Senior Dance Concert to celebrate Sweet Briar memories Feb. 8 and 9

Taylor Jefferson stage
Taylor Jefferson on the aerial hoop. Photo by Andrew Wilds

Taylor Jefferson ’19, of Winston-Salem, N.C., will present her Senior Dance Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 8, and Saturday, Feb. 9, in the Upper Dance Studio in the Babcock Fine Arts Center. The event is free and open to the public.

The theme is “quite obvious,” says the dance major: “Memories. It’s about my time at SBC and my time as a dancer throughout my life.”

There will be four dances total: one solo, one group piece that includes Jefferson, one group piece from the Fall Dance Concert and a video piece. Titles are still up in the air.

Juniors Rachel Barnes, Olympia LeHota and Haylei Libran will join her on stage for the group dance — a very conscious choice, Jefferson notes. “They were freshmen when I was a transfer sophomore, and I have gone through this journey as a dancer with them,” she says. “I consider them a huge part of my life because we have all influenced each other so much.”

Taylor Jefferson
Taylor on stage. Photo by Andrew Wilds

The fall group piece, on the other hand, is “just an easy-breezy kind of dance,” she says. “I want the viewers to look at the piece and just breathe and think, ‘Wow, that was just plain beauty.’ It’s meant to just [show] the beauty of dance in all of its essence.”

Jefferson is still choreographing her solo, but knows she wants it to provide “a short little window” into her life. Her video piece, she adds, is about levels. “It can be interpreted however the individual viewer chooses. It’s a series of movements on steps and a play on the levels of speed. The audience can choose to make it very abstract and come up with a story for it, or it can just be very literal, me dancing on steps, in fast-forward and slow motion.”

Perhaps it’s also about some of the steps that led her to Sweet Briar. When Jefferson looks back, she can see that it was always meant to be — even if it took some time to find out. “I have such a history at Sweet Briar,” she says. “I had a cousin who came here for some time her freshman year, and two cousins who went to Hampden-Sydney. When my sister was looking at colleges while I was in 7th grade, we came to visit for a weekend and: Wow! I fell in love with the place.”

Her senior year of high school, Sweet Briar announced it would close, and Jefferson changed course. She enrolled in another college to follow a boyfriend, but soon realized she made the wrong school choice. “The August before I was supposed to return for my sophomore year, I looked at my mom and said ‘Can I just go to Sweet Briar?’”

She could, and she wasted no time transferring. It’s amazing how different things can be at the right college. “Sweet Briar has felt like home from the beginning,” Jefferson says.

“Taylor Jefferson is all things Sweet Briar,” says Professor of Dance Ella Magruder. “She is active in many campus leadership roles, including as president of the dance club. She also teaches two classes in our community youth dance program: Creative Dance for 6- and 7-year-olds, and Modern Dance and Choreography for ages 8-10. Taylor is a very kind and caring person, and her young students really like her.”

Taylor Jefferson in class
Taylor in class. Photo by Cassie Foster Evans

Husband and fellow Professor of Dance Mark Magruder agrees. “Taylor has been a great student to work with during her time here at Sweet Briar,” he says. “I am looking forward to her Senior Dance Concert.”

As Jefferson enters her final semester, plans for the future are starting to take shape — even if they’re a little different from what she expected.

“I have been on the M.A.T. track because I want to be a teacher, but God and the universe have other plans for me right now,” Jefferson explains. “My calling is home in Winston-Salem — hopefully to continue with my position at West Forsyth Christian Preschool.”

For more information, email Mark Magruder at mmagruder@sbc.edu.