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Paul Taylor


Elliot Caplan, working with Donald DuBois, recorded the final two years of choreographer Paul Taylor in his studio working with his dance company, which included the making of three new dances and numerous repertory runs in preparation for upcoming performances.

"I was told Mr. Taylor was potentially interested in my presence in the studio, but did not want to see the camera or be disturbed. On the day previous to the first shooting rehearsal with Mr. Taylor, cameras were placed in the Taylor Studio.

Executive Director, John Tomlinson was clear. 'Mr. Taylor does not like to be filmed. I do not know if you will even make it through the first rehearsal. He might ask you to leave. He will not wear a microphone and cannot be interrupted visually at any time.'


Taylor’s position just off the dance floor, once he entered the studio was fixed. A piece of tape marked the center of the dance space where his chair was just opposite that mark. Behind his chair sat two large air purifiers, a refrigerator and on top a coffee pot, his cup and a can of condensed milk. He would enter the studio and greet everyone with whom he came in contact, place his bag on the table next to his chair, then circle around back to fix his coffee. Returning to his work area, he would arrange his notes and thread the reel-to-reel tape recorder on his left side with the recorded music for that day’s rehearsal, then light a cigarette. Constantly checking his watch for the start time, dancers having just finished company class and quick food, would take the floor and he would either say something to begin or choreographic assistant Andy LeBeau would call the start of rehearsal.  My camera position was hidden from his view behind a column and though I could not see him, I would periodically hear the sound of his lighter through my headphones. My filmmaking goal was to clearly detail his working process.


My approach to filming dance is as a painter. I look to make the frame expansive and provide the smallest detail as rhythmic structure during editing. There has to be something to film, and Taylor’s work was right for the screen because he constructed large dance shapes, and those shapes gave clarity to the space of the frame."

- Elliot Caplan

Ports Of Call
Mr. Taylor’s 145th work
Choreography: Paul Taylor
Music: Jacques Ibert

with the Paul Taylor Dance Company




The Open Door

Mr. Taylor's 146th work

Choreography: Paul Taylor

Music: Sir Edward Elgar

Enigma Variations

with the Paul Taylor Dance Company




Mr. Taylor's 147th work

Choreography: Paul Taylor

Music: Eric Ewazen

Concerto for Violin and Strings

with the Paul Taylor Dance Company

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