I'm a writer because I have stage fright.
L. N. Holmes: “Where is your hometown?”
Taylor Edwards: “Ennice, North Carolina.”
L. N. Holmes: “What is your chosen artistic profession?”
Taylor Edwards: “I’m a dancer, dance instructor, and choreographer.”
L. N. Holmes: “Why did you choose to become a dancer?”
Taylor Edwards: “When I was younger, I saw a performance at the Walker Center in Wilkesboro, NC called “The Matchbox Girl.” In one of the scenes, the Sugar Plum Fairy from “The Nutcracker” ballet started dancing on stage for the little Matchbox girl. I was three years old and I knew from that moment on I wanted to be just like her. It was only two years later I started taking dance lessons. It was that performance that I saw that made me want to become a dancer.”
L. N. Holmes: “What messages do you try to communicate through your dancing?”
Taylor Edwards: “Through my dancing, I always try to deliver the story or character that I am performing. Especially in ballet, as it always has a story to tell and a character to portray it. So I make sure I do it successfully.”
L. N. Holmes: “What was it like to perform with The Conservatory of Dance and Theatre in Galax, Virginia at the age of 13?”
Taylor Edwards: “The Conservatory of Dance and Theatre is what shaped me into the dancer that I am today. When I started attending the conservatory, I did not know much about ballet. I knew the basics, but I was never really trained intensively in that area. So when I started, I was very excited to dance and train in ballet, considering it was my favorite style of dance. Through my years at the conservatory, my instructor, Barbara Johnson, worked hard to make sure I could achieve the goals and standards set in ballet. I became one of the soloists, and I was able to land lead roles in The Nutcracker, Sleeping Beauty, Coppelia, Cats the Broadway, Pirates of Tortuga, Midsummer Night’s Dream, and Carmina Burana.
“Also with her guidance, I was able to audition for the Atlanta Ballet and I was accepted. I am thankful for her shaping and training me as the dancer I am today.”
L. N. Holmes: “What was it like to study dance at the Atlanta Ballet at age 15?”
Taylor Edwards: “It was such an amazing experience! I studied with the Atlanta Ballet starting at age 15 and I just continued going back year after year and studying with them until my sophomore year in college.
“I was studying under famous instructors, such as Sharon Story and Armando Luna, and other instructors and choreographers. And just being able to dance in the same studios as Atlanta Ballet’s professional dancers, it was all such a dream come true.
“It also seemed surreal to me. I remember this one time after a three hour pointe rehearsal when I was walking to get water from the water fountain and I bumped into Christian Clark — a principal dancer with Atlanta Ballet and someone I idolized — and he said “hi” to me. It was great being able to talk to all the professional dancers and have them give you advice about dance. Atlanta Ballet will always hold a special place in my heart.”
L. N. Holmes: “What was it like to perform contemporary works under the instruction of Heidi Echols while working with the Salem College Dance Company?”
Taylor Edwards: “Heidi Echols is one of the many people who opened and expanded my views in the dance world. I was very unfamiliar with contemporary when I began performing with the SCDC. But she had me take classes and workshops to better my understanding of modern and contemporary dance. She also had many guest choreographers come in, such as Twyla Tharp, Bill T. Jones, and Karola Luttringhaus, who gave me a better understanding of how different contemporary works can be. Nothing is ever the same depending on the choreographer.
“Heidi also helped me study choreography and she advised me to choreograph pieces that I wanted to do and that best describe and explain the vision that I want to create as a choreographer. She never doubted my movements, dancers, or music choice when it came to choreographing my pieces. She was one of my biggest support systems during my four years at Salem College and she has become one of my lifelong friends.”
L. N. Holmes: “Do you have any performances coming up?”
Taylor Edwards: “I have several performances of ‘The Nutcracker’ Ballet coming up! I am tackling many roles such as the Dew Drop Fairy, a Flower, a Mouse, and a Snowflake.”
L. N. Holmes: “How do you support other artists?”
Taylor Edwards: “I always make sure to support both the visual and performing arts. Some ways I support other artists is by visiting visual art exhibitions or performing art performances as much as I can.”
L. N. Holmes: “What’s your biggest complaint about the dance industry?”
Taylor Edwards: “My biggest complaint would be the ‘ideal body’ image of a ballerina. People assume that ballerinas are tall, have long legs and arms, are a size 0 and weigh under 100 pounds. It bothers me because I love ballet; ballet is beautiful and it shows the athleticism of the ballerina. It is my comfort zone, but I always get ridicule because I am a size 6 and I am 5′ 5″ tall. I wish people would see ballerinas for their talent and not for the body image.”
L. N. Holmes: “What/who inspires you?”
Taylor Edwards: “I have many inspirations. First, would be my mom. My mom inspires me everyday to continue what I love to do most and encourages me to never give up and to always keep trying my best at everything so I will succeed. My second would be Princess Kate Middleton. I just think she is gorgeous and so smart.”
L. N. Holmes: “What would you recommend to others trying to become dancers?”
Taylor Edwards: “Just do it, professionally or even if it’s just for fun. If you are a human, you are a dancer.”
L. N. Holmes: “Name a few of your favorite books and why they are your favorites.”
Taylor Edwards: “The Harry Potter series are probably my favorite books to read. The reason why is because growing up, I had a very difficult time in school because of my elementary school teachers. Some were not understanding or compassionate to me and never tried to connect with me. It always felt good to escape in a book, especially Harry Potter. I always felt like Harry and I could relate to each other because many people did not understand him or connect with him, just like me. It felt good escaping into these books, because I could imagine myself living in the Hogwarts castle, making friends with other Slytherin housemates (obviously Slytherin house is the best), and going to Quidditch matches and drinking butterbeer at the Three Broom Sticks. It always felt good to ‘get away’ in those books because that’s where my happiness was all through out my elementary school years. Even now if I am having an awful day, I can just open up one of my Harry Potter books and escape from the muggle world and I will feel much better.”
L. N. Holmes: “Is there anything else you’d like to tell the readers?”
Taylor Edwards: “I would like to leave the readers with one of my favorite quotes from The Curious Case of Benjamin Button:
“’For what it’s worth… it’s never too late, or in my case too early, to be whoever you want to be. There’s no time limit. Start whenever you want. You can change or stay the same. There are no rules to this thing. We can make the best or the worst of it. I hope you make the best of it. I hope you see things that startle you. I hope you feel things you never felt before. I hope you meet people who have a different point of view. I hope you live a life you’re proud of, and if you’re not, I hope you have the courage to start all over again.”
For more information about Taylor and the Dance Center of Greensboro, click here.