Local dancer attends four week pre-professional dance intensive
Mckenna Taylor, a 15-year old resident of Fredonia just returned from a four -week pre-professional contemporary dance intensive. She was one of just 30 students selected from all over New York state to participate in a residential summer program held each summer in Saratoga Springs for aspiring dancers.
Dancers are trained six days a week for a minimum of eight hours a day in technique, composition, repertory, training, anatomy, improvisation and career paths. Students were taught by faculty such as Carolyn Adams from the Paul Taylor Company, Robert Battle the Artistic Director of Alvin Ailey Company, Danny Grossman from Danny Grossman Dance Company, Erika Pujic from Julliard and BJ Sullivan the chair of the master’s program at UNC Greensboro, amongst many other guest artists. Dancers from Limon Company, Paul Taylor, American Dance Legacy Initiative and various college programs including Tisch School of the Arts and SUNY Purchase danced alongside the students, performed and taught master classes.
In addition to class, dancers had several opportunities to perform both new and master works set by the choreographers themselves. Mckenna was chosen to be in a new work by Frederik Earl Mosley of the Alvin Ailey Company. “Our Better Angels” featured the entire cast and Mckenna was one of two featured soloists. Her choreography was set on her personally by Mr. Mosley. The entire group appeared in “Battle Suite”, choreographed by Ailey Director Robert Battle.
Her final piece was a quartet “Magneto Dynamo” originally created in 1985 as a duet for Danny Grossman Dance Company choreographed and featuring Mr. Grossman. In 1990 the piece was reimagined as a quartet. Mr. Grossman said, “Mckenna is very athletic and brave with the talent to back it up. You can see she has had the proper training.”
Additional study opportunities included taking class and touring both Jacob’s Pillow in Massachusetts and the National Museum of Dance. Dancers also saw several performances by New York City Ballet, meeting director and choreographer Justin Peck and several modern companies at the Pillow.
Mckenna has studied all dance forms at Danza! Performing Arts Academy in Fredonia for the past 13 years. She has participated on the Danzaco performance and Competitive Company for eleven. Last year alone, Mckenna won over $20,000 in scholarships and pre-professional study opportunities. Currently she holds the title of Ms. Imagine and is the 2017 National Teen Miss Star Quest. Mckenna is entering the 10th grade at Fredonia Central Schools and is the daughter of Mark and Krista Taylor.