Paul Taylor’s Creative Process Revealed byRichardKeen
range of emotions relating to the pathways of life.At
theEisemann Center in 2002 I had the pleasure of introducingmyself to Paul Taylor. Our short conversation centered on the evening’s performance and an essay,written duringmy university studies, about his choreographic career.Hewas as inspiring in person as his dances.
Paul Taylor’s dances always give insight into the nature of life.His earli- erworks likeEsplanade giveme a free feeling inmy heart, BigBertha confrontsmy “uneasiness”with life’s drama and SevenNewDances chal- lengedmy understanding of certain choreography as an art form.With over 133 dances, Taylor is amaster of his craft.
Whenmasters reveal their craft,we get a glimpse into the creative process of possibilities. Taylor does this in the documentary Paul Taylor CreativeDomain. The documentary allows us to peer into Taylor’s daily world of dancemaking as he creates a newdance, ThreeDubious Memories.
The creative process is the soul behind any piece of artwork.Ma
sters understand the process and challenge themselveswith the creative influences of their craft. In this documentary the door is opened to Paul Taylor’smethodically thought out process of notation,movement vocabulary, space and timing. This reveals an intimate understanding of his dancemaking. Taylor suggests, “Dance, I’ve always thought, is like
Pictured:Amy Young and Paul Taylor during the creation of “ThreeDubiousMemories.” Photo courtesy of Paul TaylorDance Company
poetry. Poems don’t always spell everything out. They leave room between the lines.An
d I think dance can be like that too.” Taylor leaves roombetween the lines by allowing the process to unfold in a nonjudg- mentalway.
For Taylor, an inspiring 84 years young, “memories” are a poignant reminder of our lives andmortality.He points out, “We all remember things differently.”He knows his statementmight be difficult to project through dancemovement, but he proceedswith the seed planted.He beginswith three featured dancers and a supporting ensemble. Taylor reminds us of howdissimilar recollections occur as he develops three versions of the same situation for each dancer.He juxtaposes the fea- tured dancerswith the ensemble by using dimensional space variation. Considering Taylor is a very private person, this documentary is an honor to view.We get to see amaster atwork that only a fewhave experienced.
He uses humor and simplicity to relieve the rehearsal stress.Gi
ven he has beenmaking dance for the past 60 years; it appears he lets his cre- ative process unfoldwithin a tried and true framework. Taylor lets the dance take shapewith the dancer’s input.However, Taylor expresses, “It’s not a democracy, it can’t be.” This relationshipwith choreogra- pher/dancer lets the dancers personify the storytelling of the dance. The fundamental elements of time and space are embodied in the core of hiswork. “It’s aboutmaking a picturewith the negative space bal- anced.Howthe space is used and the placement of the figures is very important. I’mvery picky about it” he remarks.
The dancers, staff and composer comments confirmthemastery of Taylor’s artistic talent. The dancers are so grateful for the time spent with him.One of the adjustments he hasmade over the years has been
rovocative, cutting edge, cultural icon, highly treasured and pio- neer are a fewwords used to describe one of theworld’s leg- endary choreographers, Paul Taylor. Forme, his dances inspire a
Sunday,February 8 at 6:30 pm
CourtyardTheatre,1509HStreet inDowntownPlano For tickets,go to ccballet.com
page 14 Feb-Apr 2015 www.thedancecouncil.org
Pictured: James Samson and Paul Taylor during the creation of “ThreeDubious Memories.” Photo courtesy of Paul TaylorDance Company
DANCE!NORTHTEXAS a publication of the dance council of north texas vol 18 • no 1
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