"I look forward to working with him to continue my vision," Paul Taylor says of his successor, Michael Novak. Photos by Bill Wadman, Courtesy PTAMD; Jayme Thornton
It's been a long time coming. Paul Taylor, who at 87 is still actively making dances, has named the person who will succeed him at the head of the various organizations that bear his name: Paul Taylor Dance Company member Michael Novak.
The announcement has come with no small amount of surprise, as longtime PTDC dancer Michael Trusnovec has long been considered the heir apparent. But, as was announced today, Taylor has appointed 35-year-old Novak as artistic director designate, effective July 1. As Taylor told The New York Times, "I thought he was just next in line. I've watched him for some time. He pays attention, and I know that he's listening."
Novak joined PTDC in 2010 after graduating from Columbia University with a B.A. in Dance.He will take over the artistic direction of not only the company, but also the other organizations under the umbrella of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, such as Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, which presents outside choreographers alongside Taylor works, the second company Taylor 2, the Taylor School and the Taylor archives.
Novak will continue to perform with the company as he begins learning the ropes, and will take over when Taylor chooses to step down.
"Needless to say I am deeply honored and humbled that Mr. Taylor is entrusting me with his legacy," Novak said in a press release. "I am a big, big believer in the power and range of the Taylor canon. To help Mr. Taylor move his company forward in the 21st century and to be given the gift of guidance from Mr. Taylor as I begin this new phase of my career is a dream come true."
Devon Teuscher performing the titular role in Jane Eyre. Photo by Gene Schiavone, Courtesy ABT
Story ballets that debut during American Ballet Theatre's spring season at the Metropolitan Opera House are always the subject of much curiosity—and, sometimes, much debate. Cathy Marston's Jane Eyre was no different. The ballet follows the eponymous heroine of Charlotte Brönte's novel as she grows from a willful orphan to a self-possessed governess, charting her romance with the haughty Mr. Rochester and the social forces that threaten to tear them apart.
While the ballet was warmly received in the UK when Northern Ballet premiered it in 2016, its reception from New York City–based critics has been far less welcoming. A group of editors from Dance Magazine and two of our sister publications, Dance Spirit and Pointe, sat down to discuss our own reactions.