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My Routine | Theresa Bautista, dancer, choreographer and teacher


Theresa Bautista has danced professionally, created works for various organizations, including the Center for Women and Families and the University of Kentucky Dance Ensemble, and taught at several schools and the Governor’s School for the Arts. In 2006, she became a co-producer of Moving Collective, an organization that produces programs of original dance by regional artists.

How old were you when you took your first dance class?

Age 8 at Weber School of Dance in Jeffersonville, Ind. It was a combo class of tap and ballet. But the course of my dance training and focus changed when I went to study in the summers at the University of Louisville Dance Academy.

What has motivated you to build a career in dance?

I never mapped out a dance career, and sometimes feel where I am today has been a series of luck and chance circumstances. After graduating from college with a biology degree, I didn’t feel fulfilled or as passionate about genetics and medicine as I did about dance. It is my belief that I can never stop learning and never stop growing as an artist and educator, and that is what probably drives me the most. I love the successes I’ve had, but always feel I can do better. I appreciate my failures more because that’s what keeps me grounded and pushes me to evaluate, find direction and mature. Doing the same thing over and over again can makes things dull, so I’m always ready for a new challenge, no matter how daunting it may seem. But I’ve also had loads of encouragement for everything I’ve done from family, friends, mentors, other artists and even students.

How many hours do you dance and teach in a typical week?

Between teaching, professional development and rehearsals, I’m in a studio or theater between 35 and 40 hours each week. That doesn’t include additional private lessons and guest teaching I do several times a month. You can also find me working in a coffeehouse between these things answering emails, doing administrative work or creating lesson plans and grading papers.

What are the most important experiences that have prepared you for what you are doing today?

Nancy Tehan, who was the director of Courtney Weber School of Dance from 1995-2001, took me on as her assistant director. This amazing woman shared not only her love for dance, but her remarkable acumen in business matters. The skills she taught me has made a lot of what I do for Moving Collective a no-brainer.

Also Lynn Slaughter and Alan Lommasson, former co-directors of Art! Art! Barking Dog Dance Company, were two important mentors. Lynn in particular kept saying to me, “You could really do this!” They helped developed my technical and performing skills as well as taught me tools for choreography. I don’t know if I would have explored modern dance as much as I have without Alan and Lynn.

How would you like to see Moving Collective evolve?

Moving Collective has done well for the last seven years but hasn’t changed much. I’m no longer content with that. We just got our 501-C3 (nonprofit) status, which opens doors for growth. I know dancers and choreographers looking to do more. We need to stay true to the organization’s roots, but do more. I think it is time to create a corps company of dancers, provide concerts in a season and tour or collaborate with other artists. Maybe this will happen with Moving Collective or could be part of another new project I take on.

Moving Collective presents a concert of dance with work by eight choreographers at 8 p.m., Saturday, at the Ursuline Arts Center, 3114 Lexington Road. For more information, call or

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