- Choreographer Sonya Tayeh talks 'So You Think You Can Dance' Top 6
- Choreographer Sonya Tayeh rockets to top of dance world
- Sonya Tayeh’s Top 5 Best So You Think You Can Dance Routines of All Time!
- Sonya Tayeh
Choreographer Sonya Tayeh talks 'So You Think You Can Dance' Top 6
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Several years ago, Tayeh made a conscious career choice to focus her efforts on theatre, so she packed up and moved from Los Angeles to New York to make her Broadway dreams come true. Tayeh came to the project in a very organic way. I met [director] Michael [Grief] a week prior to the announcement, which I think was serendipitous," Tayeh told Dance Network at the Rent: Live press junket. Two days later, Michael called. It was an unforgettable moment.
Sonya Tayeh's documented start in dance came at a recital not far from the south Dearborn Heights, Mich. She remembers it clearly in her mind, and an old video captures the pose. She was probably 5 or 6, and wearing a light pink tutu. She stood in first position, heel to heel, knees pointed out in the same direction as her toes. Her hand in front of her forehead shielded her from the stage lights as she peered into the audience. Now one of the hottest dance choreographers in the country, Tayeh, 36, took her mother, Annie Mangino, as her date to the broadcast for the Emmy Awards last fall. Tayeh is also the movement muse who choreographed the current off-Broadway play Kung Fu about the late martial arts icon Bruce Lee.
I'll admit it: I've been a Sonya Tayeh fangirl since I was a teen. Like many aspiring dancers from areas of the country where dance is a less appreciated art form, I watched "So You Think You Can Dance? Living in a town hundreds of miles from anything remotely resembling contemporary dance, Tayeh's first choreographic outings on the show had me cycling through shock, bewilderment and awe in quick succession. The appreciation I gained for the unexpected and athletic served me well when I later transitioned from being a bunhead to a BFA candidate taking contemporary technique and composition. So when I got an email asking me if I wanted to interview her, I immediately said yes and fangirled internally for the rest of the day. Sonya Tayeh. Photo by Maria Baranova.
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Sonya Tayeh is a New York City-based choreographer. She has worked nationally and internationally across the worlds of dance and theater. She has two sisters and one half-brother. During her time at Wayne State, Tayeh drew on dance history, anatomy, and performance to develop a style that is built on core strength, aggressive partner interaction, quirky, and stylized movements. Tayeh choreographed the rock musical The Last Goodbye which is based on Romeo and Juliet and set to a soundtrack of music by Jeff Buckley. It premiered in , but a revised version of the show with a new cast opened in September at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego, California.
Choreographer Sonya Tayeh rockets to top of dance world
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Sonya Tayeh’s Top 5 Best So You Think You Can Dance Routines of All Time!
The choreographer Sonya Tayeh had been working in Los Angeles for six months, when she presented her agent with a career wish list. Tayeh has checked one item off that list. For the past seven years, she has been a regular guest choreographer on that show, teaching contestants second routines in the contemporary category. A year and a half ago, she moved to New York to try her luck in the smaller scale, more insular and far less lucrative worlds of New York theater and concert dance. Tayeh is off to a good start in the theater. On a recent weekend, she was holed up in a studio with two assistants and the director Leigh Silverman, devising slinky strides and sassy gestures for the Encores!
But she and her giant earrings will surely still be there in hot-blooded, aggressive spirit. Tayeh raved about her first dance for the season — a contemporary with two of the Top 6, Fik-Shun and Amy Yakima pictured. But man, he was just so open, so ready. That was amazing. And that was my first piece of the season! I was like, are you kidding me? On Jasmine Harper: Jasmine, I mean, talk about desire.