Clay Taliaferro
Professor of the Practice Emeritus of Dance

LAY TALIAFERRO  has had an extensive involvement with American dance, earning an international reputation as an award-winning performer, teacher, and choreographer.   He was, most notably, a principal dancer and guest artist with the José Limón Dance Company for many years, and also served the company as Assistant Artistic Director to Ruth Currier.   Prior to being invited by José Limón to join his company, and to perform his roles in twentieth century masterworks of choreography (the Moor  , the Traitor, Emperor Jones,  etc.), Clay was a principal dancer and Acting Artistic Director for the Donald McKayle Dance Company.   In addition to dancing in the companies of other major choreographers (Anna Sokolow, Emily Frankel, Stuart Hodes, Sophie Maslow, Lotte Goslar, Buzz Miller), in television, film, and Broadway productions, he co- founded/directed and performed with the Theatre Dance Trio, a company founded for the express purpose of bringing together three mature dance artists from different backgrounds to work in consort across boundaries of modern dance styles and philosophies.   Clay Taliaferro has choreographed a sizable body of work and has received grants for his creative work from, among others, the National Endowment for the Arts, the American Dance Legacy Institute, and the Duke University Institute of the Arts. hailed by Duke University President, Richard Brodhead to be "the epitome of what we want all professors in the Arts to be," professor emeritus  Taliaferro has received The Duke University Richard K. Lublin Distinguished Award for Teaching Excellence, The North Carolina School of the Arts Outstanding Teacher Award, The 2005 North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Award, and in 1985 the honorary degree, Doctor of Fine Arts from Rhode Island College.   Mr. Taliaferro's early education in dance/theatre began at the Boston Conservatory of Music with Jan Veen and Ruth Sandholm Ambrose, and at the Gene Frankel Theatre Academy in New York City. In his four-plus decades of having had the "good luck and privilege" of living in his art, Clay continues to find great joy in "working the soil" as gardener--both in, and outside the studio--taking the counsel of all things that grow.   A student of the world, Clay especially enjoys the work he currently is doing with persons in mid to later life, using dance as a catalyst for rediscovering spirit and empowering a sense of personal essence and wellness.

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