Taylor Dance Studio



A Thanksgiving weekend tradition, Taylor Dance welcomes the holiday season with its magical Nutcracker ballet. Why drive to Charlotte or Raleigh when you can experience a performance of a similar caliber right here at home? It’s the perfect blend of professional artistry with student talent that makes Taylor Dance’s production an unparalleled holiday favorite.

Five of the lead dancers are featured in this show. Mary Costanza, Christa Blades, Calli McIntyre, Caroline Mays and Sarah Costanza. www.taylordancetheplayhouse.org, www.tututix.com

A testimonial about Taylor Dance

Ballet is really hard and most people underestimate the physical and mental stamina it takes. There are a lot of kids out there that truly love to dance but are unwilling to accept the “consequences” that come with it. When you are training seven days a week, participating in full day rehearsals on the weekends, perform in multiple productions throughout the year, and spend your summers in a ballet studio, it can limit one’s ability to adequately nurture relationships. She has shed a few people along the way. Some of those relationships I mourn every day. Some, I count as a blessing that they are no longer there. Don’t get me wrong, there have been times that even I asked her to pull back to no avail. Asking her to stop dancing is like asking her to stop breathing.

About two years ago we made significant changes and we found Gary and Rita Taylor. Gary is an artist genius and an incredible ballet teacher. Rita is a powerhouse. Gary and Rita, their son and daughter-in-law, Ryan and Julie, Elizabeth and Christine Fowle and the entire Winston Salem Festival Ballet, High Point Ballet, and Taylor Dance faculty, staff and families took my children in and have nurtured and loved them so much over the last two years. The girls have grown personally and technically by leaps and bounds.

Yes, I am proud, but more than anything I am grateful. I am grateful for wonderful people that love my kids, inspire them, and want to see them succeed at something they love as much as they love to breathe.

I am thankful for my village. They are a group of funny, strong, intelligent, and confident women who not only celebrate their own children’s accomplishments but also support and encourage other children as well.

I am grateful for the professional dancers that the girls work with and learn from. They provide a healthy dose of inspiration and they are positive role models that bring both fun and professionalism to the studio and to the stages in which they so beautifully grace.

-Dana Costanza (mother of Mary & Sarah Costanza)

Some of the talking points these young ladies and Artistic Director Gary Taylor cover are:

  • Choreography for the show-All aspects of the performance are choreographed by Gary. He is a nationally renowned choreographer and has been recognized as such by various awards
  • The scenery or set for The Nutcracker. Valued at over $200,000 and designed by Howard Jones, the internationally renowned Director of Scenic Art and Scene Painting at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, the hand-painted set of “Gary Taylor’s Nutcracker” is visually stunning. Complemented by exquisitely detailed period costumes designed by Executive Director, Rita Taylor, and original choreography by award-winning Artistic Director, Gary Taylor, the entire show is a feast for the eyes.
  • Costuming-All costuming is professional created
  • Faculty at Taylor Dance-All of our faculty are conservatory trained professional dancers who are for the most part still performing.
  • Lighting Designers are from New York.
  • Hidden meanings in The Nutcracker
  • Preparation for the show from the Dancer’s perspective
  • Dancers talk about work/school balance and the rigors of a pre-professional ballet program.
  • Dancers can speak about what it is like to work with the professional dancers that teach them, dance with them and mentor them daily.
  • Opportunities for the dancers after their graduation from the pre-professional program. Where do they go from here?

About Artistic Director – Gary Taylor

Meet Gary Taylor, the Artistic Director of Taylor Dance, High Point Ballet, and Winston-Salem Festival Ballet:

Gary is recognized for his mastery of original works, innovative choreography, partnering, instruction, and performance. Some of his
choreographic awards and recognitions include:

  • Regional Dance America (RDA) National Choreographic Award, for “Dreams” (1999)
  • Outstanding North Carolina Teacher in Performing Arts (1999) by University of North Carolina School of the Arts
  • Regional Dance America (RDA) National Choreographic Commission Award for “Temptation” (2004)
  • Regional Dance of America (RDA) Choreographic Recognition Award for “Angels” (2006)
  • Regional Dance America (RDA) National Festival (2008) Original Ballet, “Last Breath,” performed at the Benedum Theatre in Pittsburg, PA at the National RDA Festival
  • “Last Breath” featured in the February 2008 edition of Pointe Magazine
  • Adjudicator for RDA Northeast & Mid States Festival held in Pittsburgh, PA (2011)
  • Director of the RDA National Choreography Intensive (2010-Present)

Despite his impressive reputation, Gary can still be found in the studio daily, working with our Level 1 students on pointe and partnering, overseeing weekend rehearsals, and even making cameo appearances in “The Nutcracker.”

The original choreography in Gary Taylor’s “Nutcracker” has been refined over thirty years of performances and is a treat for every member of your family. Buy your tickets now by visiting our Facebook page from your desktop or laptop and clicking on “Buy Tickets” on the left menu. If you’re on mobile, then just visit this link:



Gary Taylor of Taylor Dance talks about his dance company, located in Southern Pines and their upcoming production of The Nutcracker, which will play on Friday, Nov. 27th thru Sunday Nov. 29th.  www.taylordancetheplayhouse.org.    Tickets can be purchased for this Holiday event at https://tututix.com/client/taylordancetheplayhouse/ or by phone at 855-222-2849.


In addition to The Nutcracker, Gary speaks passionately about the dance school and what it’s meant to the young dancers (ages 3 – 18) over the years.  Gary and Rita Taylor have had many “coachable moments” over the years with many of their students and he brings that important element to life.

David Michael Wolff of the Carolina Philharmonic talks about his iconic organization in Moore County and highlights their Thanksgiving eve Holiday Pops Extravaganza at the Carolina Hotel, Wed. evening, Nov. 25th, featuring Broadway star Clark Thorell. as well as his upcoming Dec. 10th performance of Handel’s Messiah at the Owens Auditorium. www.carolinaphil.org.


David and Gary easily collaborate on their shared experiences in working with many of the students and children of Moore County.

These two gentleman make a difference for these children in providing not only exposure to the Arts, but a discipline, life lessons & an appreciation that will stay with them as they grow into adulthood.