School of Dance

Taylor Bradley (BFA ’15), currently on stage with Cirque du Soleil’s The Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas, is the subject of the University of Arizona’s latest Wonder campaign video, animated by current School of Art student Woodlin Latocki.

Taylor Bradley never had the childhood crisis of worrying about what he would be when he grew up. He fell in love with dance when he took his first hip-hop class at age nine. “So much of my identity in my younger years was dancing,” he says. “It was four to five hours that I would feel at home in my body.”

By age 14, Bradley had committed to pursuing dance professionally. He had a myriad of options – from continuing formal schooling to heading to New York or Los Angeles to launch his career, but his parents encouraged him to earn a degree. He eagerly set up visits to five prestigious universities.

The University of Arizona School of Dance was Bradley’s first audition as well as his last. He says he felt wonder as he explored the campus, instantly falling in love with the incredible dance curriculum – a “triple track program,” where you study ballet, jazz and modern dance simultaneously rather than having to specialize – but also impressed with the 360-degree college experience.

Wonder makes Taylor Bradley move
>> Student animator brings ‘Wonder’ video to life

Taylor Bradley, an alumnus of the School of Dance. Photo: Ore Adesina.
Taylor Bradley, an alumnus of the School of Dance. Photo: Ore Adesina.

“I loved that I could pour my heart and soul and focus into dance, but then there was also a full spectrum of other things to pursue,” Bradley says. “For me, it’s not ‘I went to school for dance,’ but, ‘I went to the University of Arizona, and it helped shape who I am today.’”

Dancer Taylor Bradley. Photo: Daniel Woods
Photo: Daniel Woods

Bradley believes his time at the University of Arizona uniquely positioned him for success; in fact, he feels like the pace he kept on campus – combining performances with school – made the transition to the real world almost effortless. He credits his rigorous training with subsequent offers for great career opportunities right off the bat in such a competitive field, but values just as highly the many relationships he formed that continue today.

One of his most memorable experiences on campus was being cast in a production of “Chicago” as a first-year student and working with the Broadway icons who were staging it. “Having them look at me and say ‘Yep, you have potential,’ took the fire that was already lit and combusted it into fireworks,” Bradley says. 

After graduating from Arizona in 2015 with a BFA in Dance and a minor in Business Administration, Bradley lives his dream as a Cirque du Soleil performer in The Beatles LOVE show in Las Vegas.

Bradley remains inspired by wonder at the power of dance to touch and connect people. He particularly treasures a moment during one of his early Cirque du Soleil finales, when he was overcome with awe as he realized he was on the stage with several other Wildcat alumni. “I recognized there is no limit to your abilities if you keep the wonder in your heart and your dream in laser focus.” 

Bradley teamed up with fellow School of Dance alumna Alex Yonkovich to produce a podcast, “Inside Dance with Taylor and Alex,” which provides advice for up-and-coming pre-professional dancers.

This article originally appeared on U.S. News and World Report’s Brandfuse site.