O’Fallon native dances professionally with Paul Taylor Dance Company

Heather McGinley, Paul Taylor Dance Company, Photo by Paul B. Goode
O’FALLON – Dance St. Louis is kicking off its 50th anniversary 2015-16 season with the presentation of Paul Taylor Dance Company, one of the world’s most highly regarded performing arts companies founded by Paul Taylor, the last living member of the choreographers that established American modern dance and one of the most admired choreographers in the world.

O’Fallon native Heather McGinley is a dancer with Paul Taylor Dance Company, joining the company in 2011 after dancing with the prestigious Martha Graham Dance Company. McGinley says dancing professionally has been a dream come true.

Dance St. Louis presents_PTDC_HeatherMcGinley_Photo by Paul B. Goode“Dancing professionally is a very unique life. I have the privilege of doing something I’m passionate about for a living – and I get to travel the world while doing it,” McGinley said.

She said her love of dancing gets more nuanced and deep as time goes on.

“The longer I dance, the more layers there are to why I love to dance. As a child, I loved dancing for the sheer joy of moving through space. As an adult, to move your trained limbs with that same abandon is incredibly challenging. In dance your body is your instrument, making it incredibly personal. I get to let everything go. I get to be a more vivid version of myself – and finding those moments on stage make dance deeply satisfying,” she said.

Heather is thrilled to perform back in her hometown. Despite performing in countless cities all over the world, this will be her first time performing professionally in St. Louis. She said performing locally allows her the opportunity to be an influence on potential up-and-coming dancers as she was influenced as a child.

“I have clear memories of going to see major New York dance companies when they toured to St. Louis. In sixth grade I saw the famous Julie Kent perform in American Ballet Theatre’s Romeo and Juliet. During high school I saw the premiere of Paul Taylor’s Black Tuesday – now one of my favorite dances to perform with the Paul Taylor Dance Company. These performances were a great source of inspiration for me. It’s important for young artists to see a real life example of their dream in action. To be part of such an example is a great honor,” McGinley said.

Heather’s family still lives in O’Fallon. She studied dance at DanceStation and graduated from O’Fallon Township High School. She went on to study dance at Butler University and then starting her professional career.

“My family moved to O’Fallon when I was eight and finding a new dance studio to train at was my first priority. I tried a couple of classes elsewhere in the area but from my first ballet class at DanceStation I knew I had found my place. For the next ten years I spent countless hours at the studio studying ballet, tap, modern, and jazz, and rehearsing for seasonal performances with the State Street Dance Company. For ballet, we trained in the rigorous Cecchetti Method of Classical Ballet. Lisbeth Brown, the original and longtime owner of DanceStation, became my first mentor. With no shortage of blood, sweat and tears, I passed my eighth and final Cecchetti exam just before graduating from high school.”

Heather said that on the rare occasion she is able to make it back home, she said she has to take in some Cardinals baseball.

“I love going to Cardinals baseball games – takes me right back to being a kid,” she said.

Paul Taylor Dance Company, established in 1954, has long been one of the world’s most highly regarded performing arts companies. On October 2-3, as the fall kick-off to its 50th anniversary season, Dance St. Louis presents Paul Taylor Dance Company at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.

WHO: Dance St. Louis
WHAT: Paul Taylor Dance Company
WHEN: Friday, October 2 at 8 p.m. & Saturday, October 3 at 8 p.m.
WHERE: Touhill Performing Arts Center
TICKETS: $30-50 for both performances (http://dancestlouis.org)

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