Mary Waugh Taylor

Profile By: Laura Jaros


Part Three Dance at UNO and Beyond

The couple moved back to Utah after a few years where they had their first daughter Maya in 1984. Two years later, in 1986, the Taylor’s moved to Omaha, Nebraska, once again for Ed’s job with the Sidal Company. Shortly after their move to Omaha, Mary gave birth to her second daughter, Halley. It was at that time that Mary entered the Omaha dance scene and met Professor Josie Metal-Corbin. “I met her on stage,” Metal-Corbin states, “in an OMDC (Omaha Modern Dance Collective) piece that was being performed in the black room of the Arts and Sciences building at UNO; that performance area no longer exists” (Interview). Being the assistant director of The Moving Company, UNO’s modern dance ensemble, and a professor at the University, Metal-Corbin encouraged Mary to teach dance classes at UNO. “This was Mary’s first entry into UNO and also one of her first real encounters with the genre of modern dance,” Metal-Corbin noted. This picture was taken of Mary and Professor Metal-Corbin at the Holland Performing Arts Center during a master class with Hubbard Street Dance Company from Chicago.

Mary began to teach classes in ballet, jazz, and modern at UNO, while also opening her own dance studio called, The Dance Centre sometime in the late 80s. Once again, Mary fearlessly opted to run a business. However, she was not just running a business; she also had a husband and two children for which to care. Despite the odds, Mary was doing it all. Out of her studio came a jazz company called, MWT Dancers; standing for, Mary Waugh Taylor dancers. The group collaborated with other dance entities around Omaha, including The Moving Company and OMDC. The accompanying pictures were taken in 1988 by local photographer Jim Williams. The pictures are of the Mary Waugh Taylor Dancers with Mary kneeling on the right side of the group photos.

According to Professor Metal-Corbin, along with her collaboration with OMDC and The Moving Company, Mary taught at the JCC (Jewish Community Center), Cherrie Anderson dance studio, and Omaha Academy of Ballet over the past twenty years as well. Within the last few years, Mary became the director of dance at Omaha South High School, making South High the first school in OPS to offer dance as a course that could be taken in place of the typical physical education classes.


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Part Four Family Legacy

Mary’s daughter Maya remembers the years when her mom owned the studio: “We were studio kids, we were always there,” she said. “She taught us about the importance of having good work ethic.” There were times when money was tight for their family, yet Mary continued doing what she loved despite the fact that dance instructors do not make a fortune. “She loved dancing so much,” Maya stated, “but she loved teaching dance more then anything; she really loved to see the progress that her students were making.”  The picture below, taken in 1987 at the old Creighton dance studio, is of Mary and her daughter Halley during a rehearsal for a Dalienne Majors concert.  Even as babies, the Taylor girls were exposed to the dance world that Mary was engulfed in on a daily basis.