Paul Taylor, one of the most influential names in modern dance, died this Wednesday at the age of 88. The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation confirmed that the cause of death was renal failure. Taylor was a prolific choreographer whose contributions to contemporary dance are monumental, and his legacy will live on through his work and those he influenced.
In 2014, OUT visited Taylor at his home in New York City, just as the Paul Taylor Dance Company was celebrating its 60th anniversary. "It just doesn't seem like it's been that long," he said of the milestone, joking that it was mostly "a gimmick to sell tickets."
Related | At Home With Paul Taylor, the Last Living Legend of Dance
A Julliard graduate, Taylor entered the dance world when modern dance was still being developed."Taylor was not of the founding generation, but he inherited and dispensed the new gospel," wrote Brian Schafer. "On the dance family tree, he's the artistic son of Martha Graham, creative younger brother of Merce Cunningham, prolific father of Twyla Tharp, and grandfather to many more. Of course, now his are the conventions that young choreographers dismiss. Yet Taylor's work is far from vintage. He's celebrated today not for nostalgia's sake but because, as The New York Times put it last spring, he 'has often seemed the greatest of today's choreographers, the most imaginative and disconcerting in any genre.'"
"His extraordinary dry sense of humor, which kind of attract me personally to him," Mikhail Baryshnikov told NPR. "He was [an] amazing person. ... I really truly believe his work will live on for a very, very long time."