Wise Women Wednesday: Brianna Taylor

Brianna Taylor photo by Sophia Emigh

Brianna Taylor photo by Sophia Emigh

It's Wise Women Wednesday, each week I interview a woman that I believe is inspiring, living abundantly and following her passions.  These are all women who have taught me something and I want to share what each of these women are up to you with you.  

I'm honored to interview Brianna Taylor who is a women unafraid to express her creativity in all that she does, we've been lucky enough to have her teaching at Greensboro Downtown yoga.  If you haven't seen her work as a choreographer and dancer you can catch her tonight at LeBauer Park.  Other was you still have some time to catch one of her classes at GDY before she runs off to fulfill her next dream .

Q. Who are you? 
A. Brianna Taylor. A dancer, teacher, creator, performer, sister, daughter, friend, partner, explorer, lover of life!

Q. How do we know each other?
A. Through Greensboro Downtown Yoga, the Greensboro yoga community

Q. What is your work?
A. I am dance artist and yoga instructor. I teach yoga locally at Greensboro Downtown Yoga and Radiance Yoga, as well as Elon University as an adjunct professor. I currently teach contemporary dance at the Dance Project in Greensboro, and have taught contemporary dance, West African dance, choreography and dance appreciation as an adjunct at local universities (Elon, Salem College, UNCG, and UNC Charlotte). 

I'm also a choreographer and performer. I create work and collaborate with dancers and musicians under my company's name, Confluence Performance Project, as well as with Collapss (the Collective for Happy Sounds). I've also been a performer with several local choreographers.

Q. What is one project you are excited to be working on right now?
A. I'm excited to be working with my colleagues in Collapss on a project called the 'Pop-Up Art Exchange.' This is in collaboration with the Dance Project and Art Alliance. We will host a workshop this Tuesday Sept. 20 where we will guide participants in creating an improvisational performance score to be performed on Wednesday Sept. 21 outside of Cafe Europa and into LeBauer park. The score will be inspired ideas, images, colors, and sounds of the park. The director of Art Alliance, Liz Busch will be painting on silks in real time, responding to the dancers. Musicians will also be responding to the dancers, in relation to the score created in the Tuesday workshop. Collapss will also perform a few pieces from our repertoire. 

Brianna Taylor, photo by Lindley Battle

Brianna Taylor, photo by Lindley Battle

Q. What is one thing you've done recently that's scared you and took courage, but you're glad you did?
A. I created a solo performance piece about family and artistic lineages, where I also addressed issues around race, appropriation, and motherhood. I performed this at Carolina Beach for the Sarus Festival, during a very busy time of day with many beachgoers, not necessarily there to see the performance. Due to the sensitive topics of the work, and the fact that I was asking for audience participation/responses, I was extremely nervous how the work would be received. While I can never really know how it was received by audience members and people passing by, I ultimately feel like I grew as an artist by sharing this work, and feel that it was thought provoking to people who did experience it. As an artist this is what I hope for-- that I can overcome my fears of sharing work that feels deeply personal but also socially relevant, and that it may inspire reflection, conversation, social action and ultimately more love in our world. 

Q. What is the work you most want to be doing and are you doing it?  If not why not what's stopping you?
A. I want to be teaching more contemporary dance, choreography and improvisation, in addition to my yoga teaching, as well as spending more time on my choreography. What's stopping me is that I haven't been able to find available positions in this area in Greensboro. I've worked to incorporate creating and performing in various ways, but I've decided to take a leap and move to NYC to invest further in my dance career through teaching, performing and creating dance works.  

Q. What would you tell your high school or college self?
A. To stop doubting herself. To not take herself so seriously. To feel the fear and do it anyway. To trust and dive in with an open heart.

Brianna Taylor photo by  Sophia Emigh

Brianna Taylor photo by  Sophia Emigh

Q. What's one piece of advice or moto you love and use in your daily life that you would like to share with my sweet readers? 
A. I've been thinking a lot about the notion of Santosha, or 'contentment,' a tenet of yogic philosophy.  The idea of being present in each moment, being content with my life where it is right now, but also being present with the potential for transformation and growth, in divine timing. I've also been thinking of the statement "Feel the fear and do it anyway," which is also the title of a book by Susan Jeffers. This mantra has shown up in various moments of my life over the past several years, and is a nice reminder that fear will present itself, but that there is no reason it should stop us from taking a leap of faith, however big or small. 

Q. What keeps you creating when you don't feel like it?
Knowing that it feeds my soul, that it lights a spark in me that tells me I have to be doing it, and when I'm not, I often feel like something is missing. And the feeling that the world needs art! The connections I feel to people and positive energy through creating art lifts me up reminds me that art has the potential to create positive social change. 

Q. What's your favorite yoga pose?
A. I have a hard time choosing a favorite anything, because there are so many things I love for different reasons! If I had to choose one, I would probably say pigeon! But downward dog and headstand are right up there!

Brianna Taylor Photo by Sophia Emigh

Brianna Taylor Photo by Sophia Emigh

Q.How do you live a life of abundance?
A. By practicing gratitude for all the wonderful things I am blessed with in my life. Even during challenging moments, gratitude helps me to recognize abundance in all the ways it can show up. 

Q. Anything else you'd like to share?
A. The reminder that life is a journey, and each step of the path is a part of my personal process. Sometimes I catch myself thinking that one day I'll have everything "figured out," or will feel "caught up," or will have everything in order... But then I rememeber that the "figuring out" is a constant process, a beautiful process of my life unfolding, and I get to decide how to relate, respond, redirect, reconfigure as I go. And always doing my best to enjoy the ride! 

For more information about Collapss  check out this website