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!