Tai Jimenez, a native of New York City, began her dance training with Joan Millen Mesh and went on to study at the School of American Ballet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Center, Laguardia High School, with Madame Gabriella Darvash and Ken Ludden. She was a member of the Dance Theatre of Harlem School Ensemble before joining DTH, where she became a Principal Dancer. Her repertory included the title roles of Giselle and Firebird as well as numerous works by George Balanchine, and ballets by Glen Tetley, Sir Kenneth MacMillan, Sir Frederick Ashton, Bronislava Nijinska, August Bournonville, Agnes de Mille, Alvin Ailey, Alonzo King, Robert Garland, John Alleyne, Lar Lubovitch, Doug Varone, Dwight Rhoden and others. Later, Ms. Jimenez joined Boston Ballet as a Principal. There she originated a role in Mark Morris’ Up and Down, and was also seen in Val Caniparoli’s Lambarena, Jorma Elo’s Carmen, Balanchine’s Serenade and A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Nijinska’sLes Noces, Cranko’s Romeo and Juliet, and Asaf Messerer’s Spring Waters. She has appeared as a guest artist with the New York City Ballet and companies across the United States. She made her Broadway debut as Ivy Smith (Miss Turnstiles) in the 1998 revival of On the Town, directed by George C. Wolfe. Ms. Jimenez originated the roles of Fran in Maria Irene Fornes’ Letters from Cuba and Ysabel in Debbie Allen’s Soul Possessed. She was a featured dancer on the Academy Awards, the Kennedy Center Honors and in pop superstar Prince’s Rave Unto the Year 2000. Ms. Jimenez played the role of Mela in the film One Last Dance starring Patrick Swayze. The versatile Jimenez is also a teacher and choreographer. She was a choreographic assistant in the feature film The Game Plan, starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. She has taught at Harvard University, Phillips Academy in Andover, The Boston Conservatory, Boston Arts Academy, East Street Dance, Jeannette Neill’s, Boston Ballet Summer Intensive, Dance Theatre of Harlem School and ModasDance Summer Intensive. She has been featured on the cover of Pointe magazine, in Dance Teacher Magazine, and her writing has appeared in both Pointe and Dance Magazine.
Tai Jimenez (Black Light) is haunted by the ghost of Nijinski and ruled by a voracious Jinni. She has never graduated from any institution, but teaches an irreverent form of ballet at the Boston Conservatory at Berklee, Harvard University, Phillips Academy Andover, Alvin Ailey Company classes, and others.
She was a ballerina for over twenty years and served as a Principal Dancer for both the Dance Theatre of Harlem and Boston Ballet. She also choreographs, a bit begrudgingly, and sometimes has fun at it. While she loved ballet, she always yearned to find a dance language of her own. In her late 40’s, Tai adopted her stage name, Black Light, started getting tattooed and began performing in a style she affectionally calls Broken Puppet: “Broken,” because being broken is what allowed her to finally let go of her self-image and “Puppet” refers to the sublime state of allowing oneself to be danced by the Master. Broken Puppet is a combination of Ballet, Butoh, Modern, Hip-Hop, Yoga, and hot fudge sundaes.
In this meditation/dance, she tunes into a state that is a response to pure listening, transcendent of thought. As she writes this, she has butterflies in her stomach.
One of her teachers, the great Shaman from Burkina Faso, Malidoma Some, told her that “dancing is a decoy for the kind of healing you are meant to bring.” More than anything, Tai is a lover of Spirit. She is concerned with the nature of consciousness itself and gets a kick out of subverting linear thought structures.
Tai would like to thank her family, Cyrille, Colibri and Chulo, for anchoring her to this world and for putting up with her incessant twirling.