Taylor Productions will dance through the decades
May 12, 2015
In 1995, Tanya Taylor wrote and presented her first performance, "A Journey Through the Decades," at her high school in Montana.
Two decades later, Taylor, who has her own production company, Tanya Taylor Productions, will come full circle with "Dancing Through the Decades" on Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom.
The production is a chronological medley of dances that starts off in the 1920s and goes right through the 2010s and into the future, Taylor told The Park Record.
"We’ll begin with the Zoot Suiters and flappers continue into the 1930s with the silver starlets," Taylor said. "We’ll head into the swingers in the 1940s and the poodle skirts from the 1950s and so on."
"Dancing Through the Decades" was something Taylor wanted to do since 2005.
"I did a revue 10 years ago and it’s something that I love," she said. "I think it’s also a great way to illustrate history for the kids. They can learn about historical events that were going on during these eras through the form of singing and dancing."
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As with all of Taylor’s productions, educating the dancers and audiences is a requirement for her productions.
"It’s important for people to know their history and it’s important to show respect for what has happened in the past," she said. "For example, I love teaching about World War II and what was happening in the surrounding times.
"We came out of the Great Depression into World War II and then we had a happy time period in the 1950s," she explained. "I think people experienced the happy times of the 1950s because they saw such hard times and developed a profound perspective."
Taylor thinks the world is looking for another major change today.
"I feel like society today is finding itself in hard times, because there is such turmoil," she said. "So, what will it take, what significant event will it take to turn us back around?"
In addition to the dance steps and music, the production will feature an array of period costumes.
"We have spent so much time and energy trying to represent those eras via dance and fashion," Taylor said "I did all the costumes because I have a huge collection and it was about pulling and piecing them together for the different ages and dancers."
There will be a total of 56 dancers, ages 6 to 18, who will be part of the production.
"Teaching the kids these vintage dances was amazing," Taylor said. "When we were studying the swing dancing in the 1940s, we watched a video by Swing Kids. And the thing I wanted the kids to learn was how they could emulate those particular moves and why the dancers are doing these moves.
"These moves were big and flashy and part of the reason it was the style was because the dancing was in defiance to what was going on in the world," she said. "There was so much destruction during that time and these kids knew that dancing brought happiness to them."
As in the past, this year’s production will benefit a nonprofit organization.
"All the ticket proceeds will go to the Boys and Girls Club," she said. "In the new film remake of ‘Annie’ there’s a song called ‘Opportunity’ and that will be the second-song of our production.
"The kiddos in our show will perform that song as kids who have opportunities that they’ve been given, but also keeping in mind that many people around the world, including their neighbors, don’t have those same opportunities."
Tanya Taylor Productions will present "Dancing Through the Decades" on Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. at Temple Har Shalom, 3700 Brookside Ct. Tickets are available at the door for $5. For more information, visit tanyataylorproductions.com.