What Every Dancer Can Learn from Taylor's Laura Halzack

November 1, 2016

How great is it when the dancers you love watching most turn out to be the kind of people you respect most?

Laura Halzack has been a favorite of ours since she joined the Paul Taylor Dance Company in 2006. She moves with such statuesque elegance, but never lets that diminish her obvious joy onstage. This is a woman who clearly loves what she does.

We fell even harder for her when putting together our latest episode of “Behind The Curtain.” We found out that not only is she magnetic onstage, she’s a role model every dancer can learn from.

She’s Engaged in The Wider World

Halzack, photo by fellow dancer Francisco Graziano @ciscodude

Rather than living with dance-blinders on, Halzack seeks out a well-rounded life. Her Instagram feed is a cornucopia of gorgeous shots of street markets in Taipei, black and white closeups of her fellow dancers, cows in the Scottish countryside. When we caught up with her this summer at American Dance Festival, she was closely following the Democratic National Convention, watching as Hillary Clinton became our country’s first female major-party presidential candidate.

But that Doesn’t Make Her Any Less Disciplined

On performance days, she starts her morning by going over all the rep she’ll be dancing later, reviewing video footage and marking through phrases. “I picture what I do before I go out there,” she told us. “It keeps me focused.”

She Knows How to Harness Her Energy

During her warmup, Halzack gets into “the zone” by putting on her headphones and listening to world musician Loreena Mckennitt. Naturally a high-energy person, Halzack has to force her body to chill out enough to find the focus to master the more quiet, serious roles she’s typically cast in.

She Thinks Deeply about What’s Behind Every Work

About Promethean Fire, she says: “It was the first dance Paul choreographed after 9/11. And he’ll never admit if that’s what it’s about. And I think that’s beautiful.”

About Images: “You see Paul for the first time playing with two-dimensionality. There’s a lot of flat movement. You see Paul’s continued development and working with those ideas.”

About Profiles: “Ruth Andrien said that doing this dance is like doing a 12-minute push-up.”

Photo by Paul B. Goode

She Absolutely Adores Her Job

Halzack admits that she still gets emotional when thinking about the moment 10 years ago when she was hired. “It really changed my life. It’s my dream job.” More than anything, she hopes people remember her as someone dedicated to Taylor’s work, who tried to share it with generosity.

Watch the whole episode here.

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