Interview by Zara Anwar, an intern in the LINES Development department and a senior in LINES Ballet’s BFA program at Dominican University of California.
Taylor Maurchie-Banks is a first-year LINES Ballet Training Program student from Illinois. Taylor leveraged his strength and flexibility from years of cheerleading to transition to dance training with Dance Dimension Academy and Northern Illinois University at 18. While attending the 2019 LINES Ballet Summer Program, Training Program Director Karah Abiog recognized his potential and invited him to join the program that fall. Taylor is the recipient of a full-merit scholarship thanks to the generosity of LINES Ballet donors.
What first attracted you to LINES Ballet and the Training Program?
I first discovered LINES Ballet through Adji Cissoko’s Instagram! I started researching the company and was drawn to the dancers’ raw technique, movement quality, and freedom. I thought, “I want to move like that,” in my own way.
What has it been like to work with Alonzo King?
I worked with Alonzo during both the Summer and Training programs, and it was so challenging. We start his classes with floor exercises, and within the first few minutes he’s already pushing our physical limits. After the class you’re so proud of yourself because of the boundaries you surpassed. He challenges us to live within the shapes we’re creating with our bodies and pushes us to find the balance between our mind, body, and spirit.
What are some major takeaways from his classes?
Be unapologetically you – no one is ever going to move like you. Find the awareness, precision, and clarity in every movement. All of the teachers are grounded in Alonzo’s philosophy as well – it’s what sets LINES apart.
What have you learned about yourself through the Training Program?
I’ve learned I have a long way to go, I seek validation, and I need to work on my details. I’ve also learned that I am special.
What are your goals for the future?
It was my dream to train with LINES Ballet, and now that I’m here, I want to be consistent, confident, and courageous. My greatest goal is growth – it never stops.
How has the Training Program scholarship impacted you?
The scholarship has made this 100% possible. My family and I wouldn’t have been able to support the cost of living in San Francisco in addition to the cost of the Training Program. It’s really making my dreams a reality, and I’m really thankful. I can’t wait to see where I end up in two years.
Alonzo King LINES Ballet | Training Program is a full-time two-year professional experience for avid movers ages 18-24. Each year consists of two semesters (35 weeks) of instruction, during which time dancers work with a world-class faculty, including former and current LINES Ballet company members. Each semester, students are privileged to study with Alonzo King in an interactive workshop setting.
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Photo ©Doug Kaye
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