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BYU's Dancers' Company to study Paul Taylor modern dance masterpiece

Public invited to open rehearsal on Friday, Sept. 9, from 4-6 p.m.

Student dancers with Brigham Young University’s Dancers’ Company will be working for the next three weeks to learn “Esplanade,” a seminal work by the legendary modern dancer Paul Taylor. Lila York, who created more than 60 roles during her membership with the Paul Taylor Dance Company from 1973 to 1985, will teach the students during a campus residence.

The public is invited to an open rehearsal on Friday, Sept. 9, from 4-6 p.m. in the Dance Production Studio, 185/187 Richards Building. This rehearsal will give the public an opportunity to view the dance in progress and ask questions about the work.

As part of this project, there will be master classes taught by York in the Taylor technique, lectures, open rehearsal, and a brown bag forum for dance majors wishing to learn more about Paul Taylor and his influence on modern dance in America.

The actual performances of “Esplanade” will occur during “Dance in Concert” Jan. 26-28 in the de Jong Concert Hall at BYU. Tickets are available at the Fine Arts Ticket Office, (801) 422-4322.

Paul Taylor has been called the reigning master of modern dance by Time Magazine, and the New York Daily News declared him to be “the best choreographer in the world.” He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by President Clinton, and he has received an Emmy Award and the 1992 Kennedy Center Honors Award. His works have been performed by American Ballet Theatre, Joffrey Ballet, Guangdong Modern Dance Company and many others.

Taylor’s choreographic masterpiece, “Esplanade,” is the modern dance equivalent to a da Vinci or a Rembrandt, according to Dancers’ Company artistic director Rebecca Wright Phillips, who will assist York in teaching the work to the BYU students.

“Originally choreographed in 1975 to music by J.S. Bach, it s a pinnacle work of the 20th century,” she said. “It is classical modern dance in its highest form.”

The collaboration is made possible by the BYU mentoring grant program, which provides students with mentored study opportunities in their fields.

For more information, contact Rebecca Wright Phillips, (801) 422-8022 or

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