Mary Cochran, Paul Taylor Dancer and Beloved Teacher, Has Passed Away

October 12, 2017

Mary Cochran, longtime Paul Taylor dancer and beloved teacher, passed away this week in her 50s.

Cochran began her professional dance career with Alwin Nikolais in 1981, and several years later joined the Taylor Company. There, she originated countless memorable roles such as the “Rum and Coca-Cola” woman in Company B and the Daughter in Speaking in Tongues.

In 1995, she appeared on our October cover as the senior member of the Taylor troupe, and writer Susan Reiter described her as “a quintessential Taylor dancer, a complete individual, most completely herself when she is in motion.”

In 1996, Cochran left the Taylor Company and went on to teach at Mills College, eventually becoming the chair of the Barnard College dance department from 2003-2013. Having studied under Mary at Barnard, I will always remember her as a powerful advocate for her students, a nurturing force and an impossibly quick wit.

Our deepest condolences to her friends and family.