UNCSA names Endalyn Taylor dean of the School of Dance

Endalyn Taylor

UNCSA names Endalyn Taylor dean of the School of Dance
June 16
14:01 2021

The University of North Carolina School of the Arts (UNCSA) has named dancer, choreographer, and educator Endalyn Taylor as its new dean of the School of Dance effective August 1. She will lead the conservatory’s dance program, which develops technically sound and stylistically versatile professional dancers through training in both classical and contemporary dance.

“Endalyn Taylor brings an incredible combination of professional experience and educational leadership to our esteemed School of Dance at UNCSA,” said Chancellor Brian Cole. “She is the right person to take the school forward with a collaborative spirit to shape and mentor the next generation of dancers, and in turn influence the industry for the better. I look forward to having her voice as part of our excellent team of artistic leaders at UNCSA.”

Taylor said the school’s commitment to the conservatory model of dance education paired with its dual focus on classical ballet and contemporary dance disciplines drew her to the role, as did an organizational vision that prioritizes innovation, inclusion, diversity, collaboration and unity.

“Coming from a conservatory dance background, my appreciation of the art of classical ballet is rooted in respect for the rigor, integrity, and logic of its codified structure — a structure that led me to a long and illustrious career,” she said. “However, I find it necessary to acknowledge the importance of making room for contemporary art forms while synergizing and concretizing foundations of excellence in both disciplines. As an advocate of both their roles in the dancing body, I have equal respect for traditional and innovative methods of teaching and making. Similarly, my creative work is a direct outgrowth of my identity and activism. I consider my body an archive of a huge range of professional experiences, high achievement in ballet and in musical theatre among them.”

Taylor has held the positions of director of Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) School in New York — a company she joined in 1984, becoming a principal dancer in 1993 — and director of the Cambridge Summer Art Institute in Massachusetts. Her extensive administrative, artistic, and academic career is steeped in ballet pedagogy and she has created an eclectic body of choreographic works. She excels at restaging ballets, having performed many of the classics and having worked with luminaries in the field including DTH founder Arthur Mitchell, British-American ballet dancer and choreographer Frederick Franklin, director and choreographer of LINES Ballet Alonzo King, American dancer and choreographer Agnes de Mille, and director and choreographer of Garth Fagan Dance and “The Lion King,” Garth Fagan.

Taylor has performed on Broadway and stages all over the world, including as an original cast member of Tony Award-winning Broadway productions of “The Lion King,” “Aida,” and “Carousel.” She comes to UNCSA after six years at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, where she teaches ballet and musical theater as an associate professor of Dance. In 2020 she was appointed the Dean’s Fellow for Black Arts Research. Taylor, who grew up on the southside of Chicago, the youngest of four children (her name “Endalyn” is a reference to her being “the end of the line”), said she knows firsthand the impact arts can have on the trajectory of one’s life, and is committed to promoting access and opportunity to diverse populations, both within the student body and the in community at large.

“I was fortunate to have trained with facilitators who, like me, work to dispel the myth of elitism and welcome disparate voices into the ballet canon,” she said. “With more than 25 years of teaching experience, I have built an arsenal of pedagogic tools and core values that cultivate artistry, mentoring, and versatility, and celebrate inclusionary ideals, policies, and systems.”

Taylor is one of three new deans to be appointed at UNCSA this year. In May the university announced independent filmmaker and educator Deborah LaVine as the new dean of the School of Filmmaking, and a new dean of the School of Music will be announced later this month. All will be charged with finding ways to expand the School of the Arts’ curriculum across the five conservatories and to develop and implement campus-wide equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging (EDIB) initiatives.

Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Patrick J. Sims said, “Endalyn Taylor is a collaborator to her core. Her background and professional experience represent the perfect blend of our institution’s greatest strengths as a powerhouse for training future leaders in the world of ballet and contemporary dance. I have no doubt that she will challenge and encourage us to become critical thinkers who can use the medium of movement and physical language to embody our collective commitment to justice, equity, diversity, inclusion, and belonging.”

Taylor will be the fifth dean of the School of Dance, succeeding Susan Jaffe who was dean from 2012-2020 and is currently artistic director of Pittsburgh Ballet Theatre. Jared Redick has served as interim dean from June 2020 following seven years in the position of assistant dean.

About Author

WS Chronicle

WS Chronicle

Related Articles


Featured Sponsor

Receive Chronicle Updates

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.



More Sponsors