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 Photo: Tavan Smith

ESD Presents is a biennial dance event produced by Eliot Smith Dance (ESD) – the aim to inform, celebrate, and encourage creative debate behind the most influential dance makers.

Following the first event in 2021, celebrating Martha Graham, we're excited to announce ESD Presents Paul Taylor from 10 - 15 July 2023 in Newcastle upon Tyne, England.

In partnership with the
Paul Taylor Dance Foundation (PTDF) and in collaboration with Newcastle College this event offer opportunities for dancers in training and professionals to participate in a unique dance intensive, and for children, young people and adults to participate in dance workshops, forums, lectures and performance.

Come celebrate the extraordinary legacy of Paul Taylor,
“the most inventive and versatile choreographer” of our time (New York Post).

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Photo: Jack Mitchell


ESD Presents a unique opportunity for dance students, pre-professionals and professionals to bring you closer to the world of Paul Taylor in our 2023 Summer Intensive in Newcastle upon Tyne, England. The intensive is delivered by members of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in world class facilities at Newcastle College 'Performance Academy'.

The intensive participants will immerse themselves in Taylor modern classes and Taylor repertory, along with ballet, and choreography to nurture the overall well-being of the dancers through Q&A sessions and archival footage.


The participants will gain a deeper understanding of Paul Taylor's work and impact in the world of dance. The participants will work to conclude their practise by performing in a Gala Performance on the final day of the intensive.

Places are limited and all classes of the intensive are delivered in English. On the first day, the teachers will decide to tailor the repertory classes into two classes depending on levels of experiences. 

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– Richard Chen See, Amy Young, Parisa Khobdeh, Lisa Viola.

Photo:  Lois Greenfield


10 - 15 July, 2023

Monday - Saturday

From 09.30 am


Performance Academy,

Newcastle College

Newcastle upon Tyne



Ages: 17+
Registration Fee: £50
Tuition Fee: £200
Space is not guaranteed until registration payment is received


To participate in the intensive please fill out the online registration form and pay the registration fee. The remaining fee needs to be paid by 30 June. After you have registered you will receive a Welcome Pack by email. If you have any questions please email ESD at


ESD Presents recognise that for most young adults finding the financial means to attend the intensive can be challenging and therefore ESD Presents will waive the intensive tuition fee of up to five young dancers currently in training.

To apply, please complete the online scholarship form below and email your CV and 1-minute showreel at: 

Deadline to apply is midday on 31 May 2023. If you have any questions, please contact ESD at


ESD Presents an inspiring programme of Paul Taylor events and is open to everyone.

Unless otherwise stated, the events are held in-person at the Performance Academy, Newcastle College, Rye Hill Campus, Scotswood Road, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE4 7SA.


All events are ticketed at £5 and open to all, but pre-booking is required. There will be a BLS Interpreter at the Public Lecture and Open Forum Discussion.

Many of the guest speakers, teachers, performers and hosts are leaders in their field and all have something of special interest to convey. Any views expressed by guest speakers are their own, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Eliot Smith Dance (ESD) and Newcastle College.

Please be aware there might be changes to the event​s​ date and time and ticket holders will be updated via email if anything changes. In the event of cancellations, ticket holders will be entitled to a full refund.


To find out more information about each event and to book tickets click on the ticket buttons.

If you have any questions please email ESD at

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Tues 11 July, 5.00pm - 6.00pm

Performance Academy, Newcastle College

BSL interpreter

Group Dance

Wed 12 July, 5.00pm - 6.00pm

Performance Academy, Newcastle College

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Thur 13 July, 5.00pm - 6.00pm

Performance Academy, Newcastle College


Sat 15 July, 7.00pm - 8.00pm

Peter Sarah Theatre, Newcastle College

Watching a Movie

Sat 15 July, 8.00pm - 8.30pm

Peter Sarah Theatre, Newcastle College

Free for Gala Performance ticket holders only

BSL interpreter


Sun 16 July, 7.00pm available for 24hrs

Online performance


In June and July, ESD Presents will take the Taylor experience into the North East community, aimed at young people in dance training and an opportunity for adults living in the North East to engage in a new community dance work.



In June and July, ESD Presents Director, Eliot Smith and in partnership with Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, will deliver a series of dance workshops at Gateway Studio in Gateshead.

The young participants will take part in a contemporary warm-up class, followed by creating their own dance work inspired by one of Paul Taylor's celebrated dance works "Cloven Kingdom".

Later in the month, the participants will be lucky enough to rehearse their new dance work with two former dancers of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

In addition to the workshops, the highlight of this project will be the opportunity for participants to perform their new dance work in front of a live audience (and online) in the ESD Presents Paul Taylor Gala Performance on 15 July 2023, 7.00pm at the Peter Sarah Theatre at Newcastle College.

This approach, which is inclusive, aims to recognise different ages, abilities, talent and degrees of fitness.



Eliot Smith Dance (ESD) is offering an opportunity for people living in Gateshead, south of the Tyne, Newcastle upon Tyne and Northumberland, to take part in the creation and performance of ESD’s 8th community dance work.


As part of the ESD Presents Paul Taylor event in July 2023, the participants will recreate their own dance work inspired by one of Paul Taylor’s signature works, “Esplande”.


Based almost entirely on natural movement such as running, walking, skipping, rolling, “Esplanade” was first performed by the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1975.


This opportunity aims to encourage people in the community to come together and to explore the joy of movement and performance.


This opportunity also aims to provides a healthy opportunity to be active, is a confidence-building experience, with the added benefit of meeting people and working with supportive professional artists.


The workshops will include a warm-up class, followed by simple choreography. All will be guided by ESD Creative Director Eliot Smith. The participants will be lucky enough to rehearse their community dance work with two former dancers of the Paul Taylor Dance Company in the final workshop.


This opportunity is open to EVERYONE aged 40+, with or without dance experience.

Anyone interested should be available to attend three workshops on Wednesday 28 June, Wednesday 05 July,(10.00 am to 11.30 am) at Gateway Studios, High Street, Gateshead and Wednesday 12 July, (10.00 am to 11.30 am) at Newcastle College, Newcastle upon Tyne.


You will also need to be available on the performance day at Peter Sarah Theatre, Newcastle College, Newcastle upon Tyne on Saturday 15 July (3.00 pm to 4.00 pm and 6.00 pm – 8.00 pm).

To take part, please complete the online registration form. If you have any questions, please contact ESD at


Deadline to submit your interest is midday on 02 June 2023.

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Photo: Francisco Graciano

Adult Ballet Class

Photo courtesy of Eliot Smith Dance


Eliot Smith (He/Him)

ESD Presents Director


A critically acclaimed British former dancer and choreographer, born in Newcastle upon Tyne, Eliot Smith FRSA is the founder and creative director of Eliot Smith Dance (ESD).

Winner of the One Dance UK's Green Dance Award in 2022, Eliot was shortlisted for One Dance UK’s People’s Choice Award, and in 2018 and 2019 for their Dance Personality of The Year, Eliot was also a finalist in the Performing Artist of the Year category at The Journal Culture Awards 2018. Eliot was an Associate Artist at Dance City in 2017 and an Artist in Residence at The Bowes Museum in 2018.

Upon graduating from The London Contemporary Dance School, Eliot studied for a short time in New York at The Martha Graham School. He returned to MGDS in 2017 as part of his successful project 'Inviting Martha Graham back to the UK', supported by Arts Council England's Artists' International Development Fund.

Eliot has also self-published a book "Martha & Me" which traces his passion for Martha Graham. As a result, and with the imprimatur of The Martha Graham Dance Company, Eliot founded and directed 'Graham in UK in 2018', a platform for dancers and others passionate about the life and work of the great American choreographer Martha Graham – subsequently launching ESD Presents in 2021.

Alongside ESD, Eliot is a contemporary teacher for Gateway Studios and a trustee for The Bowes Museum.


Photo: Darren Irwin

Richard Chen See (He/Him)

ESD Presents Taylor Artist


Richard Chen See has spent more than 40 years in the dance field​ ​internationally and across the USA.

After 30 years as a celebrated performer, he remains active in the dance field as a master teacher and a​ ​hand-picked regisseur to restage the works of the international award winning choreographer, Paul​ ​Taylor. Companies with which Mr. Chen See has staged work include: Wiener Staatsballett, Austria; Rambert, England; Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, USA; Ballett am Rhein, Germany; American​ ​Ballet Theatre, USA; Queensland Ballet, Australia.

As a master teacher, Mr. Chen See is a twice awarded Fulbright Fellowship recipient to New Zealand and​ ​India respectively. He is currently the Director of Licensing for Paul Taylor Dance Foundation, and on​ ​faculty for the pre​ ​professional conservatory program at Peridance and permanent guest faculty at The​ ​Taylor School, both located in New York City.

His interests outside of dance have led him to extensive involvement in the outdoor recreational​ ​industry as a business owner and leader specializing in kayaking for both able-bodied and physically​ ​challenged individuals.

A Jamaican by birth, where his early training was in ballet, modern and Afro-Caribbean folk forms, Chen​ ​See danced with companies as varied as Northern Ballet Theatre (England), Oakland Ballet (USA),​ ​ODC/San Francisco (USA) and various independent productions in classical, contemporary, and​ ​experimental disciplines before joining Paul Taylor Dance Company (USA). Chen See was a dancer for​ ​Paul Taylor Dance Company for fifteen years (1993 – 2008), originating and assuming roles in more than​ ​forty of Paul Taylor’s​ ​dances.

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Photo: Fabrice Herrault​

Parisa Khobdeh (She/Her)

ESD Presents Taylor Artist

Parisa Khobdeh is an internationally renowned dancer, teaching artist, choreographer, collaborator, and a former leading dancer of the Paul Taylor Dance Company.

Parisa Khobdeh is a Texan whose parents left Tehran a few years before the 1979 Islamic revolution. She grew up in Plano where she studied the Balanchine method at Chamberlain School of Ballet under Kathy Chamberlain.  There, she danced with Carlos Acosta, Phillip Broomhead, and more.

Parisa received her BFA in Dance Performance from Southern Methodist University, dancing the ballets of Agnes de Mille, Robert Battle, Judith Jamison, Donald McKayle, Martha Graham and Shen Wei.  After attending American Dance Festival on a Tom Adams scholarship, she debuted at ADF with the Paul Taylor Dance Company (PTDC).

In 2006 she was featured in Dance Magazine as a performer “On the Rise.” And on the cover of the December 2012 issue, she penned articles, Why I Dance, What Paul Taylor has Taught Me and Why It’s Important to Come Back From Injury on Your Own Terms.

Parisa has lectured at Oxford University for Dance Scholarship at Oxford in the United Kingdom and The College of William and Mary in Wiliamsburg, Virginia. She has re-staged Taylor’s work at W&M and at Rome’s Academia Nazionale Di Danza. She has choreographed dances to benefit human rights organisations and for independent films, her most recent ballet, Imprimatura, premiered in Plano, Texas, June 2022.

Her extensive body of work as a Paul Taylor dancer earned her a New York Performing Arts award nomination (“The Bessie”). She has created and performed in principal and supporting roles in over 100 Taylor works and has worked with other notable choreographers, including Kyle Abraham, Bryan Arias, Doug Elkins, Margie Gillis, David Grenke, Larry Keigwin, Pam Tanowitz, Doug Varone, and Lila York.

In 2019, Parisa took her final bow at Lincoln Center, after performing at PTDC for over sixteen years. Parisa is an Adjunct Lecturer at Southern Methodist University and is the Director of Planning and Artistic Development at Chamberlain Ballet in North Texas.


Photo: Bill Wadman

Anglea Reay (She/Her)

ESD Presents Ballet Artist

An acclaimed dancer and teacher of classical ballet technique, Angela was born in 1962 in North Shields, Tyne and Wear.

She trained in Classical Ballet, National and Modern Dance techniques at the Northern Ballet School in Manchester. On completion of her training at the age of 18 she secured a position as a soloist ballet dancer with the Stadtischen Buhnen Muenster in Germany. She then went on to have an extensive, international, 12 year career as a professional dance artist predominately in the State Theatres of Germany performing in Classical and Neo-Classical
ballets, Contemporary dance works, Musical Theatre Productions, Dance Theatre, Operas and Operettas as well as working in television.

She later trained as a specialist classical ballet teacher with the Royal Academy of Dance (RAD) and worked as a freelance RAD teacher for 4 years before joining the Performing Arts Academy at Newcastle College where she worked for 21 years teaching ballet technique across the dance and musical theatre degree programs. She has taught the ballet technique on Dance City’s Masters in Advanced Dance Performance, which is delivered in partnership with Sunderland University, for the past 3 years.

For the past 10 years she has also worked at Dance City delivering the Professional Ballet Classes for the regions professional dance artists.

In July 2019 Angela completed the Advanced Teacher Training Program with the Society of Education and Training was awarded Advanced Teacher Status (ATS), Fellow of the Society of Education (FSET) and Chartered Teacher Status (Cteach) from the London College of Teaching. She was re-accredited in March 2022. She is also a member of UNESCO International Dance Council, a position she was nominated for in 2021 for her services to dance education.

Angela is passionate about dance and a long standing admirer of Eliot Smith Dance and she joined their Board of Directors in July 2022.


Photo courtesy of Angela Reay​


Paul Taylor was an American dancer and choreographer and is celebrated throughout the world. He shaped America’s homegrown art of modern dance from the earliest days of his career as a choreographer in 1954 until his death in 2018. He founded the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 1954 in New York City.

Paul Taylor was born on July 29, 1930 and grew up in and around Washington, DC.  He attended Syracuse University to study painting and received a swimming scholarship in the late 1940s until he discovered dance through books at the university library. He then transferred to The Juilliard School and began his career in New York City.  In 1954 he assembled a small company of six dancers and began to choreograph.  A commanding performer despite his late start in dance, he joined the Martha Graham Dance Company in 1955 for the first of seven seasons while continuing to choreograph on his own troupe.  In 1959 he was invited to be a guest artist with New York City Ballet, where Balanchine created a solo in the dance "Episodes".

Taylor first gained fame as a dance maker in 1957 with "Seven New Dances". Its study in non-movement famously earned a newspaper review made up of three inches of blank space. After retiring as a performer in 1974, Taylor turned exclusively to choreography, resulting in a flood of masterful creativity totaling 147 works.

He worked closely with visual artists and designers such as Jasper Johns, Alex Katz, Ellsworth Kelly, William Ivey Long, Santo Loquasto, Gene Moore, Robert Rauschenberg, John Rawlings, and Rouben Ter Arutunian; and famed lighting designers such as James F. Ingall's, Tharon Musser, Thomas R. Skelton, and Jennifer Tipton.


Taylor’s dance works continue to be performed around the globe by his own troupe. Simultaneously, since 1969, individual works have joined the repertoires of renowned companies like Birmingham Royal Ballet, Rambert and the former London Contemporary Dance Theatre in the UK; and many other internationally renowned companies on the continent in Europe, in Asia, in Africa, in the Americas and in Australia and New Zealand.

Paul Taylor and his dances have been recorded for film and television, most notably in programs produced by the likes of PBS in the USA, the BBC in the UK, and Danmarks Radio in Denmark. In 1998 the feature length documentary “Dancemaker” about Paul Taylor was nominated for an academy award. During the 2004 Paul Taylor Dance Company tour of the UK the dances were filmed in performance and later broadcast in the UK and the USA as a programme titled “Acts of Ardor”.

In 1992 he was a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors and received an Emmy Award for "Speaking in Tongues", produced by WNET/New York the previous year.  He was awarded the National Medal of Arts by U.S. President Clinton in 1993.  In 1995 he received the Algur H. Meadows Award for Excellence in the Arts and was named one of 50 prominent Americans honored in recognition of their outstanding achievement by the Library of Congress’s Office of Scholarly Programs.  He is the recipient of three Guggenheim Fellowships, and numerous honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees.

Awards for lifetime achievement include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship – often called the “genius award” – and the Samuel H. Scripps American Dance Festival Award.  Other awards include the New York State Governor’s Arts Award and the New York City Mayor’s Award of Honor for Art and Culture.  In 1989 Mr. Taylor was elected one of ten honorary members of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.  Having been elected to knighthood by the French government as Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres in 1969 and elevated to Officier in 1984 and Commandeur in 1990, Mr. Taylor was awarded France’s highest honor, the Légion d’Honneur, in 2000 for exceptional contributions to French culture.

Taylor died in Manhattan on 29 August 2018, leaving an extraordinary legacy of creativity and vision not only to American modern dance but to the entire world.

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Paul Taylor: Jack Mitchell

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“Airs” – Paul Taylor Dance Company. Photo: Ron Thiele​

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“Promethean Fire” – Amy Young & Richard Chen See. Photo: Paul B. Goode

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Photo: Maxine Hicks


One of the most famous and dynamic modern dance ensembles of our time, the Paul Taylor Dance Company has been innovating and transforming the art form of modern dance since 1954. With a history of multidisciplinary collaborations, passionate expression, and thrilling athleticism, the Company continues boldly into the future under the leadership of Artistic Director Michael Novak.

The Paul Taylor Dance Foundation (PTDF) strives to achieve and maintain the highest levels of artistic excellence while celebrating the modern dance idiom. Through its artistic and educational programming, the Foundation works to celebrate the rich history of the modern dance field, while nurturing and elevating a diverse and inclusive community of dancers, choreographers, collaborators, educators, and audience members.

The success of their mission is inseparable from their individual and institutional commitments to develop and sustain a culture of equity, fairness, and belonging across all facets of their work and organisation. PTDF acknowledge that their Foundation grew from and exists within a world with a strong current of discrimination and exclusionism, and while they cannot erase past ills or injustices, they can work to ensure that their practices embrace differences as assets in a society that more fully amplifies all voices and includes all individuals.

To find out more about PTDC click here.

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Photo: Tavan Smith​

ESD Presents acknowledges the support for its 2023 program from:

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