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Road to Excellence – Alvin Ailey

In this inspiring episode, we had the pleasure of speaking with two remarkable dancers from the prestigious Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. As NJPAC prepares for its annual Mother’s Day show, we delved into the lives and careers of Chalvar Monteiro and Christopher Taylor, both New Jersey natives with unique paths to the world of professional dance excellence. Tune in to hear their journey of determination.

Catch their performance this Mother’s Day at NPAC – show tickets 

Interview also available on YouTube

Chalvar Monteiro

From Montclair to Dance Mentor

“These days making mistakes feels a lot less like a character flaw and more like an invitation to see how your subconscious can respond a bit faster”

Chalvar Monteiro, a seasoned member of the Alvin Ailey company, shared his journey from Montclair, NJ to the global stage. Growing up on Lincoln Street, Chalvar’s dance aspirations were nurtured through church activities and the liturgical dance ministry. His pivotal moment came when he witnessed an Alvin Ailey performance, which solidified his decision to pursue dance professionally.

Despite starting his formal dance training relatively late in high school, Chalvar’s determination led him to Montclair State University and later to SUNY Purchase, where he graduated from the Conservatory of Dance. His story is one of resilience, overcoming social challenges, and bullying due to his passion for dance.

As a mentor, Chalvar now enjoys guiding younger performers, emphasizing the importance of learning from every experience, whether it’s a flawless performance or a moment of recovery from an unexpected slip. He also explores his creativity through choreography, finding joy in the collaborative process and the opportunity to tell personal stories through movement.

Learn more about Chalvar Monteiro at Alvin Ailey

Chalvar Monteiro, an alumnus of Renaissance Middle School and Montclair High School in Montclair, NJ, began his dance journey under the tutelage of Sharon Miller at the renowned Sharron Miller’s Academy for the Performing Arts. He continued his training at The Ailey School before earning his BFA in Dance from SUNY Purchase. Since then, he has performed with acclaimed companies such as Sidra Bell Dance New York, Elisa Monte Dance, Keigwin+Company, BODYTRAFFIC, and A.I.M by Kyle Abraham. Monteiro will be featured on Lost In Jersey to share his journey to excellence and discuss his upcoming tour, coming to NJPAC in May.

Chalvar Monteiro: Shows Notes

  • Rachel’s kids dance at Danceworks Studios Kathy Costa
    Chalvar Monteiro – grew up in Montclair,

    Liturgical Dance Ministry, Choir

  • Then when his sister worked at NJPAC she got his Dad bday tickets to Alvin Ailey and then took Chalvar the next day to see the show.
  • “I got support from people when they heard I was a dance until they realized I was not talking about hip-hop.”
  • The law of averages, you aren’t going to win everything
  • The ‘Art of Recovery’ instead of ‘mistakes’
  • “These days making mistakes feels a lot less like a character flaw and more like an invitation to see how your subconscious can respond a bit faster”
  • From Improv to Choreography
  • Dialogue is so important so that they can make sure they maintain the transformative nature that art and dance can have
  • Parts in NJPAC this May

    • Friday Night May 10th see Chalver in a trio solo by Hans van Manen and “I Want to Be Ready” in Revelations
    • Saturday NIght – Amy Hall’s Century about her grandfather from New Orleans who turned 100
    • Sunday afternoon is the same as Friday except he’s doing Sinner Man solo
  • Fashion Campaigns
    • Uiqulo
    • lululemon
  • Kyle Abrahams Abrahams in Motion dance company before Ailey
  • Joined faculty at Tish School of the Arts
  • Whenever he gets to teach “Find the value in doing something you don’t do well.” You never know!

Christopher Talyor

From Newark to the World Stage

“Stay Open, Listen to your Elders, Stay Strong, Breathe”

Christopher Taylor’s tale began in Newark, where his grandmother’s unwavering support and exposure to house music festivals ignited his love for dance. His introduction to the Alvin Ailey organization came through educational programs in his school, leading to his participation in Ailey Camp and eventually earning a scholarship to the Ailey School in Manhattan.

Christopher’s dedication to dance was matched by his academic achievements, maintaining honor roll status while juggling a rigorous dance schedule. After high school, he chose to dive straight into the professional dance world, joining Ailey II and later being invited to the main company.

His journey with Alvin Ailey has taken him around the globe, from the mountains of Scotland to the stages of Copenhagen and London. Christopher’s story is a testament to the transformative power of dance and the opportunities it can provide to see the world and connect with diverse audiences.

Learn more about Christopher Taylor at Alvin Ailey

Christopher Taylor, hailing from Newark, NJ, is a proud alumnus of Arts High School. His journey into the world of dance commenced at the age of 11 through AileyCamp Newark's summer program and The Ailey School Junior Division. He further honed his skills as a scholarship recipient in The Ailey School Professional Division. For two seasons, Mr. Taylor graced the stage as a member of Ailey II, showcasing his talent at renowned venues such as the Apollo Theater, Lincoln Center, and Ailey's New York City Center galas. In 2022, he achieved a milestone in his career by joining the esteemed Company.

Christopher Taylor: Shows Notes

  • Newark is known for House Music Festivals where his Grandmother would bring him
  • Middle School Introduced to Horton Ballet
  • Ailey Camp – first year at Arts High School in Newark NJ
  • Prudential sponsors it in Newark
  • Scholarship is a golden ticket out
  • Before dancing, he thought it would be boxing
  • Ailey Professional Division on Scholarship auditioned for Ailey 2 but then Covid happened
  • Got a job, and started boxing again
  • No matter what country, or what city, when the curtain rises on ‘Buked’ in Revelations, everyone claps and reacts the same….their palms are open and up
  • Advice to younger people, “Stay Open, Listen to your Elders, Stay Strong, Breathe, and be like gum with your personality” “You are planting seeds, so that as you get older, when things do go crazy, your spirit your mind your body isn’t moved so much”
  • Dance can be happy and I’ve found therapy in that.
  • Mentors are SO IMPORTANT!
  • Got to perform at the Apollo Theater with Ailey Camp
  • “If you listen to a lot of mentors you see that there are options”
  • Shout Out to the House Heads of Newark

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