Paul Taylor: Creative Domain

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“Unlike many dance documentaries, “Paul Taylor: Creative Domain” doesn’t fetishize every aspect of the dancer’s day. It zeroes in on a mystery.

The mystery is how Taylor, one of the greatest modern-dance choreographers, uses a simple formula of people plus time to make a work of art that pulls you in like an undertow.
– Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post

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“…we’re shown what the camera has seldom been able to record: a great choreographer at work on a new piece…”
– Alastair Macaulay, The New York Times

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“A dance is not only motion, but emotion. This fascinating film reminds us how closely the two are linked.”
– Critic’s Pick by Diana Clarke, The Village Voice

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“We see the hard work, of course, but also the practical solutions to practical problems, as Mr. Taylor moves bodies this way and that, giving simple commands. Through it all, Mr. Taylor’s creative mysteries remain intact; a master of the casual and the vernacular (a good way to learn about movement, he says, is to watch football halftime shows), he nonetheless approaches the mystical.”
– Critic’s Pick by Rachel Saltz, The New York Times

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    At an age when most artists’ best work is behind them, Mr. Taylor continues to win acclaim for the vibrancy, relevance and power of his recent dances as well as his classics. As prolific as ever, he continues to offer cogent observations on life’s complexities while tackling some of society’s thorniest issues. He may propel his dancers through space for the sheer beauty of it, or use them to wordlessly illuminate war, spirituality, sexuality, morality and mortality. If, as Balanchine said, there are no mothers-in-law in ballet, there certainly are dysfunctional families, ex-lovers, fallen preachers, rapists, angels and insects in Taylor dance.

    Mr. Taylor has received every important honor given to artists in the United States. In 1992 he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and received an Emmy Award for Speaking in Tongues, produced by WNET/New York the previous year. He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in 1993. In 1995 he received the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named one of 50 prominent Americans honored in recognition of their outstanding achievement by the Library of Congress’s Office of Scholarly Programs. He is the recipient of three Guggenheim Fellowships and honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees from California Institute of the Arts, Connecticut College, Duke University, The Juilliard School, Skidmore College, the State University of New York at Purchase, Syracuse University and Adelphi University. Awards for lifetime achievement include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship – often called the “genius award” – and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award. Other awards include the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and the New York City Mayor’s Award of Honor for Art and Culture. In 1989 he was elected one of ten honorary American members of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters. Having been elected to knighthood by the French government as Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1969 and elevated to Officier in 1984 and Commandeur in 1990, Mr. Taylor was awarded France’s highest honor, the Légion d’Honneur, for exceptional contributions to French culture, in 2000. Mr. Taylor’s autobiography, originally published by Alfred A. Knopf and re-released by North Point Press and later by the University of Pittsburgh Press, was nominated by the National Book Critics Circle as the most distinguished biography of 1987. Dancemaker, Matthew Diamond’s award-winning, Oscar-nominated feature-length film about Mr. Taylor, was hailed by Time as “perhaps the best dance documentary ever.”


    Kate Geis
    Director, Producer, Editor
    An Emmy-award-winning documentary producer, she began her career in New York producing programs for WNET, Channel Thirteen, History Channel, A&E, and Metro TV. Over the past 20 years her subject matter has been a diverse exploration of people’s lives: Saturday Night Live’s set design team, the last checker cab driver in New York, public school principals, Eric Carle, and Paul Taylor.  She was introduced to ballet as a child going to the Mariinsky Theatre in St. Petersburg, Russia with her foreign-service parents.  She grew up in New York City and graduated from Northwestern University.  Previous dance projects include profiles of Miranda Weese, Albert Evans, Patrick Corbin, Terry Dean Bartlett, and Taylor 2.

    Tom Hurwitz, ASC
    Director of Photography
    One of America’s most honored documentary cinematographers. Winner of two Emmy Awards, the Sundance and Jerusalem Film Festival Awards for Best Cinematography, Hurwitz has photographed films that have won 4 academy awards and several more nominations (most recently for Dancemaker and Killing in the Name). His television programs have won dozens of awards, Emmy, Dupont, Peabody, Directors Guild and film festival awards for Best Documentary, over the last 25 years — most recently were Emmy Awards for Best Documentary Specials for the PBS show Jerome Robbins and the PBS series Franklin, on which Hurwitz directed the photography. Other award-winning films and programs that he has photographed include: Valentino: The Last Emperor, Harlan County USA, Wild Man Blues, My Generation, Down and Out in America, The Turandot Project, LibertyDolley, Faith and Doubt at Ground Zero, for PBS; and I Have a Dream, for ABC; and Killing in the Name, and Questioning Faith for HBOIn addition, films that he has directed have won the Cine Golden Eagle (for Bombs will Make the Rainbow Break) and have been shown in festivals around the world.  He is also a founding member of the faculty of The MFA Program in the Social Documentary, at New York’s School of Visual Arts.

    Robert Aberlin
    Executive Producer
    With ballroom-dancing parents and a ballet-dancing sister, Robert Aberlin found himself loving ballet and modern dance from a young age.  He has served as a board member of Snug Harbor Cultural Center in Staten Island and on  the boards of several New York City dance companies—Paul Taylor and Think Dance, and acts as an adjunct adviser to Cora Dance.  While working as a banker and then as the business manager and a teacher at a New York private school, he began making documentary films.  He co-produced two award- winning documentaries, both of which appeared on WNET the New York City PBS station.  “Lesson of September,” which explored how a New York school dealt with the trauma of 9/11, and “Broken Brotherhood,” in which men who attended Colgate University examine the decisions they made during the era of the Vietnam War through the prism of today.  Aberlin has also been involved in producing several short pieces on film for The Paul Taylor Dance Company and for Poly Prep Country Day School where he presently works.

    Special Thanks
    Robert Aberlin, Paul Taylor Dance Foundation Board Member, who made this film possible
    Peter Miller, Production Sound Mixer
    Molly McBride, Performance Director
    Chris Boyd, Associate Director
    Tom Hurwtiz, ASC, Director of Photography
    David Smith, Manny Gutierrez, Camera
    Bernard Russo, Video Engineer
    Matt Hamm, Systems Technician
    Mitch Csanadi, Ben Hallman, Utilities
    Clark Media, Video Equipment Rentals

    Coordinating Engineer
    Gary Snyder

    Melissa Leffel, Coordinator

    Sandra Foreman
    Kate Geis
    Andrew Newton

    John Roach
    Julio Yurnet
    Chris Reyes

    Production Assistants
    Caleb Heller
    Dora Chou
    Emma Brown
    Tye Whipple

    Trailer Editor
    Angie Dix
    Kate Geis

    Opening Title Animation
    Zoe Design Works

    Brian McDermott
    Zoe Pappenheimer



    Peter Elyakim Taussig Music Composer
    Since 2009 Taussig has devoted himself exclusively to composition and writing. The list of compositions includes an opera (Fibonacci), a requiem Let There Be War, an oratorio (Eve of Life), three symphonies, and concertos for Bagpipe and Orchestra, steel pan, and Peruvian panpipes. His ballet “Three Dubious Memories” was choreographed by Paul Taylor in 2011 and toured extensively by the Paul Taylor Dance Company. His current CD projects include “101 Sound-bite Symphonies – a celebration of short attention span”, and the electronic CD “Musica Sacra Nuova – Thirteen Urban Rituals.” MORE INFO

    Santo Laquasto Costume and Set Designer
    Mr. Laquasto has worked on some 61 Broadway productions, either as scenic or costume designer, frequently both, starting with Sticks and Bones in 1972. He has received 15 Tony Award nominations for his work as either costumer or scenic designer, and won three times, and he also has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design three times and the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Costume Design once. In 2004, Santo Loquasto was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame. MORE INFO

    Jennifer Tipton Lighting Designer
    In 1958, she graduated from Cornell University. While performing as a dancer and rehearsal mistress, she noticed the importance of lighting, and studied dance lighting with Thomas Skelton, becoming his assistant. Her first lighting design for Broadway was in 1969 for Our Town. Among her many awards and nominations, she won the 1977 Tony Award for Best Lighting Design for lighting Andrei Serban’s production of The Cherry Orchard and the 1989 Tony Award for lighting Jerome Robbins’ Broadway. She also has won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Lighting Design twice. MORE INFO

  • New York, NY
    Film Society of Lincoln Center
    Symphony Space
    Washington, DC
    Angelika Pop-Up
    Dallas, TX
    Texas Theater
    Pasadena, CA
    Playhouse 7
    North Hollywood, CA
    Noho 7
    Claremont, CA
    Claremont 5
    West Los Angeles, CA
    Beverly Hills, CA
    Music Hall 3
    Boston, MA
    Boston Museum of Fine Arts
    Greensboro, NC
    Geeksboro Coffeehouse Cinema
    Lambertville, NJ
    ACME Screening Room
    Palm Springs, CA
    Camelot Theater
    Santa Ana, CA
    South Coast Village
    Providence, RI
    Cable Car Cinema
    Santa Fe, NM
    Center for Contemporary Art
    Spokane, WA
    The Magic Lantern Theatre
    Oklahoma City, OK
    Oklahoma City Museum of Art
    Berkeley, CA
    Rialto Cinemas Elmwood
    Sebastopol, CA
    Rialto Cinemas Sebastapol
    Chicago, IL
    Gene Siskel Film Center
    Hunter, NY
    Mountain Cinema
    Bellingham, WA
    Pickford Film Center
    Lowell, MA
    Mill No. 5
    St. Louis, MO
    Webster Film Series
    Geneva, NY
    Smith Opera House
    Pelham, NY
    Pelham Picture House
    Cleveland, OH
    Cleveland Museum of Art
    Wilmington, DE
    Theatre N
    St. Johnsbury, VT
    Catamount Arts
    Baltimore, MD
    The Charles Theatre
    Lancaster, PA
    Millersville University
    The Ware Center
    Rockland, ME
    Rockland Strand
    Fort Worth, TX
    Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth
    Lake Forest, IL
    Gorton Community Center
    Yellow Springs, OH
    Little Art Theatre
    Lake Worth, FL
    Stonzek Theater
    Lake Worth Playhouse
    Pittsfield, MA
    Berkshire Museum
    Seattle, WA
    Northwest Film Forum
    Toronto, Canada
    Bloor Hot Docs Cinema
    Williamsburg, VA
    Kimball Theatre
    Stamford, CT
    Avon Theater

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