Teacher Profile: Skyler Taylor

Skyler Taylor is the school registrar here at Kansas City Ballet. Not only does she have an important role in the running of our school, but she teaches multiple classes at both the downtown and Johnson County campuses. One of Skyler’s favorite classes to teach is Creative Movement, which is designed for kids ages 3-5 years old.

Q: How long have you been dancing?

A: I have been dancing for as long as I can remember. My mother inspired me at a very young age to appreciate the gift of dance. I had a lot of personality as a child, and I loved to take class and perform in front of an audience on stage. 

Q: I understand you grew up around the dance studio your mother owned. Could you tell us a little bit about your dance background?

A: I spent most of my childhood dancing at my mother’s studio.  I took as many classes as I could, which allowed me to learn tap, jazz, ballet, and pointe.  I started performing in the community and traveling to take more classes in nearby cities. At the age of 14, I chose to move to Kansas City to increase the intensity of my training at American Dance Center and then at Kansas City Ballet School.  I have wonderful memories from being a Student Apprentice with Kansas City Ballet, receiving my B.F.A in Dance from UMKC, training at the Alvin Ailey School and the Joffrey School in New York, touring with Albany Berkshire Ballet Company in Albany, NY, and dancing with Sarasota Ballet Company in Sarasota, FL.  It has been a great journey!

Q: How long have you been teaching Creative Movement?

A: I have been teaching Creative Movement since I was 15 years old, and it is one of my favorite classes to teach. It allows me to be creative and playful. I love to incorporate nursery rhymes and imagery into my classes. Creative Movement is a child’s first experience with dance, so I want it to be positive and enjoyable. 3-5 year-olds always find a way to make me smile.

Q: Did you take Creative Movement as a child?

A: I sure did! I started dancing and performing at a very young age and I plan on doing it for as long as I can. It has shaped me into the individual that I am today.

Q: What does Creative Movement teach the students? Balance? Discipline?

A: Creative Movement introduces children to music, movement, rhythm, and rhyme.  It develops coordination, confidence, and creativity.

Q: In your opinion why should parents enroll their child in Creative Movement?

A: For many young dancers, this is there first time in a classroom with other students and teachers. It is a great way for children to develop listening skills, learn to follow direction, and interact with other children. It is a big step for 3-year-olds to venture into a classroom on their own, but it gives them great confidence in the end.

Q: What is you favorite moment throughout your time teaching Creative Movement?

A: I have several favorite moments from teaching Creative Movement. Some are humorous and some are heartwarming. I love it when little ones come in timid and shy, and leave smiling and wanting to stay. Every time my little ones perform in front of an audience I am so proud of their accomplishments. It reminds me of how much I love my job!

Teacher Profile: Marcus Oatis

Marcus Oatis is the manager for Kansas City Ballet School’s Johnson County Campus and is also one of our teachers. He was a dancer in the KCB Company for five years before making the transition into the administrative side of the dance industry. Read below to find out more about Marcus!

Q: When did you start taking dance classes and how did you get involved?
A: I started taking dance through an educational outreach program that introduced students to dance in public schools. After the workshop, they asked me if I would continue dancing with them. From there the sky was the limit.

Q: Did you take part in any Summer Intensives throughout your training?
A: When I was younger I went to the Ailey School and in college I went to Kansas City Ballet’s Summer Intensive.

Q: Tell me about your dance career before you came to Kansas City Ballet.
A: Kansas City Ballet was my first full time professional job. Before coming to KCB I danced throughout Nebraska performing with community groups and small “pick-up” companies. Basically, I took every opportunity to perform regardless of how much it paid.

Q: You were with the KCB Company for five years, what made you decide to go into Ballet Administration?
A: I chose this path because it really highlights the different experiences that I have had. Before joining KCB, I worked at a variety of places, which I enjoyed very much. I wanted to do something where I could merge all of my passions into one position.

Q: Do you have the opportunity to teach any of the classes? Do you still take dance classes yourself?
A: Yes, I am a member of the teaching faculty at KCBS. The majority of my time is directed towards the upper school students but I will occasionally make an appearance in the lower school. I have not taken a class yet. I am currently trying to find a different way to challenge myself. I am thinking about training for a marathon…I can’t decide!