PTDC

“The American spirit soars whenever Taylor’s dancers dance.” – San Francisco Chronicle

Dance maker Paul Taylor first presented his choreography with five other dancers in Manhattan on May 30, 1954.  That modest performance marked the beginning of 64 years of unrivaled creativity, and in the decades that followed, Mr. Taylor became a cultural icon and one of American history’s most celebrated artists, hailed as part of the pantheon that created American modern dance.

The Paul Taylor Dance Company has traveled the globe many times over, bringing Mr. Taylor’s ever-burgeoning repertoire to theaters and venues of every size and description in cultural capitals, on college campuses and in rural communities – and often to places modern dance had never been seen before.  The Taylor Company has performed in more than 500 cities in 64 countries, representing the United States at arts festivals in more than 40 countries and touring extensively under the aegis of the U.S. Department of State. In 1997 the Company toured throughout India in celebration of that nation’s 50th Anniversary. Its 1999 engagement in Chile was named the Best International Dance Event of 1999 by the 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. The Company’s performances in China in 2016 marked its fifth tour there, with plans to return in November 2018. The company regularly tours throughout North America, South America, Asia and Europe.

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.  In celebration of the Company’s 50th Anniversary and 50 years of creativity, the Taylor Foundation presented Mr. Taylor’s works in all 50 States between March 2004 and November 2005. That tour underscored the Taylor Company’s historic role as one of the early touring companies of American modern dance.

Beginning with its first television appearance for the Dance in America series in 1978, the Paul Taylor Dance Company has appeared on PBS in ten different programs, including the 1992 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 Mr. Taylor and his Company.  In 2013, PBS aired Paul Taylor Dance Company in Paris, featuring Brandenburgs and Beloved Renegade.  The 2014 documentary Paul Taylor Creative Domain won critical and public acclaim for its revelation of Mr. Taylor’s creative process, as it followed the famously private choreographer and his Company through the entire process of creating a new work from initial concept to opening night.

Bettie De Jong, Rehearsal Director

Photo: Paul B. Goode

BETTIE DE JONG (Rehearsal Director) was born in Sumatra, Indonesia, and in 1946 moved to Holland, 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.  Ms. de Jong joined the Taylor Company in 1962.  Noted for her strong stage presence and long line, she was Mr. Taylor’s favorite dancing partner and, as Rehearsal Director, was his surrogate in the studio and on tour for more than 40 years.
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo:  White House Photographer
Photo: White House Photographer

ANDY LEBEAU (Rehearsal Director) was raised in Portsmouth, New Hampshire. He graduated from the Boston Conservatory of Music with a B.F.A. in dance in 1993.  He then moved to New York City to be one of the original members of Taylor 2.  Two years later he was invited to join Paul Taylor Dance Company.  After retiring from the stage in 2005, Andy served as Director of The Taylor School, then Director of Taylor 2, Company Manager, and Rehearsal Assistant to Mr. Taylor.  He works closely with Mr. Novak and Ms. Bettie de Jong.

PTDC Dancers

Photo: Paul B. Goode

MICHAEL TRUSNOVEC, from Yaphank, New York, began dancing at age six, graduated from the Long Island High School for the Arts, and in 1992 was honored by YoungARTS and named a Presidential Scholar in the Arts. In 1996, he earned a B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University. Professionally, he has appeared with Cortez & Co. Contemporary/Ballet, Corbin Dances and in works by Margie Gillis, Christopher Gillis and Peter Sparling. Mr. Trusnovec, a recipient of a 2006 Bessie Award, was honored with a 2016 distinction of “Positano Premia La Danza” Dancer of the Year and is a winner of the 2018 Dance Magazine Award.  He made his debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1998, and serves as Associate Rehearsal Director.
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo: Paul B. Goode

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.  He also performed with Anna Sokolow’s Players Projects at The Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C.  After studying at The Taylor School, he joined Taylor in 1998.  Mr. Kleinendorst joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in Fall 2000.
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo: Paul B. Goode

MICHELLE FLEET, a native of the Bronx, New York, is a graduate of Talent Unlimited High School. She began her formal dance training at Five Points Cultural Arts Center under the direction of Lee Aca Thompson. She also studied at Ballet Hispanico School of Dance, where she was a member of the junior company. She earned her B.F.A. in dance from Purchase College in 1999 and received her M.B.A. in Business Management in 2006. Ms. Fleet has performed in works by Bill T. Jones, Merce Cunningham, Kevin Wynn, Corbin Dances and Gian Carlo Menotti. She joined Taylor 2 in Summer 1999 and made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in September 2002.
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo: Paul B. Goode

PARISA KHOBDEH, born in Dallas, Texas, trained with Kathy Chamberlain and Gilles Tanguay, and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B.F.A in Dance Performance and Computer Science from Southern Methodist University in Dallas. While a scholarship student there, and at the American Dance Festival as a Tom Adams Scholar, she worked with choreographers Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, Donald McKayle and Shen Wei, among others. She also attended Paul Taylor and Martha Graham dance intensives in New York City. She made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company at the American Dance Festival in 2003. In 2016 she was featured in Dance Magazine as a performer “On the Rise.” She was featured on the cover of that magazine’s December 2012 issue, and in October 2015 she penned an article for it entitled “Why I Dance and What Paul Taylor has Taught Me.” She restaged Mr. Taylor’s The Word at The College of William and Mary in 2013 and continues teaching masterclasses at universities, schools, and festivals around the world.  She has choreographed dances to benefit human rights organizations and for independent films.  Her most recent ballet, Traces, premiered in New York City for an arts fundraiser benefiting the Children of Bellevue Hospital. She appears in Doug Elkins’s film, A Hundred Indecisions.  Her body of work for the Taylor Company earned her a nomination for a 2016 New York Dance and Performance Award (“The Bessie”).
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo: Paul B. Goode

SEAN MAHONEY, born and raised in Bensalem, Pennsylvania began his life in dance at age 12 by attending Princeton Ballet School on scholarship; that year he also started training with Fred Knecht. In 1991 he began as an apprentice at American Repertory Ballet (ARB) and became a featured dancer with the company, which he rejoined in 2000. Mr. Mahoney was chosen as one of the first members of Taylor 2 in 1993. He has danced for David Parsons, Alex Tressor and Geoffrey Doig-Marx, and performed in Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular. As a frequent guest teacher, Mr. Mahoney has taught master classes at such institutions as Towson University, Princeton Ballet School, Santiago Ballet and Lafayette High School for the Performing Arts. He rejoined Taylor 2 in 2002, and made his debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Spring 2004.
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo: Paul B. Goode

ERAN BUGGE is from Oviedo, Florida where she began her dance training at the Orlando Ballet School, and went on to study at the Hartt School at the University of Hartford under the direction of Peggy Lyman, graduating Summa Cum Laude with a B.F.A. in Ballet Pedagogy in 2005. She attended The Taylor School and the 2004 and 2005 Taylor Summer Intensives.  Ms. Bugge has performed in works by Amy Marshall, Katie Stevinson-Nollet and Jean Grand-Maître. She was also a member of Full Force Dance Theatre and the Adam Miller Dance Project.  In 2012, Ms. Bugge was the recipient of the Hartt Alumni Award. In 2018, she danced in the feature film The Chaperone choreographed by John Carrafa.  She joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Fall 2005.
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo: Paul B. Goode

LAURA HALZACK grew up in Suffield, Connecticut and began her dance training at the age of four with Brenda Barna.  She furthered her training at The School of the Hartford Ballet and studied at the Conservatory of Dance at Purchase College.  She graduated Summa Cum Laude with a degree in History from the University of New Hampshire in 2003.  She then studied at the Hartt School and at The Taylor School’s 2004 Summer Intensive. Ms. Halzack has performed with the Amy Marshall Dance Company and Syren Modern Dance and has enjoyed teaching in her home state. In 2018 she danced in the feature film The Chaperone choreographed by John Carrafa.  Ms. Halzack studied at The Taylor School for two years before joining Paul Taylor Dance Company in Summer 2006.
Read TaylorNotes Interview HERE.

Photo: Tom Caravaglia

JAMIE RAE WALKER began dancing at age three in her home town of Levittown, Pennsylvania. As a young dancer she performed with American Repertory Ballet while extensively studying ballet and Graham techniques. In 1991 she continued her training at Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet, and in 1992 was awarded a full scholarship by Violette Verdy at Northeast Regional Dance Festival. Upon graduating high school Ms. Walker was invited by Edward Villella to join Miami City Ballet where she performed principal and soloist roles in Balanchine and Taylor dances from 1994 to 2000.  In 2001 she joined the original cast of Twyla Tharp’s Broadway show, Movin’ Out, while simultaneously studying on full scholarship at The Taylor School. In 2018 she danced in the feature film The Chaperone choreographed by John Carrafa. Ms. Walker joined Taylor 2 in September 2003 and became a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in May 2008.

Photo: Tom Caravaglia

MICHAEL APUZZO grew up in North Haven, Connecticut. He studied Economics and Theater at Yale University, graduating Magna Cum Laude in 2005. Growing up in musical theater, he began his formal dance training in high school, then danced and choreographed in undergraduate companies. After being dance captain for an original production of Miss Julie choreographed by Peter Pucci, Mr. Apuzzo debuted professionally at the Yale Repertory Theater. He has since performed in numerous musicals at equity theaters across the country and in the National Tour of Twyla Tharp’s Broadway show, Movin’ Out. He is a second-degree black belt in Tae Kwon Do, author of Flying Through Yellow, certified personal trainer, and co-producer of the new Hamptons charity event Dancers For Good. He joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in Fall 2008.

Photo: Bill Wadman

MICHAEL NOVAK was raised in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, where he started dancing at age ten. He trained on full scholarship at The University of the Arts and the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet. After graduating Columbia University with a B.A. in Dance Magna Cum Laude and Phi Beta Kappa he studied at Springboard Danse Montreal under Alexandra Wells and Coleman Lemieux & Compagnie. He has performed works by Bill T. Jones, Stephen Petronio and Vaslav Nijinsky, and has danced with Gibney Dance and the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company. Mr. Novak began studying at the Taylor School in 2008 and participated in the Taylor Summer Intensive before joining the Company in Summer 2010.  His debut season earned him a nomination for the 2011 Clive Barnes Foundation Dance Award.

Photo: Tom Caravaglia

HEATHER McGINLEY grew up in St. Louis, Missouri. Through her early training with Lisbeth Brown, she attained a Diploma in the Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet.  She graduated from Butler University with a B.F.A. in dance performance in 2005.  She was a member of Graham II for two seasons and went on to perform with the Martha Graham Dance Company from 2008 to 2011. With the Graham Company she toured Italy in the original cast of Antonio Calenda’s Looking for Picasso, a dance and theater piece featuring restaged classic Graham ballets. In 2018 she danced in the feature film The Chaperone choreographed by John Carrafa. She participated in the 2010 Intensives at The Taylor School, and joined Paul Taylor Dance Company in Spring 2011.

Dirty Sugar Photography

GEORGE SMALLWOOD, is a native of New Orleans. He earned a B.F.A. degree in Dance Performance and a Bachelor of Business Administration degree with an International Focus from Southern Methodist University. He has been a member of the Parsons Dance Company, where he performed the signature solo Caught, and the Martha Graham and Lar Lubovitch companies. As co-founder of Battleworks he performed, taught master classes and re-staged Robert Battle’s works across the country. He has been in regional productions of Spamalot, Chicago, My Fair Lady, Oklahoma!, Crazy for You, The Music Man, White Christmas, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and 42nd Street. He joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company temporarily in Spring 2011 and rejoined in Summer 2012.

Photo: Tom Caravaglia

CHRISTINA LYNCH MARKHAM grew up in Westbury, New York and began dancing with Lori Shaw, and continued at Holy Trinity High School under the direction of Catherine Murphy.  She attended Hofstra University on scholarship and performed works by Cathy McCann, Karla Wolfangle, Rachel List, Robin Becker, and Lance Westergard.  During college she also trained at The Taylor School, and attended the Company’s Summer Intensive Program.  After graduating Summa Cum Laude in 2004, she danced with the Amy Marshall Dance Company, Stacie Nelson and The Dance Theater Company.  She joined Taylor 2 in Summer 2008, and made her debut with the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Summer 2013.

Photo: Tom Caravaglia

MADELYN HO, M.D. is from Sugar Land, Texas where she began dancing at Kinard Dance School and later trained with BalletForte under the artistic direction of Michael Banigan. She graduated from Harvard College with a B.A. in Chemical and Physical Biology. While there, she was awarded the Artist Development Fellowship and attended the Taylor School Winter Intensive. She was a member of Taylor 2 from 2008 to 2012 and left to attend Harvard Medical School, during which time she was a guest artist for Alison Cook Beatty Dance and performed with Urbanity Dance. She joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Spring 2015 and completed her Doctorate of Medicine in May 2018.

Photo: Whitney Browne
Photo: Whitney Browne

KRISTIN DRAUCKER was born in Washington D.C and grew up in York, Pennsylvania. She began her training at the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet under Marcia Dale Weary.  In 2005 she was awarded a Fellowship to study Horton and Graham at The Ailey School. Since moving to New York City she has danced with Michael Mao Dance, ArmitageGone!Dance, New Chamber Ballet, and at Bard’s Summerscape in Les Huguenots. In 2009 she joined the 50th Anniversary International Tour of West Side Story and in 2010 performed in Tino Sehgal’s KISS at The Guggenheim Museum.  Ms. Draucker began creating dances in 2014 and has shown her work in New York, Philadelphia and as part of the LaMAMA Umbria Festival in Spoleto, Italy. She joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Winter 2017.

Photo: Tom Caravaglia

LEE DUVENECK grew up in Arlington, Texas, where he trained with Anne Oswalt and Gwen Price. In 2010, he earned his B.F.A. in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University, where he studied with Taylor alumna Ruth Andrien and jazz dance icon Danny Buraczeski. While in New York, he has danced for Annmaria Mazzini, Mari Meade and Jessica Gaynor. Mr. Duveneck joined Taylor 2 in 2012, and joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Summer 2017.

Photo: Whitney Browne

ALEX CLAYTON grew up in Louisville, Kentucky, He received his B.F.A. in Dance with a Minor in Visual Arts from Stephens College in 2013. He was a Graham 2 company member from 2014 to 2015. He also performed with companies including 10 Hairy Legs, Abarukas Project, Curet Performance Project and Performa15. He served as Rehearsal Assistant for Paul Taylor American Modern Dance “Taylor Company Commissions” choreographer Lila York when she created Continuum in 2016. He joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Summer 2017.

Photo: Whitney Browne

DEVON LOUIS, who hails from Washington, DC, is a graduate of Duke Ellington School of the Arts. He attended the Ailey School as a recipient of the Oprah Winfrey Scholarship, and furthered his dance education at Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival under the direction of Milton Myers. Mr. Louis has performed works by Alvin Ailey, Matthew Rushing, Christopher Huggins, Nathan Trice, Ronald K. Brown and Annabelle Lopez Ochoa. He has also performed as a member of Ballet Hispanico’s junior company, BHdos; The Metropolitan Opera; and Nimbus Dance Works. Mr. Louis joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Summer 2018.

Photo: Whitney Browne

JOHN HARNAGE, a native of Miami, Florida, studied dance at the Miami City Ballet School and New World School of the Arts. He was a Modern Dance Finalist in the 2010 National Foundation for Advancement in the Arts YoungArts competition. In 2014 he graduated from The Juilliard School, where he performed works by Jose Limón, Alexander Ekman, Pina Bausch, and Lar Lubovitch, among others. He then began working with Jessica Lang Dance, and joined the company in 2015, performing and teaching around the world. He also performed as a principal dancer in Washington National Opera’s 2017 production of Aida at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Mr. Harnage joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in Fall 2018.