Jane Taylor and her daughter Natalie Taylor stand in their studio on Main Street North. Jane has been teaching dance going on 50  years. Photo by Eric Johnson/eric.johnson@austindailyherald.com
Jane Taylor and her daughter Natalie Taylor stand in their studio on Main Street North. Jane has been teaching dance going on 50 years. Photo by Eric Johnson/eric.johnson@austindailyherald.com

Archived Story

Style and grace

Published 7:01pm Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Jane Taylor Academy of Dance has had dancers leaping and turning since 1963, and though many things have changed about the studio and program, the woman running it all has not. Jane Taylor will soon celebrate her 50th anniversary in Austin this fall.

Jane Taylor, owner and instructor, started her own dance career more than 60 years ago when she was living in Brownsdale.

“It’s something I’ve always loved to do since I was a little girl,” Taylor said.

Taylor has an extensive background in dance, which includes attending classes at the University of Minnesota, Rochester School of Dance and numerous other workshops across the U.S. some of which she has attended for 40 years.

“I still take class,” she said. “I love to take class.”

She decided to open up a dance studio because it combined her love of dance and teaching. The original location of the studio was at Taylor’s home in Brownsdale, but it has been relocated to Austin for more than 35 years.

Not only has the studio itself changed, the style of dance has as well. New forms of dance like hip-hop have emerged in recent years.

“The longer you live, you can see trends,” Taylor said. “They always say you can look at dance and tell the history of the people.”

Although Taylor has a lot of accomplishments, many of her dance career highlights are not her own, but her students’.

“I can see the ones that have stayed till they graduated and it gives them self confidence and goals,” Taylor said. “To see my students progress gives me a feeling of accomplishment.”

She said some of her students have gone on to open their own studio and pursue further degrees in dance at colleges and universities.

Taylor’s daughter Natalie grew up dancing at the studio and is now working alongside her mom as an instructor. Cara Hansen and Krystal Pedersen are also former students who have become teachers.

“My instructors are my students from when they were very young,” Taylor said. “I think it’s really neat to have my alumni students come back and help instruct.”

Recent Austin High School graduate Jenna Anderson said she has danced at Jane Taylor Academy of Dance since she was in kindergarten.

“My mom signed me up because she didn’t want me to be shy,” Anderson.

Over the course of her time there, however, being shy wasn’t a concern anymore.

“So many of my best friends are from the studio,” she said.

During her 13 years as a dancer, Anderson got to know Taylor very well.

“She dedicates her whole life to it,” Anderson said. “She’s just one of the kindest ladies you’ll ever meet.”

Taylor hasn’t limited her talent to Austin; she has taught and assisted dance programs in other towns, including LeRoy, Kasson, Adams, and other places in southern Minnesota and Iowa.

The Jane Taylor Academy of Dance is busy throughout the year with different events it puts on and attend, including: its annual recital, marching in the parade, performing a scene from the Nutcracker for Christmas in the City at the Paramount, competitions, nursing home performances, and the Eagles Cancer Telethon, which Jane has taken part in for more than 50 years.

The main age range of students are 3-18, though they do have some adults who take ballet classes. Classes taught include ballet, tap, lyrical, contemporary, pointe and some hip-hop. Before she taught any of these classes, Taylor taught baton for 11 years.

“There are so many people who have gotten to know Jane and Natalie,” Anderson said. “Everyone who has gotten to take class from her is so lucky.”

In the future, Taylor looks forward to what she has done over the last 50 years.

“Just to share the love of dance,” she said.

 Alex Smith can be reached at alex.smith@austindailyherald.com.

 Eric Johnson can be reached at photodesk@austindailyherald.com


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