Brianna Taylor: The Queensland Country Girl Turned Tap-Dancing Sensation

Brianna Taylor: The Queensland Country Girl Turned Tap-Dancing Sensation

From Mackay to New York

By Emmy-Lou McKean | 19th April 2017

Brianna Taylor has always felt connected to dancing and performing. When she was young, Bri saw a performance of Singing in the Rain with her grandmother. During that show, Bri knew exactly where she wanted to be: on the stage.

From humble beginnings in the Queensland country town of Mackay, Brianna Taylor became a tap dancing sensation with her sights on the international stage.

Bri’s talent and hard work led to her starring in the Off-Broadway production of Untapped. Fresh from a sell-out season in New York, Bri and her fellow tap dance troupe are bringing their high-octane, rhythmic extravaganza to QPAC’s Cremorne Theatre this April.

We caught up with Brianna Taylor to chat all things tours, travel and tap dancing.

What drew you to tap dancing?
For me, tap dancing is more than just a passion. It keeps me centred and grounded and makes me feel the most fulfilled in life. From the moment I stepped into my first tap class when I was just four years old, I knew this was exactly what I was meant to be doing. I’m so blessed to have found my passion in life and from such a young age.

How does a Far North Queensland girl come to find herself performing on stages around the world?
At the age of 15, I auditioned for Brent Street, a performing arts school in Sydney, and eventually [relocated] to Melbourne, training with Grant Swift. In 2015, I ventured to the USA to train at Broadway Dance Centre (NYC), Steps on Broadway (NYC) and at the American Rhythm Centre (Chicago). [I landed] a position in Chloe Arnold’s tap company Apartment 33, becoming the only Australian in the American tap dance company. In the same year, I was also cast for Untapped, which toured New York, Off-Broadway in 2016.

What do you love about taking the stage?
I think the best part of performing would be making the audience feel something, whatever that may be. Having that connection with the audience while on stage is what it’s all about.

What can audiences expect from Untapped?
Audiences can expect an explosion of energy, Aussie humour [and] rhythmic genius from the dancers, drummer and beat boxer.

In three words, how would you describe Untapped?
Energetic, humorous, rhythmic!

Do you have any travel hacks for long tours?
A great playlist of music! Having a killer list of tracks to groove to on a long drive makes all the difference.

What is your favourite song to bust a move to on a night out?
One of my favourite artists for a long time has been The Weeknd, so it's awesome to see his songs in the charts at the moment! Always love grooving to his beats.

What can you not live without?
My tap shoes!

Where is your happy place?
My happy place is definitely on stage performing or getting in the studio and having a tap jam.

If you could travel and perform anywhere in the world, where would you go?
New York is definitely my favourite place to perform, but Europe is on my list of places to travel and perform next.

What does an average day for Brianna Taylor look like?
I usually go to the gym six days a week, plus reformer Pilates classes a few times a week at KX studios. I teach tap dancing most nights during the week at dance studios around Melbourne. I also work at Channel Nine on the production and staging team in Melbourne, which means sometimes I’m behind the scenes helping out on TV shows such as The Block, The Footy Show or Millionaire Hot Seat.

What is your best beauty tip or trick?
I always make sure I take my makeup off and moisturise every night before bed and leave my skin as natural as possible during the day, especially while doing shows and wearing stage makeup each night.

What is your all-time favourite stage production?
Wicked!

Apart from dancing what's your favourite way to break a sweat?
I enjoy doing HIIT training at F45 and I have developed a love of reformer Pilates.

Do you have any hidden/random talents?
Usually my random talent is that I’m a female tap dancer but I can also play a tune on the ukulele.

Best advice ever given/received?
Dance to express, not to impress!

How do you unwind after a long day?
I like to treat myself to a bubble bath and often practice mindfulness meditation.

Who do you love following on Insta?
I actually love following other tap dancers from around the world. It’s awesome that tap fam can stay connected through this social media platform by sharing our love for the art form.

Favourite place to visit in Brisbane?
South Bank is beautiful – definitely a favourite spot to visit while I’m in Brisbane.

If you weren't a dancer, what would you be doing?
I love the production side of the performing arts, so I would definitely be working behind the scenes in either in television or theatre.

You can catch Untapped at the Cremorne Theatre from April 19 to 29.

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Article by Emmy-Lou McKean

Emmy-Lou McKean is a Journalist at Style Magazines. She is a self-confessed pyjama enthusiast and on her weekends when she isn't in said pyjamas you'll find her enjoying live music, sipping Matcha lattes and eating her way through Brisbane and beyond.