Spotlight of the Week Laurie M. Taylor
LibPositives Spotlight present Laurie M. Taylor.
Laurie M. Taylor (choreographer, professor, and artistic director) is a soulful and savvy voice in the performing arts scene. She was recently selected for the Alvin Ailey New Directions Choreography Lab, 2016-2017, and a Mertz Gilmore Foundation LSC Grant for performance projects in New York and abroad. She is a two-time Jerome Foundation/Harlem Stage Awardee and recipient of the RAW Artists Award for Best Performing Artist of 2012.
As a Liberian-American artist, Laurie brings her fresh fusion of Contemporary, Jazz, Afrobeat, and Street dance together, forming a global sensibility that has earned her proclamations from the Liberian Humanitarian Awards and the Shirley Chisholm Women of Excellence Awards by State Senator Jesse Hamilton. Set to an iconic soundtrack by John Coltrane and Charles Mingus, Laurie’s critically acclaimed “Overcomers Suite” tackles the civil rights tensions of the early 1960s. It landed her on the 2013 “Who’s Who List” by the International Dance Council, a branch of UNESCO.
With a focus on diversity and greater access for women of color in the arts, Laurie received a 2012 Diversity Initiative Grant from the University of Delaware as Artist-In-Residence. Her “groove” sense of musicality has led to live collaborations with Darin Atwater’s Soulful Symphony and Grammy Award-winning Blue Note recording artist, Derrick Hodge. She has also choreographed for a host of indie artists, created fitness choreography, and served as a creative consultant to Berklee Performance Center, choreographing and staging for Valerie Simpson (of Ashford and Simpson) and Jimmy Page of Led Zeppelin.
Laurie appeared in the off-Broadway production of The Legend of Yauna, produced and directed by Tony Award winner, Maija Garcia of FELA! on Broadway; the Classical Theater of Harlem’s Macbeth, as well as on Bravo. She has performed on many of the world’s most amazing stages such as Euro Disney Paris, the Joyce Theater, Strathmore Symphony Hall, the Prudential Center, and most recently at Madison Square Garden with Hillsong Creative.
Laurie is driven by a strong sense of artistic agency and creative energy, which set the tone for her founding of Soul Movement, a dance company with the mission of creating innovative, influential dance content and performance experiences that attract, impact, and inspire newer, diverse audiences. Since its inception in 2013, Soul Movement has been blessed to perform at the American Dance Guild Festival, the Association of Performing Arts Presenters (APAP) Conference, Jacob’s Pillow Dance Festival, Central Park SummerStage, the Harlem Arts Festival, Aaron Davis Hall at Harlem Stage, Red Hook Fest, the MoonWalk for Breast Cancer, and many more festivals and performance venues.
She is a graduate of Howard University and an avid arts educator who has taught master classes at Hunter College, University of Minnesota, NYU, Dwana Smallwood Performing Arts Center, and the Ailey/Fordham B.F.A Program, among others. She is currently the Visiting Assistant Professor of Modern Dance at Shenandoah University. Laurie’s rich dance vocabulary demonstrates her wholehearted commitment to dancers and audiences alike, deepening the intrinsic value of the human body through the universal language of movement.