Sonya Tayeh (Courtesy Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia)
Sonya Tayeh is an American dancer and choreographer. She has been a guest judge and jazz and contemporary choreographer on the television series So You Think You Can Dance since season four.
Life and Career
Tayeh was born in Brooklyn, New York and raised in Detroit, Michigan. She has two sisters and one half-brother. Tayeh was a freestyle house dancer in her youth and did not start any formal dance training until she was 18 and a student at Wayne State University (WSU). While studying form and technique at WSU, Tayeh drew on dance history, anatomy, and performance to develop a style that is built on core strength, aggressive partner interaction, and quirky, stylized movements. She graduated in 2002 with a Bachelors of Fine Arts degree in Dance. She honed her style of combat jazz over a course of four years while co-directing The Dance Company of San Francisco with her friend and colleague Chris Jacobsen. When the company closed in 2007, Tayeh moved to Los Angeles where she was eventually discovered by a talent agent from McDonald Selznick Associates. The agent, Andrew Jacobs, saw part of a performance from the show "The Root of Me" that Tayeh directed and choreographed at The Carnival: Choreographer"s Ball. Three months after being signed, she was booked as a choreographer for So You Think You Can Dance. Aside from So You Think You Can Dance, Tayeh is a faculty member at the Edge Performing Arts Center in Los Angeles. In January 2009, Tayeh was named one of "25 to Watch" by Dance Magazine.
Style and influences
Tayeh has described her choreography style as combat jazz because "[i]t"s staccato, aggressive, and engaged, even when it"s slow. I"m always ready for battle." She cites two of her former college professors, Diane Mancinelli and Erica Wilson-Perkins, as well as Broadway choreographers Twyla Tharp and Bill T. Jones as influences.