in Esplanade in 2017:



  • Paul Taylor Dance Company at Jacob’s Pillow

Ted Shawn Theatre

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday at 8pm

Thursday, Saturday, Sunday at 2pm

$78, $65, $45

A limited number of $35 Under 35 tickets are available; adults ages 18-35 are eligible. One

Ticket per person; each guest must show valid I.D. when picking up tickets at Will Call.

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