When Suzi Taylor started choreographing and teaching more than 20 years ago, lyrical dance was just beginning to grow in popularity. Now, Taylor has gained international renown for her lyrical jazz style: In addition to her long-term teaching commitments at New York City Dance Alliance and Steps on Broadway, she’s choreographed and led workshops in countries as varied as Brazil, Japan, Italy, France, Canada, Israel and Scotland!
Originally from La Cañada Flintridge, CA, Taylor started training at what is now the Pasadena Dance Theater. At 18, she moved to NYC, where she studied at The Ailey School and with ballet dancers Finis Jhung and Robert Blankshine. She began subbing at Steps in the late 1980s, and was soon asked to join the faculty. Taylor threw herself into teaching, but throughout her 20s and 30s continued to perform, often making guest appearances with the companies for which she was teaching and choreographing. Taylor’s lyrical choreography—easily recognizable for its unique mix of control and abandon—is now seen at NYCDA conventions across the country, and her much-loved Steps classes are routinely packed. —Amy Smith
To my younger self,
You have so many dreams and aspirations—so many goals you think are set in stone. Remember that dreams are there to guide you, but they don’t always lead you in just one direction. Be open to paths that might not end at your original ideal.
Be inspired by other dancers, but not intimidated by them. Learn from your teachers, but don’t let them tear you down. Work hard—it will bring results—but remember that perfection is elusive. Technique is key, but presence, strength, grace and vulnerability are what make an artist special.
Pay attention to your body. Let it heal when you’re hurting and rest when you’re weary. Doing so will save you so much pain later. And you’re going to want to dance for a long time!
You will have opportunities to travel to amazing places, work with gifted dancers and meet truly wonderful people. Appreciate every moment, because you will treasure these memories forever. And let love and family keep you balanced. You can have it all—maybe just not quite the way you expected.
It’s a wonderful life ahead. Keep dreaming, smiling and dancing!
Well, this brings class videos to a whole new level! Choreographer Phil Wright and dancer Ashley Liai have been together eight-plus years, but she was still in total shock when he proposed to her mid-dance at Millennium Dance Complex earlier this week. Why? Well, the whole thing was unbelievably perfect.
In the dance industry, dancers don't always have a say in what they wear on their bodies. This can get tricky if you're asked to wear something that compromises your own personal values. So what should you do if you find yourself in this sticky situation? We sat down for a Q&A with "Dancing with the Stars" alumn Ashly Costa to answer that very question. Here's what she had to say about the options dancers have surrounding questionable costumes.
The groundwork for Erin Carpenter's company, Nude Barre, began when she was a teenager. At 16, she earned a spot in the residency program at The Kennedy Center in partnership with Dance Theatre of Harlem. "We were required to wear nude—as in, our actual skin tone—tights and shoes," she remembers. Carpenter brought her "sun tan" tights and a pair of pink ballet shoes with her, because that was all she could find. But she wasn't allowed in class because her dancewear didn't match her skin. "I was so embarrassed," she says. "I looked unprepared. I just didn't have the right nudes." Her teacher explained that the dancers dyed their tights and pancaked their shoes.
There are dancers and then there are DANCERS! Whitney Jensen, soloist at Norwegian National Ballet, is the latter. The former Boston Ballet principal can do it all. From contemporary to the classics this prima has the technical talent most bunheads dream about. Need proof? Look no further.
Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee's dance inducing hit, "Despacito," is so catchy it should probably come with a disclaimer that warns people of an uncontrollable itch to tap your feet or bob your head. Some might even feel inclined to go all out and break it down. Niana Guerrero is a prime example of "Despacito's" uncanny ability to unleash the red dressed emoji dancer within. 💃🏽 💃🏽