by Catherine Michelle
Close your eyes for a moment and dream of what your perfect life would be at 16… Are you an incredible performer who goes on tour and dances in front of arenas with major musical acts? Have you not only been on The Ellen Show once but four times?! Has Justin Bieber sung to you in front of thousands of people?!? Do you have an awesome little sister who also dances?!?! Do you have over 1 million followers on Instagram?!?!? Seems too good to be true right? Well, it’s not. This month we had the incredible pleasure of speaking with dance extraordinaire Taylor Hatala, about all that she has accomplished in her life so far, and what’s to come. Spoiler alert, the above just scratches the surface of this dynamic young lady.
In case you have not seen her showing off her dance moves on The Ellen Show, or in a commercial with Ciara, meet Taylor Hatala. Taylor began dancing when she was three years old while living in Edmonton Canada. By the age of six, she took her first hip hop class. “I really noticed the big shift when I began doing hip hop. It was just different, and the style made me feel so happy. I love nothing more than to perform hip hop on stage and it truly made me fall in love with dance. I felt like I had more freedom and could express myself.”
When Taylor was 11 years old she went viral on YouTube for her dance to Nicki Minaj’s hit song, Anaconda. The dance was choreographed by Laurence Kaiwai who also stars in the viral video and the original performance now has over 14 million views on YouTube in 2020. But that is not even the crazy part, the video garnered so much attention that Ellen DeGeneres invited them both to come onto The Ellen Show to perform and that video has over 51 million views on YouTube!
“I was literally just doing what I love and that got me onto The Ellen Show; it is such a great reminder to me to have fun and by myself, because people love to see that genuine side.”
Taylor has since returned to The Ellen Show three additional times and with her younger sister Reese, who was on Dancing with the Stars: Juniors. Taylor, when reflecting on this said, “I loved bringing Reese to Ellen with me because it is not an opportunity many siblings get. Having her with me made me feel way less nervous and I was so proud of her. It is something I will never ever forget. We get to tell our future kids one day that we were on Ellen together!” Now, that’s a home movie I think we all wish we had.
Taylor has since danced with Chris Brown, Missy Elliot and was invited to join Janet Jackson’s world tour! While on tour, she made sure to still be a kid and that included her transforming the tour bus into a haunted house on Halloween, but her favorite experience on tour was dancing at the horserace in Dubai. Touring also means being away from home for long stretches of time.
“I think the biggest thing is sacrifice, learning what was most important to me and being okay with making those sacrifices. At times that meant I couldn’t see my friends or my family, but I knew it was all worth it because I got to do what I loved which was dance, but balance is important!”
Okay, close your eyes once again and dream of who you would want to sing you ‘Happy Birthday’ on your 14th birthday. Were you thinking of Justin Bieber? Because that’s exactly what happened next when Justin’s tour came to Canada and it happened to coincide with her big day. “Reese and I freaked out when we found out we would be dancing with Justin Bieber in our hometown, in our home stadium. It was awesome! He and the whole stadium sang me ‘Happy Birthday’.”
Juggling dance, tours, school, studying, and spending time with friends and family can be exhausting but Taylor has some tips doing it all and excelling. “When I was younger I had so much more energy but now as a teen, drinking lots of water and sleep is the most important thing to me, 8 plus hours a night. Dance can only give you so much stamina and muscle, so I also supplement it with going to the gym to build muscle. I use weights, do squats, and stretching!” To keep her energy up before or after being active she makes a delicious protein shake with cocoa powder, bananas, and peanut butter. YUM!
As we finished our talk, I asked her one last question:
Do you have any advice to someone that wants to be a dancer? “Be patient, be yourself, and just go for it. Patience is key, and you never know when your time will come. If you are working hard to create that path, a door will open for you. Be yourself because you are you and there is no one else more you than you.”
Be sure to follow Taylor on Instagram @tayd_dance and YouTube @taylorhatala and @taylor_hatala on TikTok to keep up with her good vibes and incredible dance moves.