A Dancer's Journey – Teresa Coulter

Teresa Coulter first came to the realization that she wanted to be a professional dancer when she was 12 years old. “In seventh grade, I specifically remember thinking that dancing was the only thing I really wanted to do,” she says. “I decided right then to work harder than ever to make that happen.”

ABOVE: Teresa pauses at the barre during a break between rehearsals for American Midwest Ballet's spring 2012 production of 'Momentum'.

During her senior year at Marian High School in Omaha, Teresa spent her time juggling her school work with dance training at Motion 41 Dance and rehearsals with American Midwest Ballet’s second company, of which she is a founding member.
“I survived it all with lots of caffeine and a little sleep,” Teresa jokes. “Sometimes you have to make sacrifices for what matters. School came pretty easily for me, but in my mind, dance was always the first priority.”
ABOVE from left to right: Teresa dancing the lead in Erika Overturff''s 'Americano' (2012); in Matthew Carter's 'Bacchanale Variations' (2012); as Miss May in Harrison McEldowney's 'Swing Swing Swing!' (2010)

Teresa credits her second company training at American Midwest Ballet II (BNII) with helping her transition to her current life in the company. “As a member of the second company, I had many opportunities to dance in ballet productions and work with the company members and director. This definitely gave me a leg up when I went to auditions. I was already familiar with what company life was like to an extent.”
ABOVE: Teresa (2nd row, left) and fellow founding members of American Midwest Ballet II (2010)

She enthusiastically recommends BNII to any serious dancer. “Being in the second company taught me that attending rehearsals isn’t only important, but essential to putting on a good show,” according to Teresa. “If any of the BNII dancers, including myself, were missing, it wasn’t even worth it to have rehearsal. Dance is still all about teamwork.”
Although she was able to attend a traditional high school, Teresa doesn’t necessarily consider hers a traditional experience. “I didn’t participate in too many activities because dance or rehearsals interfered, but I made an effort to go to proms and homecomings and a few football games,” she says. “I loved my high school days and wouldn’t trade them for anything.”
For a time, Teresa seriously considered going away to a residency program for her ballet training, but “I am glad I never did,” she says. I don’t know that I would have developed the same passion I now have for dance if I didn’t have to constantly choose between dance and something else. I feel more accomplished for having gone to high school with my friends while pursuing my dream at the same time.”
ABOVE: From recitals to rehearsals.

Before graduating high school in 2011, Teresa received one other job offer for a trainee position in Nevada but decided to accept an apprenticeship with American Midwest Ballet instead. “I love this city and the small yet incredibly professional atmosphere at American Midwest Ballet,” says Teresa.
So she struck out on her own, found a new place to live and went to work at living her dream. Her parents completely support her choices, according to Teresa. “They know dance makes me happy — and they are more than happy that I am in Omaha so they can attend every show.”
“During the ballet season I wake up around 8 a.m., head to the studio and take company class to warm up,” says Teresa. “We usually have a small break, then rehearsals from about 11:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. if it is not a production week. Then I go to my other job at a coffee shop from 6 p.m. until 11p.m. or midnight — and then I do it all again the next day!”

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