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Joy Squire’s life has been one long dance.
The founder of Taylor Dance and its affiliate, Ballet Americana, she once toured the country as a member of the Charles Stanley Agency and cut the rug in Detroit-area television commercials with Danny Thomas (then known as Amos Jacobs). One summer of her dance career also was spent as part of a troupe of four dancers on the Boblo boat traveling up and down the Detroit River. She eventually spent considerable time in New York during the 1970s and ‘80s studying under top-shelf instructors of that era, and recognized the importance of great instruction. That influence guided her direction with Taylor Dance through the decades.'
On honor of her longtime service to the community, the “We Dance for Joy” project was founded. Acclaimed sculptor Brent Harris of Kalamazoo created artwork that captures the spirit and passion for dance that Joy Squire embodies. That sculpture, recently installed in front of the Taylor Recreation Center, 22805 Goddard, will be unveiled during a ceremony that begins at 10 a.m. Saturday. The public is invited to attend.
Funding for the project comes from a combination of donations and Community Block Grant Development monies. The City provided the site, and is working with the Taylor Conservatory Foundation to create the gardens that will surrounding the sculpture.
“Like other good people who helped create great communities across America, Joy Squire ‘gets it,’” Mayor Sollars said. “She knows that most of her students won’t have careers in professional dancing. But they will walk away from Taylor Dance with something even more important: Confidence. That’s something that you cannot put a price tag on. If you capture that in a statue, and create a wonderful surrounding gardens maintained by our own tremendous conservatory and botanical gardens’ group, that’s a huge win. You couldn’t ask for more out of a project like this. We want to be world class, and this is world-class effort.”
The Taylor Dance Program was founded in 1966 by Joy Squire with the purpose of bringing quality dance training to the residents of Taylor and neighboring Downriver communities. The first classes in tap and jazz were taught in the gymnasium of a local elementary school. Since its humble beginning, the program has grown and is now recognized as one of the premier dance training centers in Metropolitan Detroit. Today, hundreds of students from over 30 southeastern Michigan cities take classes. Alumni have moved on to professional careers, both in the United States and Europe, in motion pictures, television and print commercials, videos, on collegiate and professional sport dance teams, and with major dance companies.
Joy was inducted into the Taylor Hall of Fame in 2002. In 1993, she was recognized by the Downriver Council for the Arts with the Salute to Excellence Award.