An experienced dancer, educator and choreographer has been named dean of the School of Dance at UNC School of the Arts.
Taylor comes to UNCSA after seven years at the University of Illinois, where she is an associate professor of dance and teaches ballet and musical theater. A year ago she was appointed a dean’s fellow to lead a new Black arts research initiative at the university.
She previously was director of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School in New York and the Cambridge Summer Art Institute in Massachusetts. She is a former principal dancer with the Dance Theatre of Harlem, which she joined originally in 1984, and was an original cast member for the Broadway hits “The Lion King,” “Aida” and “Carousel.” UNCSA said Taylor has an extensive resume as a choreographer who’s known for restaging ballets.
Taylor trained in dance at the Mayfair Academy of Fine Arts in her native Chicago and received her master of fine arts in 2012 from Hollins University in Virginia.
Chancellor Brian Cole in a statement said Taylor “brings an incredible combination of professional experience and educational leadership” to the school.
“She is the right person to take the school forward with a collaborative spirit to shape and mentor the next generation of dancers,” Cole added.
Taylor — the fifth dean of the School of Dance — will start Aug. 1 at a salary of $165,000. She is the first Black person to be dean of one of UNCSA’s five arts schools.
She’ll replace Susan Jaffe, who left UNC School of the Arts in 2020 after eight years to become artistic director of the Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Jared Redick, the school’s assistant dean for the past seven years, is serving as interim dean.
Taylor will be one of three new leaders of UNCSA’s five schools. UNC School of the Arts announced last week that Deborah LaVine, an independent filmmaker and director of the film directing program at California Institute of the Arts, will be the next dean of the School of Filmmaking.