Today’s younger generation spend most of their time in the digital world on mobile phones and tablets. This, combined with reduced government funding has led to a significant decline in youth clubs and community centres. These clubs are pivotal for providing growth for young people beyond what they learn in the formal education system and can also provide a safe haven for children who unfortunately do not have the best environment at home. One entrepreneur who has spent over a decade using dance to help transform the lives of young people is Christina Taylor, founder of Aim Sky High.
Taylor grew up in London, then moved to Manchester, England at 5 years old. From a very young age there were obvious signs that her future would be in entrepreneurship. She recalls being 11 years old and using her Mum’s debit card to buy goods from the U.S. that people wanted in the U.K. and then selling them at a profit and using the excess money so her mother wouldn’t realise. “Whilst this was naughty I remember my Mum finding out but not reprimanding me as much as I thought she would because she thought it was creative”. In her teen years she decided she wanted to take up dancing and although it wasn’t obvious to her Mum that she would be a natural she insisted and searched in the classified ads finding a local school and signed up for lessons.
A few years later she started her own dance group at the youth centre that went on to achieve critical acclaim performing alongside a number of celebrities. In addition to having her own dance group between the ages of 16-19 she raised over £70,000 to do various dance projects with children and young people in her local community.
A turning point came in Taylor’s life when she went to the University of Manchester to study Business and Politics. Whilst the university was only a 10 minute drive the people she interacted with were completely different from where she grew up. Their mentality, the topics that interested them and most apparent, the wealthier socioeconomic environment they grew up in was a surprise to Taylor.
During her degree, whilst she enjoyed most of the content she came into her own during the enterprise modules where she could focus on topics such as strategy and idea generation. She excelled on this course and was invited, with a full scholarship, to do a masters degree in enterprise where her dissertation focused on ‘How to Successfully Transform Voluntary and Community Organisations Into Successful Enterprises’. This dissertation and the positive reception it received, which included being cited in a U.K. government report, gave Taylor the confidence to start her own dance company Aim Sky High.
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Aim Sky High
Aim Sky High was established in 2013 with 23 students and a few grants which Taylor was fortunate to receive. Initially they started renting out a space and doing classes for children from the local community Taylor grew up in charging a fee as well as offering scholarships for children whose parents were not fortunate enough to be able to afford it. The school achieved significant success in just a few years with her students being requested to perform alongside famous musicians such as Justin Bieber and Stormzy. Additionally, her students have won international dance championships which led to the BBC creating a documentary on Aim Sky High as well as performing on the TV show Britain’s Got Talent. Through working with these students Taylor has offered more than just dance lessons but an external education beyond what students are taught in the classroom and this is reflected in the success many of her students have gone on to achieve later in life. Many of her students still call her for advice and this makes her particularly proud of what she has achieved as “improving social mobility is my primary objective in life” she says.
More recently Taylor has expanded her business from her dance school and talent agency to manage creative talent across other verticals where she can leverage her experience managing talent and working with companies to help clients elevate their brand and success. Some of her current clients include professional dancer and TV personality Tom Malone who she co-manages and Mary Earps a goalkeeper for the Manchester United and England women’s football team.
Taylor is just getting started on her mission to increase social mobility in society so people who come from any type of background have every chance to succeed in life. With her drive and authentic passion to help solve the issue it’s highly likely she will make a big impact.
This article is part of a series featuring underrepresented people making a difference. You can keep up to date with new releases or contact me on Twitter – @TommyASC91.