Dance Feature: TURNING POINTE: THE BALLET DANCER’S ROADMAP TO AUDITIONING SUCCESSFULLY (Theresa Farrell)

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by Tony Frankel on November 17, 2020

in Dance

MAKING HER POINTE

Serious ballet dancers who are ready to get to the next level, here’s your chance to shine. The lovely Theresa Farrell, who as executive director and principal dancer of American Contemporary Ballet I have been observing for ten years, is the embodiment of professionalism, hard work, and glorious belief in ballet. Now, Ballerina and Choreographer Theresa Farrell will launch a two-month-long virtual workshop on December 6, 2020 — TURNING POINTE: The Ballet Dancer’s Roadmap to Auditioning Successfully.

I love how she says that ballet has never been easy and it just got harder. The art of dance is facing profound uncertainty as companies cancel seasons and theatres remain closed. In a time when we all find it difficult to remain motivated, and feeling disconnected and overwhelmed by the virtual world, young dancers must navigate the most stressful part of their career — auditions — in a masked and virtual pandemic world.  How does a young dancer not lose hope, motivation & technical ground at a pivotal point in their development?

But this isn’t only for younger dancers. TURNING POINTE takes into account the whole dancer, creating innovative ways for new technical development, finding motivation, overcoming rejection, and presenting at your best in uncertain times.

Here are a few things dancers will do in this innovative course:

Participate in mock auditions. Farrell takes on different teaching styles and personas to create an experience of tension similar to the audition room so dancers get to constructively work through that very specific stress. Dancers receive individual feedback on their performance, a specially tailored plan for improvement and the opportunity for another try — with Farrell again switching up the script on them so they learn to navigate uncertainty!

Participate in a systematized process that guides dancers through the creation of their audition materials, which includes lectures on best lighting and camera angles, selecting choreography, speaking to the camera, and even a dress rehearsal shoot that gets individually reviewed.

Receive one-on-one coaching sessions to create a program of daily work to help dancers identify and make major strides on their three biggest technical hurdles.

Engage in conversations and coaching on how to manage the negative self-talk, uncertainty, and fear that so often occurs when we are being judged.

“I was helping a thirteen year old dancer prepare audition materials for summer intensives. As I began organizing all the different submission requirements, guiding her on how to present her home studio and on what choreography to include, I realized I was feeling overwhelmed. I have been a professional dancer for seventeen years, and a company director for ten, and I was having difficulty juggling all these elements!” said Farrell. ”I was also having conversations with her on how to overcome self doubt and stay motivated. I then realized so many young dancers are in this same situation and need guidance through this critical juncture. I’m so excited to launch Turning Pointe, and make this process a moment of growth and exploration for young dancers.”

Theresa co-founded ACB in Los Angeles serving as its Executive Director from 2010-2020 while also dancing in the company, performing approximately seventy shows per season with repertory ranging from new works to Balanchine, Astaire & Petipa.

Theresa adjudicated company auditions held aningnually at The School of American Ballet in NYC and at ACB’s studios in LA, in addition to video submissions. She also oversaw children’s auditions for The Nutcracker, as well as Balanchine’s Mozartiana and other special performances.

Farrell regularly taught ACB company class, lead corps de ballet rehearsals, and oversaw dress rehearsals & performance footage.

As a dancer, Theresa’s repertoire includes the work of Balanche, Astaire, and Petipa, and she created numerous principal roles in several original ballets with ACB. Theresa also performed with the Los Angeles Opera, for the Houston Grand Opera Ball, and has appeared as a dancer on television in Glee and House, as well as in commercials and print campaigns for Facebook, Fruit of the Loom, AT&T, Virgin Mobile, Joe’s Jeans, and many more.

Theresa’s ballet TikTok tutorials have received millions of views. Theresa has been a guest speaker for the Arts Leadership program at the University of Southern California, UCLA Anderson Women, and has spoken and taught master classes for various schools and arts organizations in LA.ll as in commercials and print campaigns for Facebook, Fruit of the Loom, AT&T, Virgin Mobile, Joe’s Jeans, and many more.

photos courtesy of Theresa Farrell

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