Skip to main content

5 Fun Facts about Rising Star Christopher Taylor

Posted November 11, 2022

Christopher Taylor, one of the newest members of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, has been dancing with the Ailey organization for half his life. During an Ailey Arts in Education program in middle school, he watched a video of Alvin Ailey sharing his “blood memories,” and decided to commit his life to dance. Taylor attended AileyCamp Newark, where his natural facility made him a standout candidate for conservatory-style training. He attended The Ailey School—Junior and Professional Division—before moving on to Ailey II. In November 2022, Taylor was invited to join the Company, fulfilling a childhood dream. 

This rising talent is mentored by a village that includes Nasha Thomas, National Director of AileyCamp, several other Ailey educators, and his family, especially his grandmother, Lillian Taylor.

Here are five amazing things to know about this incredible rising star, in his own words.

1. He started dancing as a child.

"I grew up in a dancing household, but I started to train in middle school. Ailey Arts [In Education & Community Programs] came to Newark to teach us about ballet and modern. A lot of the teaching artists were Black men. Seeing that, an example that men can dance, sparked it. They also showed us a video of the opening section of Revelations' 'I’ve Been Buked,' and of Mr. Ailey, who was talking about his blood memories. When I saw that video, it took me to another level: a vision of what I can be and an example of where I can end up. I thought about sports, but dance hit harder in my heart. I decided I'm going to do it; I'm going to listen and give all of myself to it, and I just ran with it. 

2. He received several scholarships to further his training.

"I went to AileyCamp during the summer. I learned that the camp offered a scholarship to The Ailey School. I thought, 'that sounds important.' I did a little bit more private training with one of the camp’s ballet teachers before I auditioned, and I was accepted on scholarship. Junior Division is an after-school program. Ballet was our foundation, along with Horton and Limón. I felt my life change when I got into the Professional Division. I was dancing from 10am to 4pm, and I would stay in the building until ten at night. I trained in Graham-based modern, jazz, and different extracurriculars. I did other programs like the New Directions Choreography Lab and Summer Sizzler. I felt more versatile with my training, and I was becoming more of an independent young man, and I had been yearning for that for a very long time."  

3. His work ethic is off the charts.

"I improved my skills by showing up. I think it’s that simple; just wanting to be better. I'm not going to lie; Professional Division is very hard. I had three or four classes in the day, and I really pushed myself. Sometimes, I forgot to eat lunch. But Ailey II was the goal, part of my personal blueprint. I didn't get in my first year. In my second year, I was still determined to get to Ailey II, but COVID happened. I was home working and living another life. I was offered a contract for Ailey II during lockdown. I worked so hard for it, so I was just so happy to get back and dance again." Tiffany Barnes, director of The Ailey School Junior Division who personally selected him to receive his first scholarship, praises his sense of discipline and courage to venture into new worlds.  

4. He loves Alvin Ailey's Revelations.

"I did 'I Wanna Be Ready' from Revelations for the first time. I love that the story is about being ready to go to heaven, but you have sinned, which is so complex. It was a very touching experience to perform that dance. I’ve also always loved 'Fix Me.' It's a duet and it’s beautiful." 

5. He's got it all in perspective.

"Love what you do because that will lead you on throughout your career. Believe and be determined. Understand and acknowledge there will be hard times. As you mature, you’ll deal with people saying, “this is not for boys.” Whatever they throw at you, keep yourself centered. Soak in the good times and moments when you perform. Celebrate those and celebrate yourself."