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Michael Novak to Lead Paul Taylor Dance Foundation

Modern dance pioneer Paul Taylor has revealed that Michael Novak, a member of the Paul Taylor Dance Company since 2010, will be his successor. According to Gia Kourlas of the New York Times, Taylor, who is eighty-seven years old, has been putting off naming the next person to helm the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation for years.

Taylor made the appointment after the company’s Lincoln Center season ended in March. “I thought he was just next in line,” Taylor remarked about handing the reins to Novak. “I’ve watched him for some time. He pays attention, and I know that he’s listening. I like him very much, and I think he’ll be great.”

Raised in Rolling Meadows, Illinois, Novak has been dancing since he was ten years old. He studied jazz and ballet at the University of the Arts in Philadelphia and undertook an apprenticeship at the Pennsylvania Academy of Ballet Society before moving to New York, where he attended Columbia University’s School of General Studies. While at Columbia, Novak joined the Columbia Ballet Collaborative and became immersed in the study of dance history. He has performed works by Bill T. Jones and Stephen Petronio, and has danced with Gibney Dance and the Daniel Gwirtzman Dance Company. His debut season at the Paul Taylor Dance Company earned him a nomination for the 2011 Clive Barnes Foundation Dance Award.

Novak will begin to assume his new responsibilities as artistic director designate on July 1. The newly created position will allow the thirty-five-year-old to prepare to lead the Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, which oversees Taylor 2 and Paul Taylor American Modern Dance, in addition to the eponymous dance company.

“I am so honored and humbled that Mr. Taylor has elected to guide me toward the future artistic direction of his company,” Novak said in a statement. “And I’m thrilled by his willingness to share his experience in leadership and vast knowledge of modern dance. It is an extraordinarily generous gift.”