Dance History

#tbt: Our Favorite Paul Taylor Images from the Dance Magazine Archives

Paul Taylor flying high in 1957. Photo by Radford Bascome, Courtesy DM Archives

The news of Paul Taylor's death two weeks ago at the age of 88 has sparked innumerable tributes to the choreographer. We were inspired to delve into Dance Magazine's extensive photo archives to see what images of the late modern dance titan were hiding there. We present a baker's dozen of our favorites from over the years.


The shot we ran of a 28-year-old Paul Taylor in our "Brief Biographies" column, 1959

Photo by Zachary Freyman, Courtesy DM Archives

Taylor and company in his Tracer, 1962

Photo by Alix Jeffry, Courtesy DM Archives

Taylor and a furry friend at a promotional photo shoot

Photo by Zachary Freyman, Courtesy DM Archives

An outtake from our shoot with Taylor for our "Brief Biographies" column, 1959

Photo by Zachary Freyman, Courtesy DM Archives

Paul Taylor Dance Company preparing to embark on a European summer tour, 1966

Photo courtesy DM Archives

Taylor and company in his American Genesis, 1973

Photo by Kenn Duncan, Courtesy DM Archives

Taylor in his Circus Polka

Photo courtesy DM Archives

Taylor and Mikhail Baryshnikov in rehearsal

Photo by Jack Vartoogian, Courtesy DM Archives

Taylor giving notes during a stage rehearsal

Photo by Lois Greenfield, Courtesy DM Archives

Taylor at the commencement ceremony where he received a Doctor of Fine Arts degree from his alma mater, The Juilliard School, 1988

Photo by Peter Schaaf, Courtesy DM Archives

Taping of Taylor's Speaking in Tongues, 1991

Photo by Johan Elbers, Courtesy DM Archives

Taylor at the Kennedy Center Honors, 1992

Photo courtesy DM Archives

Paul Taylor, 1993

Photo by Annie Leibovitz, Courtesy DM Archives

Broadway
The "Merde" bag. Courtesy Scenery

Jennifer Kahn knew the theater industry could do better. As a professional stage manager for 17 years she worked on regional, off-Broadway and Broadway shows. Nearly each time a show closed, something unsettling happened: "I would watch them throw away our shows. All of the beautiful artwork by my friends in the paint shop would go in the trash." The elaborate backdrops? Gone.

But she had an idea: What if the material used in the backdrops and legs could be upcycled into something new? And what if theater lovers could literally keep a piece of a beloved show?

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Sponsored by Harlequin Floors
Left: Hurricane Harvey damage in Houston Ballet's Dance Lab; Courtesy Harlequin. Right: The Dance Lab pre-Harvey; Nic Lehoux, Courtesy Houston Ballet.

"The show must go on" may be a platitude we use to get through everything from costume malfunctions to stormy moods. But when it came to overcoming a literal hurricane, Houston Ballet was buoyed by this mantra to go from devastated to dancing in a matter of weeks—with the help of Harlequin Floors, Houston Ballet's longstanding partner who sprang into action to build new floors in record time.

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News
Photo by Gabriel Davalos, Courtesy Valdés

For decades the name Alicia Alonso has been virtually synonymous with Ballet Nacional de Cuba, the company she co-founded in Havana in 1948. Alonso died on October 17, just shy of what would have been her 99th birthday. In recent years, she had stepped back from day-to-day decision-making in the company. As if preparing for the future, in January, the company's leading ballerina, 42-year-old Viengsay Valdés, was named deputy director, a job that seems to encompass most of the responsibilities of a traditional director. Now, presumably, she will step into her new role as director of the company. Her debut as curator of the repertory comes in November, when the troupe will perform three mixed bills selected by her at the Gran Teatro de la Habana Alicia Alonso. The following has been translated from a conversation conducted in Spanish, Valdés' native tongue.

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Health & Body
Sara Mearns in the gym. Photo by Kyle Froman.

New York City Ballet principal Sara Mearns wasn't sure she was strong enough. A ballerina who has danced many demanding full-length and contemporary roles, she was about to push herself physically more than she thought was possible.

"I said, 'I can't. My body won't,' " she says. "He told me, 'Yes, it will.' "

She wasn't working with a ballet coach, but with personal trainer Joel Prouty, who was asking her to do squats with a heavier barbell than she'd ever used.

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