20 Questions with Teagan Richman-Taylor
August 13, 2020
1. What are the top three activities you have been doing during social distancing?
- I’ve started working towards a degree online with Queen’s University.
- I'm learning Mandarin.
- Taking my dog, Poppy, for a lot of long walks in the woods.
2. What would you have done as a career if ballet hadn't come your way?
I loved chemistry in high school so I imagine I would have continued my studies in that. I’m not sure where I would have ended up career wise, at this point it’s hard to imagine myself doing anything other than dance.
3. Have you ever had an embarrassing moment performance-wise?
Yes! The first one that comes to mind happened before I joined The National Ballet of Canada. I was dancing in The Taming of the Shrew
with Stuttgart Ballet
. In the finale, there is a section where the Corps de Ballet splits into small groups that weave back and forth through one another. Somehow, I didn’t travel enough to make my opening and had to literally gallop around the side of the stage by myself until my group came back to collect me. It wasn’t very funny at the time but it makes me laugh now.
4. What is your work philosophy?
I use the time I have in the studio to work slowly and deliberately on building correct movement patterns so that by the time I get onstage those patterns will be habit and I’m able to dance in a way that is expressive and natural without being distracted by the technique.
5. How do you handle criticism?
Often, I’m happy to be given any kind of constructive feedback. It’s a necessary part of this career and it’s always helpful to compare what you think you need to work on with other people’s opinions.
6. Do you have any habits or superstitions before you perform?
I always like to go over the choreography right before I go onstage. It reminds me that I know what I’m doing and calms my nerves. Apart from that, I actually make a conscious effort not to get caught up in “pre-show superstitions”, they just make your life more complicated then it needs to be.
7. What's your definition of a successful ballet dancer?
Any dancer that can transport an audience away from their daily life.
8. What’s the best thing about being a dancer and what’s the worst?
The best part is the feeling of dancing onstage in peak condition; it’s what makes all the hard work worthwhile. The worst part is dealing with physical pain; it can be hard to find the joy of dance when your body is hurting.
9. What's your guilty pleasure song that'll make you rock out no matter where you are?
10. What are three random things most people don't know about you?
- I lived in Australia for a year when I was seven.
- I love to cook.
- I can play the piano. I stopped taking lessons when I was 16 but it’s still in there!
11. What was the last thing you changed your mind about?
Online shopping. I was staunchly against it until the pandemic happened.
12. What cheers you up on an off day?
Cooking a nice meal and watching something lighthearted on Netflix.
13. Do you have any bad habits that you're working on breaking?
Mindlessly snacking on almond butter, it’s become quite expensive.
14. What is your favorite memory of being onstage?
by George Balanchine
in my last year of school. Until then, I had never particularly enjoyed performing, I often had a lot of anxiety before shows. Those performances were such an amazing experience that they completely changed my perspective. It was the first time I felt that indescribable feeling you can only get onstage. The same feeling that’s kept me going since.
15. Favorite ballet?
’s Romeo and Juliet
. I’ve danced and watched it countless times and it never gets old. The way the story, the music and the choreography all fit together is so effortless. It’s the perfect ballet.
16. What's the biggest risk you've taken, either personally or in your career?
Oddly, leaving Canada’s National Ballet School
(NBS) and moving back home to Vancouver when I was 13. I still wanted to dance professionally and I wasn’t sure if the training I could get at home would be adequate. After a few years with my family I ended up returning to NBS when I was 17. My dad passed away later that year. I’m so thankful I had that time with him.
17. When are you most proud of yourself?
When I feel I’ve made progress. There’s nothing like being able to do something you couldn’t do before.
18. Tell us about an awe-inspiring thing you've seen or experienced.
I took a trip to Israel a couple years ago; the scope of history there was inspiring.
19. Do you have a favourite quote?
“I have not failed. I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” - Thomas A. Edison
20. Finally, what is the top item on your bucket list?
To live abroad. I already lived in Germany for a year but I would like to move away for longer than that.