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Paul Taylor
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    (July 29, 1930-August 29, 2018)
    Born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
    Soloist with the Martha Graham Dance Company (1955-62)
    Guest artist with the New York City Ballet (1959)
    Formed the Paul Taylor Dance Company (1954)
    Dancing career ended after he collapsed onstage from exhaustion during a performance in Brooklyn (1974)
    Works include ‘Aureole’ (1962), ‘Big Bertha’ (1970), ‘Esplanade’ (1975), ‘The Rehearsal’ (1980), ‘Sunset’(1983), ‘Speaking in Tongues’ (1988), ‘Company B’ (1991), ‘Black Tuesday’ (2001), ‘Banquet of Vultures’ (2005) and ‘Three Dubious Memories’ (2010)
    Kennedy Center Honoree (1992)
    Received the National Medal of the Arts (1993)
    He created ‘minimalist’ dances, such as ‘Duet’ (1957), in which he and a female partner stood still for four minutes amid silence. (One critic responded with a review consisting of four column inches of blank space.)
    The set for his ‘Private Domain’ (1969) was designed to obstruct the audience’s view of parts of the stage.
    He once sent anonymous threats, written with letters cut from newspapers, to five leading dance critics.
    He became addicted to amphetamines that he took to combat stage fright.
    For decades, he smoked three packs of cigarettes a day.
    He earned an athletic scholarship to Syracuse University as a swimmer.
    Most of the sets for his dances in the 50s and early 60s were designed by Robert Rauschenberg (who he first met when they were both working as window dressers at Tiffany’s.)
    Many of his pieces featured dances based on everyday activities such as checking a watch or running after a bus.
    He received three Guggenheim Fellowships, the French Legion of Honor, and a MacArthur Foundation ‘Genius Grant.’

Credit: C. Fishel

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