John Taras was born in New York in the family of Ukrainian emigrants. His teachers were M. Fokin and other great dancers of the Mariinsky Ballet who used to teach at the School of American Ballet in the 1930s.
Since 1940 he danced in many companies, were he used to meet George Balanchine, B. Nijinskaia, A. De Mill, Tudor.
From 1948 till 1959 he was the director and choreographer of Grand Ballet du Marquis de Cuevas, where he created 8 ballets.
From 1959 till 1964 he was invited by George Balanchine to be the choreographer and coach at the New York City Ballet.
He participated in creation of such ballets as Somnambular, The Nightingale?s Song for Stravinsky festival, Daphnes and Chloe — for Ravelle festival, Reminiscences of Florence — for Tchaikovsky festival.
In 1969-1970 John Taras was the Head of the Paris Opera ballet.
In 1970-1972 he was the Head and the Artistic director of Berlin Opera Ballet, where he worked with such Russian dancers as N. Makarova, staging Le Sacre du Printemps. Then he was invited by M. Barishnikov to the post of Deputy Artistic Director of the American Ballet Theatre.
In 1985 he was awarded the Order of Literature and Art, and in 1989 The Chicago International Dance Festival Prize.
In 1988 John Taras together with R Buckly published G. Balanchine?s Biography.