by Richard Chen See, Director of Licensing
In 1973, at London’s Sadler’s Wells Theater, I had the privilege of witnessing Paul Taylor and his company perform for the first time. Little did I know then that this encounter would shape my own artistic path in profound ways. Throughout the 1970s, my time in England allowed me to witness Taylor’s mesmerizing dances performed not only by his company but also by other renowned companies like London Festival Ballet and London Contemporary Dance Theater. The impact of these experiences stayed with me even as I moved to the USA, where I had the joy of watching renowned ballet companies, including San Francisco Ballet, Houston Ballet, and American Ballet Theater, breathe life into Taylor’s iconic works.
Dancers who have had the privilege of performing Taylor’s masterpieces, such as Aureole, Esplanade, Cloven Kingdom, and Company B, hold these experiences dear to their hearts. Many artists, transitioning into roles as directors and artistic advisors, seek to bring Taylor’s works to their own companies. It is not without reason—Taylor’s choreography strikes a delicate balance, offering simplicity that captivates audiences while demanding complexity in execution. The sheer joy of performing these works is equaled only by the exhilaration felt by those who witness them.
Paul Taylor’s legacy is again finding its place in a new generation of European dance companies. Thanks to the support and collaboration of Martin Schläpfer, Ballet Director and Chief Choreographer of the Wiener Staatsballett, 2023 will mark a historic moment with two separate premieres of Taylor’s dances in Vienna, Austria. The Wiener Staatsballett presented the company premiere of Promethean Fire on February 11th, while the Volksoper Wien is eagerly preparing for the premiere of Dandelion Wine on November 12th. This significant milestone represents the first time an Austrian company has performed one of Taylor’s revered works, fostering a deeper connection between Taylor’s legacy and the European dance scene.
In yet another exciting development, Eliot Smith, Founder & Creative Director of Eliot Smith Dance, is joining forces with the Taylor School to present the inaugural “ESD presents Paul Taylor” summer intensive from July 10th to 15th, 2023, in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, England. This unique collaboration will create an immersive experience for aspiring dancers, allowing them to delve into Taylor’s distinctive choreographic style and embrace his artistic vision.
As I reflect upon my own journey and the lasting impact of Paul Taylor’s artistry, I am filled with gratitude and excitement for the future. The resonating influence of his works continues to inspire dancers, directors, and audiences alike. With premieres in Vienna and collaborations in England, Taylor’s legacy finds new avenues of expression, bridging continents and generations. It is a testament to the enduring power of his choreography and the profound influence he has had on the world of dance. Let us celebrate these milestones and eagerly embrace the boundless possibilities that lie ahead, as we honor Paul Taylor’s remarkable legacy and the timeless beauty of his creations.