NEW YORK – Many of us choose to share Paul Taylor’s optimism, when he states, “I prefer to think I’m going to live forever,” but at 83 years old he qualifies his statement, “At some point, they’re going to not let me make dances anymore, so I have to think ahead.” John Tomlinson, the company’s executive director spoke for us all when he replied, “For the record, we do plan on him living forever.”

Paul Taylor celebrates the 60th anniversary of the Paul Taylor Dance Company with an iconic blue Tiffany box. Photography by Benjamin Lozovsky/Bill Farrell Agency, BFAnyc.com.

The company has grand plans. On Thursday 13 March, they announced the creation of Paul Taylor’s American Modern Dance, which will continue to perform Paul Taylor’s repertoire, together with works by other major modern choreographers, at Lincoln Center’s David H. Koch Theater, home to the New York City Ballet, where the company has undertaken to reverse its current, fiscally-driven practice and to perform to live music whenever the choreography demands it, a decision which has been warmly welcomed by the American Federation of Musicians.

Tyler Peck and Robert Fairchild. Photography by Benjamin Lozovsky/Bill Farrell Agency, BFAnyc.com.

At the Diamond Anniversary Gala performance, Tyler Peck and Robert Fairchild danced an excerpt from Paul Taylor’s “Airs,” as guest artists, courtesy of New York City Ballet, under the watchful eye of their Master in Chief, Peter Martins. And they performed with breathtaking beauty, subtlety and finesse.

Paul Taylor School Dancers performing during the Diamond Anniversary Gala.

As part of the process of financing this new initiative, Paul Taylor has donated five works by his late friend and collaborator, the artist, costume and set designer, Robert Rauschenberg, to the Paul Taylor Dance Company Foundation. These works will be offered at Sotheby’s Contemporary Art sales on 14 and 15 May, where they are expected to raise between $5 million and $7 million, with matching gifts already anticipated from Taylor board members. A Rauschenberg Taylor Dance poster, one of the five items, was offered as an “amuse-bouche” at the Gala dinner and significantly exceeded expectations, when it sold for $7,500, contributing towards the $451,000 raised in the live auction segment of the Gala evening. Just before the fund-raising, a group of Taylor-trained future Taylor dancers, ages 5 to 18, performed in front of the dinner crowd, in full Taylor mode, thus freeing the purse-strings of the assembled company of Taylor devotees significantly.

The future of the Paul Taylor Dance Company looks bright indeed.

Sotheby's Hugh Hildesley and Jessica Crenshaw with Daniel Vincent, Director of Development at the Paul Taylor Dance Company.