Ronald A. Taylor is the Artistic Director of the Toronto-based company Ronald Taylor Dance (formerly known as Canboulay Dance Theatre) founded in 1993.
After leaving his homeland of Trinidad and Tobago, the birthplace of internationally acclaimed dance pioneers Geoffrey Holder and Beryl McBurnie, Taylor embarked on a journey to pursue his dream and enrolled in the renowned Juilliard School, and its dance division in New York. Under the watchful eye of Héctor Zaraspe, international ballet master and private teacher to Rudolf Nureyev and Margot Fonteyn, Taylor excelled and graduated with a BFA in Dance.
Taylor’s talent was first nurtured by another trailblazer and choreographer, the late Astor Johnson of the innovative Repertory Dance Theatre (Trinidad) which strengthened the path for awards recognition following his graduation from Juilliard. His stay with Dance Theatre of Harlem (DTH) afforded him two prestigious awards, the DTH Scholarship Award and the Maxwell and Muriel Bluck Scholarship Award.
Taylor moved to Canada in the early ’90’s and emerged as a leading force in black dance. During that period he turned his focus on training fresh, new graduates in theater and dance, at the same time collaborating with the umbrella of dance organization Dance Immersion to gain some traction in the broader community. Remaining true to his Caribbean roots, his work fuses Modern with Folk, and traditional Ballet in a distinctive style which Taylor best describes as Contemporary Caribbean.
One of his best known works to date, includes the beautiful and memorable MASS, a full length ballet with commissioned music by South African- born, award winning composer and advocate for cultural diversity, Bongani Ndodana-Breen. MASS was featured on Vision TV and chosen by NOW Toronto magazine as one of the ten top dance performances in 1998. Other well-known works in the Ronald Taylor Dance repertoire include Maljo, In the Depths of my Palais and He…Moves a world premiere, which celebrated the black male persona in dance. The latter was a pioneer move to feature three black male dancers in performance at the 2005 Kuumba festival at Harbourfront Center.
A firm advocate for education and personal growth, Ronald has successfully pursued a Master of Arts degree at York University. In his capacity as dance educator, Taylor taught at York University Faculty of Fine Arts and at designated school arts programs across Ontario, Western Canada, Belize, USA and parts of the Caribbean. Ronald Taylor was also selected to be part of The Djerassi Resident Artists Program in California, a program internationally recognized as one of the eminent artist residency programs for artists of superior talent, and who are chosen from a diverse range of backgrounds and geographical locations.
Taylor was recently commissioned by the University of Toronto, Scarborough campus to lead a series of workshops and lectures based on his Buddhist practices and the Arts, culminating in a new work entitled “Episode 2010”. The thought provoking piece spoke to his personal experience after witnessing firsthand the G20 summit in Toronto. The aftermath produced its own distinctive storyline which Taylor embraced and used in his 2016 presentation. The work featured six talented dancers including Taylor as the protagonist, and combined interactive slide presentations, live musicians and vocalists.
Since 2014, Taylor has served as Rehearsal Director for two of the leading dance companies in the Diaspora. He is a valued member of the Artistic Team for Ballet Creole and Kashe Dance and in this capacity assumes a dual role of mentor, dramaturge and rehearsal director.
Taylor was born to dance and to push the boundaries of choreographic experiences. He continues his journey with drive, passion and commitment.
Teaching, Dramaturgy & Rehearsal Directing
2013- Present Rehearsal Director (KasheDance, Ballet Creole)
2007-2009 Durham District School Board
2007 Children and Youth Dance Theatre of Toronto (Ballet)
2003-2006 Mariposa in the Schools
Awards and Distinctions
2001 Artist Fellowship Djerassi Resident Artists Foundation, California, USA
1990 Dance Theatre of Harlem Scholarship Award
1989 Maxwell and Muriel Block Scholarship Award, Julliard School, New York
1986-89 Juilliard School, New York, USA (Scholarship Award) BFA
1984 Royal Academy of Dancing, London, England, Male Elementary Examination
Ronald Taylor Dance mission is to provoke critical thinking with his audiences and to push the choreographic boundaries through Contemporary Canadian Caribbean dance and collaborate with diverse ethno-cultural artists. The company plays an important role in preserving the diasporic storytelling tradition within an ever evolving Canadian society. He uses every opportunity to share lived experiences, knowledge and traditions to show the connectives of all communities.
Ronald Taylor Dance continues to educate, engage and empower all generations. All performances allow audiences to question their relationship to each other in a global context. He continues to foster cross-cultural collaborations using contemporary and traditional dance techniques. Taylor offer audiences the very best of dance performances that challenge the mind, open the heart and lift the spirit.