This Ballerina Made Her Childhood Dream Job a Reality

This Ballerina Made Her Childhood Dream Job a Reality

Many of us dreamt of becoming ballerinas after we saw The Nutcracker as children. However, most of us changed our career path once (or a dozen) times since then. Theresa Farrell can’t relate. Theresa has been dancing since she was a child and has known she wanted to pursue it as a career since she was 14.

As the Executive Director and Dancer for the American Contemporary Ballet, she was able to share her vision and ideas for the company from the start. Theresa walked us through the mission and story behind the ACB, her advice for other dancers, and the different commercials and TV shows she’s danced for. Spoiler alert: Facebook and dancing around a nose are on the list!

 

Name: Theresa Farrell, Executive Director & Dancer at the American Contemporary Ballet
Age: 33
Location: Los Angeles
Education: multiple ballet schools

 

What was your first job, and how did you land it?

 

I think it was watching my neighbor’s bunny! I had a golden retriever growing up that I loved so much that the whole neighborhood knew I liked animals.

 

How long have you been dancing? What got you interested in dance?

 

I have been dancing for 25 years! I’ve taken a few years off of ballet during that time but I’ve never stopped dancing. I was born with tons of energy, and I love moving. I even produced my own shows as a kid.

 

 

When did you know you wanted to do ballet as your career rather than just as a hobby?

 

I was fourteen when I knew without a doubt I wanted to be a ballerina and dance ballets in the Balanchine vein.

 

You went to school for ballet. How did that prepare you for your role now?

 

I went to lots of ballet schools to prepare for my role as a dancer, but I learned about founding and running a company by finding amazing mentors, reading books, observing what I wanted to emulate and what I wanted to change. And of course, a ton of trial and error.

 

 

I went to lots of ballet schools to prepare for my role as a dancer, but I learned about founding and running a company by finding amazing mentors, reading books, observing what I wanted to emulate and what I wanted to change. And of course, a ton of trial and error.

 

 

When did you know you wanted to start your own ballet company rather than work for another one?

 

When I met choreographer Lincoln Jones, I believed in his vision so much that I wanted to bring it into existence. The thought of doing anything other than that sounded horrible.

 

What was the process of starting the American Contemporary Ballet like?

 

There was so much involved in the process of starting the company; it existed in our minds for years before it began taking shape in reality. I’d say my main role in starting the company was, and continues to be, finding the people to help us bring this vision into reality from funders to artists to staff. I am a true people person and I love sharing my passion with others and building the amazing team behind the company.

 

How is ACB’s mission different from other companies?

 

ACB’s stated mission is to produce and present choreographic works of the highest quality which exemplify dance as a musical art form. ACB performs only to live music, which is very rare these days. I think what also sets us apart is how we present both original and masterwork ballets — ACB performs in a skyscraper surrounded by 360-degree views of L.A. with audiences seated just feet from the dancers, which allows for a truly visceral experience of the artistry and athleticism of ballet.

 

 

What is the most rewarding part of your job?

 

I have two jobs at ACB: dancer and Executive Director.

The way I feel when I am dancing is my absolute favorite feeling in the world. I feel the most alive when I’m losing myself in a piece of new repertory or one of the great masterworks that I get to dance.

As Executive Director, it’s the incredible sense of family and community I feel with our dancers and patrons — getting to hear and feel our audience’s enthusiasm after the shows, being backstage with the dancers before the performances, and the beautiful and inspiring ways people have invested in this company. To get to be surrounded with that much love every day is so rare.

 

What advice would you give to aspiring dancers who want to dance as a career?

 

Review your dancing on video to make sure you aren’t lying to yourself about your performance. And be careful not to spend so much time on a “plan B” that you don’t give everything you have to your plan A — time does run out.

You’ve been in multiple different ballets with ACB! Which were your favorite to be a part of?

 

Every ballet I get to dance at ACB is such a thrill, and seeing the company grow each season is exhilarating. But I’d have to say our Burlesque and Inferno are my favorites! Inferno takes place in Dante’s Hell and I feel transported to another world when I perform it. I dance three different roles in Inferno, one with lots of jumping, one with lots of balancing and control, and one that is dark and a bit wild. Each role pushes me in a new way, and they all feel good to dance in such different ways. And then in Burlesque, my role is primarily quick footwork but with a sensuality that I love playing with. The music to both of these ballets is by composer Charles Wuorinen — the closest comparison I could suggest is a Stravinsky-type sound. ACB’s first commission was the score for Burlesque.

 

 

Be careful not to spend so much time on a “plan B” that you don’t give everything you have to your plan A — time does run out.

 

 

You’ve done ballet on TV shows and commercials! What was that like?

 

It’s very different from company work! Often times the directors aren’t from the ballet world so they speak about dance in a different way and will often tell you more of the effect they are looking for with the movement rather than the exact moves to do. It’s a lot of fun to be on different sets;  I did pointe work on a kitchen table while a family was eating dinner for a Facebook commercial, and I did pirouettes on a helicopter pad for Fruit of the Loom’s Olympics commercial. I also danced around a giant nose while wearing a red unitard for Virgin Mobile and I danced across a recreated Abbey Road for a Rock Band commercial.

 

What’s next for ACB? What goals do you have for the company?

 

Our goals are to launch an ACB school, to continue expanding our season, and to move into a larger space to accommodate our growing audience and productions.

 

What advice would you give to your younger self?

 

“The world you desire can be won. It exists… It is real… It is possible… It’s yours.” —Ayn Rand

 

 

Theresa Farrell is The Everygirl . . .

Favorite workout playlist consists of…
Robyn

Last book you read?
Book of Haikus by Jack Kerouac

Go to dinner spot?
The District — it’s located just below our studio.

Best way to relax after a long day?
I like to cook and take really long baths!

If you could have lunch with any woman, who would it be and why?
Suzanne Farrell — as a girl I dreamt of being her and she is the greatest ballerina I’ve ever seen.  

 

The post This Ballerina Made Her Childhood Dream Job a Reality appeared first on The Everygirl.


Source : Beth Gillette Link

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