Mary Waugh Taylor
1956-2010

Profile By: Laura Jaros

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Part Five Supporting Students

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 again; I hadn’t danced on pointe since I was17 years old, and I was nervous to get back into the difficult practice. Without a bit of hesitation, Mary told me to start bringing my pointe shoes to class, and she would work with me and a couple other girls after class everyday. I honored her enthusiasm, bringing my shoes and spending anywhere from fifteen to thirty minutes after class practicing. By the end of the semester, I was dancing on pointe again.

 

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Part Six Living with Passion

It wasn’t until February of 2010 that I found out Mary was ill. One day during company class, Metal-Corbin announced to the group that Mary was not feeling well and that she was receiving chemotherapy every Friday. I was shocked. I honestly could not believe what I was hearing. How could it be that this strong, confident, upbeat woman could be battling such a horrible illness?  There was not a single day that Mary ever seemed weak or scared. It turns out that Mary had been diagnosed with a rare form of Leukemia in the late 1990s. After twelve years of being in remission, the cancer came back. This time, though, it was attacking her liver and pancreas. In “Mary Waugh Taylor: Much More than a Fabulous Teacher,” Esther Katz, dance director of the JCC states, “The fact that many