Featured Profile: Teresa Mitchell
I started dancing at age 3; I couldn't help but dance! My sister would get embarrassed just going to the grocery store with me, because I would chaîné down the cereal aisle or leap down the frozen food section. I loved to dance, but as a kid I never had a strong desire to perform, it wasn’t until high school that the performance bug got to me. I danced throughout high school performing at assemblies, rallies, concerts, football games, etc., but I never thought I would really dance after high school. A friend encouraged me to peruse dance as a major in college so I decided to attend CSUF. My placement assessment was terrifying… it consisted of ballet and modern…NO JAZZ! I started crying, I was just about to leave and change my major when Debra Noble, a teacher at CSUF, convinced me to stay and tough it out. Four and ½ years later I graduated but didn’t realize until after I had graduated that I really always wanted to be a modern dancer.
I started dancing with the company in October of 2008. I started dancing with them by responding to a Craig’s List ad looking for after school dance teachers. Nannette asked me to come audition for the job by taking class with the company. Of course I was again…terrified. I hadn’t taken class in almost a year and let alone with a professional dance company. I must have okay, because Erica, our rehearsal director, told me I could come back to take class any time I’d like. I jumped on the chance to dance again! I was back the next Monday and Thursday, after about a week and ½ they needed a dancer to dance in a kids show and I officially had my first performance with NBDT.
Who has been your biggest inspiration or greatest influence in choosing to have a dance career?
Debra Noble and Robin Kish. Both of these women have been amazing inspirations to me when it comes to dancing and both were some of the first modern dance teachers I had at CSUF. Debra is beautiful and graceful and never let me give up on myself even when I have had to face hard truths. Robin is amazingly strong and gave me a chance when others would not. Being able to continue to dance however is only possible because of my husband Scott. He is an amazing photographer and is supportive of everything we do!
Challenge: Time! There is never enough time to dance, cross train with Yoga/Pilates, perform, promote events, etc. I would love to have more time to devote to dancing. Reward: Performing! I love being on stage and the thrill of showing the audience all you got! There’s nothing like the butterflies you get in your stomach right before the curtain opens.
What is your favorite NBDT piece to perform and why?
Body of Water I – This is the first piece I got to have an original role. Nannette began crafting this piece four months after I joined and this was the first time, in a professional company, I got to be there for the creation for a piece. It was extremely exciting!
It’s hard to think of just one! I love all the traveling I have done with NBDT, but I think my favorite memories may just be the simple friendships that I have made while dancing with these amazing dancers. Going to baby showers, wedding showers, eating birthday cake, and performing at three weddings in the last two years. Yeah, those are some of my favorite memories.
What do you look forward to in the coming season?
Ojai! Everyone in Ojai always makes us feel so welcome and appreciated. There is nothing like performing for an audience that is as excited to see you as you are to perform for them.