Paul Taylor Dance Company Presents Program At Jacob's Pillow In Remembrance Of Founder
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.