Mary Waugh Taylor

Profile By: Laura Jaros


Part One Personal Connection

So many young girls dream of growing up to be ballerinas. There is something inspiring about watching the beauty and grace of a ballet dancer’s body move across the floor. I can still remember going to the Ballet with my mom when I was six years old and living in Austin Texas. Sitting on the edge of my chair, I couldn’t take my eyes off the stage. Every two minutes I turned to my mom to say, “I can do that.” Being six years old and in only my third year of dance, I clearly could not do any of what those professional ballet dancers were doing. However, they gave me a dream and motivated me to pursue my fascination with the art form. After the show, my mom and I went to look at the merchandise that was being sold. I remember that there was a pair of pointe shoes for sale. They were not intended to be worn, however, but rather for décor in a young girls’ room. I wanted them more then anything; I couldn’t wait to be old enough to dance on pointe.

When I was ten, I had an opportunity to dance with the Dayton Ballet in the Omaha Theatre Companies production of the Nutcracker. All of the dancers in the company inspired me to pursue dance even more. Every year following that December, I involved myself in every dance opportunity that came my way, learning more and more from various dance instructors. Yet it wasn’t until about a year and a half ago, at the age of 21, that a dance instructor truly touched me on a level beyond just dance. Her name was Mary Waugh Taylor, and I can say without a doubt that she has truly changed my life.


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Part Two Overcoming Adversity

Mary Waugh Taylor was born on October 13, 1956 in Okoboji Iowa, a young girl in love with ballet. Mary didn’t know it at the time, but she would become an inspiration to hundreds of young girls just like her one day. In many ways, Mary exemplifies the qualities of a true feminist hero by “doing it all,” and fighting against the odds.  According to her oldest daughter Maya, Mary was offered a scholarship while in high school to attend the Royal Academy of Ballet in London.  Unfortunately, because of bad car accident, Mary was unable to go. However, following her graduation, Mary chose to pursue a career in dance. According to Annette van de Kamp-Wright in “Mary Waugh-Taylor: Much More than a Fabulous Teacher,” Mary moved to Salt Lake City, Utah where she earned her BFA in dance at