Dance Academy Returns to Butler County
When Moira (Givens) Taylor was a junior at Butler County High School, she opened her own dance studio. Dance Academy gave young girls in the Butler County area a place to learn various forms of dance and a chance to perform their newly-acquired skills in front of an audience at scheduled recitals.
The academy was in operation from 1988 through 1997. During that time, Moira earned a Bachelor degree in education, with a dance minor and fine arts emphasis from Western Kentucky University. She continued her education at Trevecca University in Nashville where she received her Master’s degree. Shortly after college graduation, Moira was hired by the Montgomery County School System to teach communications and theater at Austin Peay University in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Not one to back down from a challenge, she took on a second job, teaching in an elementary school in the same Tennessee county. Moira continued that grueling schedule for sixteen years, at which time the administration at Austin Peay requested that she go back to school in order to obtain a Doctorate degree. Moira decided it was time to go in a different direction.
“My girls had gotten to an age where they were ready to dance, and I asked myself, why pay for dance lessons when I could teach them myself.” Moira, her husband, Giles (also from Butler County) and their three children (one boy and two girls, ages 16, 9 and 2 years) currently live in Elkton, Kentucky. She opened the Elkton School of Dance then expanded to Morgantown with the Dance Academy (located at 121 G.L. Smith Street) twenty-six years after opening her first studio.
For most, it might seem like an impossible task to operate two dance schools located several miles apart, while also raising three children, but Moira Taylor isn’t most people. She started dancing at age eleven and has lost neither the interest nor the inspiration that have always kept her moving forward. (Sharon Gilgenast and Auriel Givens (Moira’s niece) assist in classes at the two schools.)
At “Camp Groove,” the dance program currently meeting on Tuesday, Thursday and Saturday afternoon and evenings, you will find several moms hovering in the hallway, jockeying for position behind the one window that looks in on where their young daughters are being instructed by the same teacher who taught them when they were little girls.
“Isn’t it wonderful that our babies are getting the chance to dance like we did!” says Paige (Craig) McKinney to Ashley Wright, Megan Donaldson, Natalie Hughes and Amanda Sublett, also alumni of the academy.
“They are some of my best childhood memories,” Natalie Hughes says.
Moira’s accomplishments have built a legacy that most only dream about, and she made it happen one dance step at a time.
(For information on upcoming children’s and adult dance classes, you can contact Moira Taylor at 270-779-0184. Make plans to attend the children’s dance performance at the next scheduled “Music at the Mural” event on Friday, June 20.
Story and photo by Cheryl Hughes, Beech Tree News