About this Artist
Few artists of our time have had the profound impact on their art form that PAUL TAYLOR has had on dance. People in cities and towns throughout the world have seen and enjoyed live modern dance performances due largely to the far-reaching tours he pioneered as a virtuoso dancer in the 1950s, and that his two companies have continued to this day. Fifty years after he made his first avant garde works, he is revered as the world's greatest choreographer, with a collection of 123 dances performed by his own celebrated Company of 16 and the six-member Taylor 2 as well as renowned ballet companies here and abroad. He has set movement to music so memorably that for millions it is impossible to hear certain orchestral works and popular songs and not think of his dances. He has influenced dozens of men and women who have gone on to create their own dances and/or establish their own troupes. As the subject of the widely seen documentary, Dancemaker, and author of a critically acclaimed autobiography, he has demystified his creative process as few artists ever have. At 75, Paul Taylor may be the most sought-after choreographer working today, commissioned by leading companies, theaters, and presenting organizations the world over.
Having started his own Company and made his first dance in 1954, Taylor spent seven seasons dancing with the Graham Company. He created the landmark Aureole in 1962 and continued to dance and choreograph until 1975, when he retired as a performer and created his signature work, Esplanade. In 1993 Taylor was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton. He is a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors, an Emmy Award, three Guggenheim Fellowships, and a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship. In 2000 he was awarded France's highest honor, the Légion d'Honneur.
The PAUL TAYLOR DANCE COMPANY, established in 1954, has long been one of the world's most sought-after dance troupes, having performed Taylor's works in over 60 countries and more than 450 cities. It has represented the United States at arts festivals in more than 40 countries and has toured extensively under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State. The Company's engagement in Chile was named the Best International Dance Event of 1999 by that country's Art Critics Circle. In the summer of 2001 the Company toured in The People's Republic of China and performed in six cities, four of which had never seen American modern dance before. In the spring of 2003 the Company mounted an award-winning four-week, seven-city tour of the United Kingdom.
While continuing to garner international acclaim, the Paul Taylor Dance Company performs more than half of each touring season in cities throughout the United States. New York, San Francisco, Boston, and Durham host annual engagements. In March 2004 the Taylor Foundation launched a 50-state tour to celebrate the Taylor Company's 50th Anniversary, during which Paul Taylor's works will be performed in every state in the country. The tour underscores the Taylor Company's historic role as one of the early touring companies of American modern dance. The 50th Anniversary celebration also features a Golden Quartet of new dances.
Beginning with its first television appearance on "Dance in America" in 1978, the Company has appeared on PBS in nine different programs, including the 1991 Emmy Award-winning Speaking in Tongues and The Wrecker's Ball - including Company B, Funny Papers, and A Field of Grass - which was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1997. In 1999 the PBS "American Masters" series aired Dancemaker, the Academy Award-nominated documentary about Paul Taylor and his Company. Dance-maker, The Wrecker's Ball, Speaking in Tongues, and Esplanade/Runes are all available on VHS; Dancemaker is also available on DVD.
The Paul Taylor Dance Company wishes to express its sincere appreciation to The Starr Foundation for its generous support of the Company's 2005 international touring. Additional support is provided by the National Endowment for the Arts, the New York State Council on the Arts, and the Board of Directors and donors of the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, Inc.
BETTIE DE JONG (Rehearsal Director) was born in Sumatra, Indonesia, and moved to Holland in 1946, where she continued her early training in dance and mime. Her first professional engagement was with the Netherlands Pantomime Company. After coming to New York City to study at the Martha Graham School, she performed with the Graham Company, the Pearl Lang Company, John Butler and Lucas Hoving, and was seen on CBS-TV with Rudolf Nureyev in a duet choreographed by Paul Taylor. De Jong has been with the Taylor Company for over 40 years, having joined in 1962. Noted for her strong stage presence and long line, she was Taylor's favorite dancing partner and, as Rehearsal Director, has been his right arm for the past 30 years.
LISA VIOLA was born in San Francisco and grew up in Honolulu, where she received her early training. She continued her ballet studies in New York with David Howard, the Joffrey School, and at the School of American Ballet. She has performed with DanceExpress, Sounddance, East/West Repertory Dance Ensemble, and with the Rod Rodgers Dance Company. In 2004 she received a Bessie Award for Sustained Achievement with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. Viola was a scholarship student at The Taylor School from 1990 until the fall of 1992, when she made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Costa Mesa, California.
RICHARD CHEN SEE is from the island of Jamaica, where he studied ballet, modern, and Afro-Caribbean dance. He has danced for companies in England, Jamaica, and the United States, including Northern Ballet Theatre, Oakland Ballet, and Oberlin Dance Company/San Francisco. Chen See has worked professionally as a choreographer, children's storyteller, dance teacher, and coach. He is also a kayak instructor/guide and often works with the physically disabled. His debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company was at City Center in 1993.
SILVIA NEVJINSKY, a native of Lisbon, Portugal, received her early dance training from Rui Horta, the Ballet Gulbenkian School, and during summer intensives in New York. She was a principal dancer with the Lisbon Dance Company for four and a half years and danced works by David Parsons, Igal Perry, Mark Haim, and Geri Houlihan, among others. Since moving to New York in 1989, she has appeared with several dance companies, including the Eglevsky Ballet, the Empire State Ballet, the New American Ballet Ensemble, and David Storey Dance Works. From 1991 to 1995, she danced with the Lar Lubovitch Dance Company as well as teaching master classes and workshops in Brazil, Europe, and the U.S. The October 1995 City Center Season marked her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
ANDY LEBEAU began dancing with Taylor 2 in 1993 after graduating from the Boston Conservatory with a B.F.A. While in Boston, he performed with Ballet Theatre of Boston, Spencer/Colton, Boston Liturgical Dance Company, and The Roxy Dancers. In New York, he has performed with Cortez & Company, Mary Cochran, and Thomas Patrick, and presented his own work at The Sylvia and Danny Kaye Playhouse. The 1995 fall tour marked his debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
HEATHER BEREST was born in Manhasset, New York. She began her training with her mother, Olga Berest, and studied with Linda Zoffer and Ali Pourfarrokh. She went on to earn a B.F.A. at the North Carolina School of the Arts and continues to study with Jocelyn Lorenz and Christine Wright. Before joining the Taylor Company, Berest danced with Neo Labos Dance Theatre, Momix, Peter Pucci, Robert Wood Dance ASC, and Martita Goshen. The 1996 season marked her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
MICHAEL TRUSNOVEC grew up in Yaphank, New York, and started dancing at age six locally and later attended the Nassau BOCES Cultural Arts Center in Syosset, New York from 1989 to 1992. In 1992, he was honored by the National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts and was also named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. He furthered his dance training at Southern Methodist University in Dallas, performing the varied works of Humphrey, Graham, Balanchine, and Taylor. After receiving his B.F.A. in dance in 1996, he joined Taylor 2, and has danced in the works of Hernando Cortez and Patrick Corbin. He currently trains in Pilates with Kim Gibilisco. Fall 1998 marked his debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
ANNMARIA MAZZINI began studying with Frances Evers in Allentown, Pennsylvania. After graduating from Southern Methodist University, she came to New York and studied at The Taylor School, and joined Taylor 2 in 1995. She has appeared in the works of Karla Wolfangle, Patrick Corbin, Hernando Cortez, and the reconstructed dances of Isadora Duncan, in addition to creating and performing her own work. She made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the 1999 American Dance Festival in Durham, North Carolina.
ORION DUCKSTEIN is from Mansfield, Connecticut, where he began dancing after graduating from the University of Connecticut with a B.F.A. in acting. He has danced with the Sung-soo Ahn Pick Up Group, Peter Pucci, Robert Wood Dance, Amy Marshall Dance Company, and Takehiro Ueyama. In addition to dance and theater, he enjoys music and often brings his guitar on tour to play in his spare time. Duckstein joined Taylor 2 in October of 1995. He made his debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in October 1999.
AMY YOUNG began her dance training at age ten in her hometown of Federal Way, Washington. She spent her senior year of high school studying at the Interlochen Arts Academy in Michigan prior to entering the Juilliard School in New York, where she earned a B.F.A. in 1996. She joined Taylor 2 in August of that year. Young enjoys teaching and has been on the faculty of Alaska Dance Theatre in Anchorage, Perry-Mansfield Performing Arts Camp, and Metropolitan Ballet of Tacoma, and also dances with the Take Dance Company. Young made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the Paris Opera House in January 2000.
ROBERT KLEINENDORST is originally from Roseville, Minnesota. He graduated from Luther College in 1995 with a B.A. in voice and dance. After moving to New York, he danced with the Gail Gilbert Dance Ensemble and Cortez & Co. Kleinendorst also performed with Anna Sokolow's Players Projects at the Kennedy Center in Washington, DC. Having studied at The Taylor School since 1996, he joined Taylor 2 in August 1998. Kleinendorst joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Fall 2000.
JULIE TICE was born and raised in Petersburg, Illinois, where she began her dance training and grew up dancing with the Springfield Ballet Company. She continued her training at the University of Michigan, where she earned a B.F.A. in dance, with honors. She performed works by Bill DeYoung, Peter Sparling, Martha Graham, and Paul Taylor. In New York, Tice has performed with various choreographers as well as choreographed and performed her own work. She became a scholarship student at The Taylor School in January 1999 and joined Taylor 2 in the summer of that year. Fall 2000 marked Tice's debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company.
JAMES SAMSON is a native of Jefferson City, Missouri. He received a B.F.A. in dance and a minor in business from Southwest Missouri State University. He went on to study as a scholarship student with the David Parsons New Arts Festival, the Alvin Ailey Summer Intensive, and the Pilobolus Intensive Workshop. Samson has danced for Charleston Ballet Theatre, Omaha Theatre Company Ballet, Omega Dance Company, New England Ballet, and Connecticut Ballet. He joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in March 2001.
MICHELLE FLEET grew up in the Bronx and began her dance training at age four. She attended Ballet Hispanico of New York during her high school training at Talent Unlimited H.S. There she was a member of The Ballet Hispanico Jr. Company. Fleet continued on to Purchase College, where in 1999 she received her B.F.A. in dance. She has performed in works by Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Kevin Wynn, and Carlo Menotti. Fleet joined Taylor 2 in Summer 1999. She made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in September 2002.
PARISA KHOBDEH, an Iranian born and raised in Plano, Texas, trained under Kathy Chamberlain. While a student at Southern Methodist University, she appeared in works by Agnes de Mille, Judith Jamison, and Donald McKayle, among others. As a member of Triptych, a three-member collaborative dance company, she has created her own choreography. She also recently created works to benefit local and national human rights organizations. After earning her B.F.A. from SMU, Khobdeh joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in the summer of 2003.
SEAN MAHONEY was born and raised in Bensalem, Pennsylvania. At age 12 he began training with Fred Knecht, attending Princeton Ballet School on scholarship. He became an apprentice at American Repertory Ballet (ARB) and latter was a featured dancer with the company. After graduating from high school in 1993, he was chosen as one of the first members of Taylor 2. Mahoney danced with Parsons Dance Company for two years. He is married to his ARB dance partner, Peggy Pettway. Mahoney rejoined Taylor 2 in the summer of 2002. His debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company was at City Center in 2004.
NATHANIEL KEUTER was born in Menlo Park, California. He is the son of modern dancers Cliff Keuter and Elina Mooney. He received a B.A. in Musical Theater from the University of Northern Colorado, where he had the opportunity to work with several guest artists including Jolea Maffei and Cliff Keuter. He made his debut with the Taylor Company during the 2004 City Center engagement.
JEFFREY SMITH is originally from Rhode Island. He received his B.F.A. in dance performance from the Boston Conservatory of Music. While attending the Conservatory, he performed the works of Paul Taylor, José Limón, Agnes de Mille, and Anna Sokolow. After graduating, he performed as a featured member of the Martha Graham Ensemble. Smith joined Taylor 2 in March 2005 and the Paul Taylor Dance Company in May 2005.
ALISON COOK was born and raised in Milford, CT, where she began her dance training. She continued her training at the Boston Conservatory where she earned a B.F.A. in dance with honors and was the recipient of the Ruth Sandholm Ambrose Scholarship Award in 2001. While in Boston, Cook also performed with the Boston Dance Theater, and choreographed and performed her own work. In 2001-02 she danced with KM&Co., Lacey James, and Off Center Dance Theater. Cook joined Taylor 2 in the summer of 2002. She is making her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in the summer of 2005.