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, 2021. 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.
Taylor 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 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 has directed the Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) School in New York ̶ a company she joined in 1984, becoming a principal dancer in 1993 ̶ and 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 stages all over the world, including as an original cast member of Tony Award-winning Broadway productions of “The Lion King,” “Aida,” and “Carousel.”
Taylor will be the fifth dean of the School of Dance, succeeding Susan Jaffe who was dean from 2012-2020. Jared Redick has served as interim dean from June 2020 following seven years in the position of assistant dean.