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.
Personally, I can attest to Maya’s comment about Mary’s attitude towards all of her student dancers. Mary taught me three days a week for a year, and it was evident that she truly cared about her students on an extremely personal level. Despite the talent, level that her students were at, Mary encouraged every dancer to work to his or her greatest potential.
Mary had two other daughters after Maya and Halley; their names are Mychal and Cecily. Out of the four daughters, two followed in the Mary’s dancing footsteps–Maya and Mychael. “One thing my mom felt strongly about was having us following through with what we started,” Maya said, “whether it was dance or a sport, she would not allow us to quit until the season was over.” Maya also spoke highly of her mom in regards to the support system the girls had at home. “My mom was such a supportive mom, teacher, and choreographer,” she stated, “yet she was still strict and grounded when she needed to be.” At the age of 18, Maya moved to New York City where she attended Fordham University for dance. Following college, she danced with Elisa Monte Dance, a modern dance company out of New York City. “I would not be where I am today if it wasn’t for my mom and all of her love and support over the years,” Maya said. Mary was a smart woman who knew the importance of hard work and dedication and she most definitely instilled that in her children as well as her students. This picture shows Mary and her daughter Maya dancing in the background. It was taken in 2000 as a publicity poster for the OMDC concert.
In 1993, Professor Metal-Corbin replaced Dr. Lundahl as the director of The Moving Company at UNO. By 2001, Metal-Corbin had asked Mary to come join the company as resident choreographer. This meant that Mary would run the company class and set choreography for the company. It was through The Moving Company that I first met Mary in September of 2009 when I auditioned for the ensemble.
The first thing that I remember noticing about Mary was her feet. Only dancers can sit through an entire dance performance and spend more time looking at a dancers feet rather than his or her face. After spending four months taking company class with Mary, I decided that I wanted to take her modern and ballet classes through UNO as well. During the ballet class I talked to Mary about starting to dance on pointe