In a conservative, glamour-hungry decade that treated ballet as the Main Event, and modern dance as merely a sideshow, Paul Taylor (now 59) nevertheless became even more widely imitated as a choreographer.
Not only did lesser artists continue to steal from his 1962 "Aureole" (a plotless showpiece that inspired a virtual modern-dance subgenre by setting frisky, all-American athleticism to Baroque music), but the dance-without-steps innovations of his 1975 "Esplanade" were robbed blind, repeatedly.
PBS helped broaden Taylor's influence and so did ballet companies--though a badly shot Taylor work could look like an imitation, just as imitations and the real thing could turn up in the same ballet repertory. In 1986, the Joffrey even scheduled Taylor's 10-year-old "Cloven Kingdom" on mixed bills with Mark Haim's new, Tayloresque "Garden of Boboli."
No matter. There was plenty more where that came from, starting in 1980 with "The Rehearsal," a wildly idiosyncratic silent-film-style gangster melodrama set to the two-piano arrangement of Stravinsky's "Le Sacre du Printemps." No longer mythic and timeless, this fabled, fearsome score now sounded jazzy, ironic, very much of its time--though Taylor allowed references to the plot and even movement style of Vaslav Nijinsky's 1913 ballet to extend the work's frame of reference. For once, Taylor proved inimitable.