Wednesday, November 6, 2019
Contact: Nancy Bertossa
(415) 677-0328 or

San Francisco Performances Presents
Paul Taylor Dance Company

Artistic Director, Michael Novak

The Celebration Tour

Includes the West Coast Premiere of Taylor’s last work Concertiana (2018)

February 19–22, 2020 | 7:30pm and
Sunday, February 23, 2020 | 2pm | $90/$65/$45
Saturday, February 22, 2020 | Family Matinee 2pm | $15 Child/$25 Adult

SAN FRANCISCO, CA—November 6, 2019—San Francisco Performances (SFP) is ) is proud to present one of America’s foremost dance companies—the Paul Taylor Dance Company as it pays tribute to its late founder Paul Taylor with “The Celebration Tour.”

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

For more than 20 of Paul Taylor’s astonishing 64-year career of defining American modern dance, the Company has made San Francisco Performances its second home with regular engagements featuring new work and revivals of important Taylor masterpieces. As part of the international celebration of Taylor—who died in 2018—the company will perform five masterworks in San Francisco from his collection (Company B, Esplanade, Cloven Kingdom, Polaris, and Piazzolla Caldera) along with the West Coast premiere of his last piece Concertiana. The San Francisco engagement runs February 19–23, 2020 at Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA. Included is a Family Matinee on Saturday, April 29, at 2:00pm. This is the sixteenth time San Francisco Performances has presented the Company.

The Tribute

37-year-old Artistic Director Michael Novak described Paul Taylor as “The last of the pantheon of choreographers who defined the distinctly American art of modern dance. Taylor was hailed as ‘the master of light and dark’ for good reason: his repertoire of 147 dances covered an unprecedented range. There were dances that took an unflinching look at war, depravity, and death. Other dances were very funny indeed. And many reminded us of the poignancy of uninhibited love and hope. Looking at this man’s oeuvre, and deciding how to honor him, has been at the forefront of my mind. And, in taking a cue from our Founder, I decided to do what has never been done: launch a multi-year global celebration that brings together over 20 masterpieces spanning seven decades in his great repertory. Titled ‘The Celebration Tour,’ it’s an unprecedented opportunity for audiences and students to connect with Paul Taylor’s history like never before. We look forward to presenting some of Taylor’s greatest works in San Francisco,” said Novak.

As the Company kicked off its ambitious new season last night (Nov 5, 2019) at the David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center, there were two farewells and one hello. The Company performed a public celebration of Taylor’s life and also marked Novak’s retirement performance. “I’d like to think he [Taylor] liked my dancing,” reminiscences Novak in a recent interview, ”but he knew the weight of responsibility that comes with an artistic directorship. I think he wanted to make sure that the transition was a transition and that I didn’t give up my performing career when I was not ready to actually say goodbye to it. I’m guessing. I never really brought it up again because I didn’t think he was going to pass away as fast as he did. And then he passed away and I ended taking six months off [performing] because there was so much to manage with everything.” The hello was—this is the first Lincoln Center Season under Novak’s reins.

The Future

“The big thing in my brain right now is how do you balance heritage and new? Ready-to-wear and couture?” Novak is keen to pull in new audiences and is thinking not only about Taylor’s dances but about creating an experience around them. “It’s how you package the evening for someone. There can be parties, backstage tours, meet and greets with the dancers—things that make it a real experience. Not that seeing a show isn’t a real experience, but I think people are looking for that next thing.”

In a recent New York Times interview Novak was asked if Taylor would hate that kind of approach. Novak laughed. “I don’t know,” he said. “Paul was a renegade. He was always trying to push boundaries and push people a little bit so I think he would respect it like”—he imitated his mentor’s shrug—“see if it works.” In the end, though “It’s all about the art form,” Novak said. “And letting people connect with the power of dance, and letting it change and inspire and challenge them.”

The Opportunity

Bay Area dance audiences will have the opportunity to meet and hear Novak discuss his future plans for the Company. Additionally, master dance classes with Company members will take place at a selected San Francisco dance center. Meet and greet events and master classes will be announced at a later date.

Press interested in personal interviews with Michael Novak should contact Nancy Bertossa:

About the Paul Taylor Dance Company

The Paul Taylor Dance Company is one of the world’s most highly acclaimed and sought-after performing arts ensembles. Founded in 1954 by choreographer Paul Taylor, the Company was led by Taylor until his death at 88 in 2018, after which his hand-chosen successor, Company member Michael Novak, became Artistic Director. The Company performs Taylor’s repertoire, comprising 147 dances, as well as those by other outstanding modern dance choreographers, and has toured to more than 500 cities in 64 countries around the globe. The 2019 Season marks PTDC’s 65th Anniversary.

The February programs include the following:

Program A
Wednesday, February 19, 7:30pm
Saturday, February 22, 7:30pm
Sunday, February 23, 2pm

Company B (1991)
Music: Songs sung by the Andrews Sisters
Concertiana (2018) [West Coast Premiere]
Music: Eric Ewazen—Concerto for Violin and Strings
Esplanade (1975)
Music: Johann Sebastian Bach

Program B
Thursday, February 20, 7:30pm
Friday, February 21, 7:30pm

Cloven Kingdom (1976)
Music: Arcangelo Corelli, Henry Cowell, and Malloy Miller
Polaris (1976)
Music: Donald York (commissioned score)
Piazolla Caldera
Music: Astor Piazzolla and Jerzy Peterburshsky

Family Matinee (Saturday, February 22, 2:00pm)

The Family Matinee, an hour-long informative and relaxed format for multi-generational audiences, features the evergreen masterpieces of Paul Taylor. An introduction to this joyous company is a sure beginning to a life-long love for glorious movement.

Background Information

Tickets are $90/$65/$45. Family Matinee: $10 Children and $15 Adults.For tickets and information call (415) 392-2545 or visit

About San Francisco Performances

San Francisco Performances has been a leader in the Bay Area cultural scene since our founding in 1979. With a strong curatorial vision and adventurous programming, we are the city’s premier presenter of intimate concerts and solo performances.

We have introduced hundreds of established and emerging classical music, jazz and dance artists to audiences, including Yo-Yo Ma, the Juilliard String Quartet, Philip Glass, Wendy Whelan, and the Paul Taylor Dance Company. We also champion a new generation, committed to building a contemporary and equitable repertoire. Performers like violinist Jennifer Koh, tenor Lawrence Brownlee and pianist/composer Vijay Iyer are moving their art into the present and future, making it accessible to younger audiences while converting many traditionalists to new possibilities. They represent the path forward.

Quality, intimacy and connection are the hallmarks of San Francisco Performances. We nurture unique relationships with today’s best artists to create an accessible, warm, and engaging arts experience.

Calendar Editors, Please Note:

(Please include our name as the presenter and check to be sure you have our updated website address—many thanks!)

Paul Taylor Dance Company

WHEN: Wed, February 19, 7:30pm—Program A
Thurs, February 20, 7:30pm—Program B
Fri, February 21, 7:30pm—Program B
Sat, February 22, 2:00pm—Family Matinee
Sat, February 22, 7:30pm—Program A
Sun, February 23, 2:00pm—Program A
WHERE: Blue Shield of California Theater at YBCA, 700 Howard Street @ Third, San Francisco, CA
PROGRAM:: Two programs plus a Family Matinee
TICKETS: $90/$65/$45—Family Matinee Tickets: $10 Children/$15 Adults
CONTACT: (415) 392.2545;

For high-resolution images, go to or contact Nancy Bertossa at

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