#MotivatedArtists | Anna Terese Stone
Anna Terese Stone
Director of Programming, Motivated Movers
The beating heart of Motivated Movers, Anna Terese Stone is a force to be reckoned with both on and off the dance floor. While you all know her as our dedicated Director of Programming, there is so much more to her story. Take a few minutes to get to know the heart and soul of this inspiring artist. (Don't forget to sure her words with your friends and social network!)
1) Tell us a bit about your journey with movement and dance. What has inspired you as a mover/dancer in your life?
I think I could write a whole novel on this question. Dance is the reason I’m on my journey, and it is the most inspiring thing in my life. I started dancing when I was 4 and I never really looked back. I’m a naturally introverted and quiet person, but as a little girl I was shy beyond belief. Dance is how I found who I was. Dance gave me a voice, a purpose, and a passion that has been the driving force in my life and now my career. I love movement because I feel the most like myself when I’m dancing. There is nothing else in the world quite like getting lost in an incredible piece of choreography.
2) Have you encountered any obstacles or challenges in your movement/dance journey? How did these moments encourage or inspire you to continue on?
Absolutely. I have been injured a few times over the course of my career. I found out I had a bulging disc in my lower back while I was in college, I threw out my neck and had to pull myself out of a show, and I hurt my ankle at the end of my run with “Beauty and the Beast.” As a dancer, my body is my instrument, it is my job, so when something happens to it and I either can’t dance or I can’t perform to the degree I would like it’s incredibly frustrating. In all three of these scenarios I was unable to dance for periods of time and that was very difficult for me. In turn, these experiences really taught me how vital it is to care for my body. To make sure I am staying strong and that my body is warmed up before I do anything. This body is the only one I get and I would like it to work for a long time. It can be so easy to run out of time before or a show or an audition and not prepare my body the way I know it needs to be, but I work very hard to try and always have time to properly warm up so that my body can function to the best of its ability and prevent future injury. This also means making sure that I am really listening to my body and what it needs, knowing when it needs rest and that sometimes it really isn’t worth it to try and push through.
3) Have you had a favorite experience or breakthrough moment with dance/movement?
I don’t know that I have one specific experience that I would deem as my favorite, but I am so grateful for the experiences I have had because of dance. It inspired me to move to NYC, it helped me travel all over the world with “Beauty and the Beast,” which led me to meeting the love of my life, it allowed me to live and work in Niagara Falls, and it has introduced me to some of the most incredible people I have ever met. Dance has been my passion and heart for as long as I remember. I’ve found that as long as I stay true to that and continue to follow my heart, dance leads me to the most amazing experiences.
4) You recently finished an incredible run in "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" at The Merry-Go-Round Playhouse-- AND you earned your Equity card! Congrats!!! Can you share some of your favorite moments and experiences from working on this show?
Thank you so much! My time with Whorehouse was a literal dream. I feel so fortunate to have been a part of this production and to have been a part of the Merry-Go-Round Playhouse team. The Finger Lakes Music Theatre Festival cares so much about their community and the art that they put out. They bring together some fiercely talented and kind people to work for them; every single person that works there is wonderfully capable and an incredible human being. It was an absolute honor.
The process for this show was equally inspiring, challenging, and absolutely joyful. We had just under 2 weeks of rehearsal before we opened, but we had only 7 days of rehearsal before we had our first run through. It was fast and furious, but our director/choreographer, Parker Esse, cultivated the most incredible work environment. We were in fantastic hands.
One of my favorite memories from this process is also one of the more challenging things I’ve ever had to do on contract. On the first day of rehearsal, Parker told us that on Saturday afternoon, we would all be doing character improv. If there is one word that always makes me panic, it’s improv, and this was 3 days away. I really put my nose to the grindstone over the next 3 days to make sure I was prepared. When Saturday afternoon rolled around I was terrified, but as I watched everyone’s performance I was blown away by the support that existed in that room. When I mustered the courage to go myself, I was incredibly proud of the work that I had done.
When everyone had gone, Parker got up and spoke. He told us how impressed he was with all of our work and how well we all had done. He spoke about how important and equally valuable every single character is in this story, from the leads to every last ensemble member. It was the first time I had a Director speak to me like this. I was blown away by his respect and value for every single person’s voice in that room. I will never forget the energy in the room that day. There was respect, support, care, kindness, love, and a newfound drive and fire to continue attacking this show together
5) Any advice for movers out there who may be hesitant to dive in?
Every single person out there has their own Everest, their own insecurities. For me, it’s been my voice. Even the people out there that you see as the most accomplished have had to work through their own challenges, and they are still facing them now. It’s ok to be scared to dive into something new, but you can’t let your life be dictated by fear. The more you do it, the easier it will become. There are places out there for you to train and get the help you need in the way that works best for you. That’s why we have Motivated Movers and are so passionate about it. Having a safe space for artists to work on something outside of their comfort zone is absolutely vital.
6) What inspires you as an artist and as a human?
I’m someone who is incredibly driven by passion and following what’s in my heart. I am so inspired by people who love something so much that they commit to it with their whole hearts. It’s how I strive to live my life and I love when I see it in other people. We only get so much time here, so why not craft it the way you dream it and make it beautiful?
7) In addition to dance, are there other ways you like to embrace movement?
My boyfriend and I have random dance parties in our apartment all the time. It’s the best way to find laughter and joy. I know that’s still dancing, but it’s the type of movement that is accessible to everyone and it makes me so happy!
8) You've had the opportunity to travel the world in your career, both stateside and with the International tour of Beauty and the Beast. Can you share some of your favorite places with us?
Internationally, Egypt was incredible. To have the opportunity to see the pyramids-and go inside one!- was something I never thought I’d see in my lifetime. That was incredibly surreal. We also took a catamaran out on the Red Sea, went snorkeling, and watched the most breathtaking sunset I have ever seen in my life. Arguably my favorite memory to date. Stateside, I would say Savannah, GA and Niagara Falls are my two favorite. Savannah has such a wonderful charm about it, I loved exploring all of their unique shops and eating some of the best Mexican food ever. And as for Niagara Falls, you can’t really beat getting to wake up every day and look out your window as you head to work and you see the falls. They are breathtaking.
9) Anything else you'd like to share?
Everyone’s journey is unique and incredibly beautiful. As I look back over the way my journey has unfolded, I understand why so many of the moments that caused me great frustration, weren’t supposed to work out when or how I thought they should have. Comparison truly is the thief of joy, so trust what’s in your heart, follow your curiosities, and you will end up exactly where you’re supposed to.
*The next two questions are part of a new series we are developing regarding physical/mental/emotional wellness while working/on tour!*
10) How did you stay healthy during the run of your show? Do you feel as though you prioritized your physical/mental/emotional health? How so?
It can be such a hard balance to find when you’re away on contract. You are in a new place, surrounded by a brand new group of people, and you are (in my case) performing 8 times a week. For me, it really comes down to listening to what my body needs. There were days when people went out after the show or woke up and went on an adventure before the show that evening. Some days my body could handle that, but some days I had to choose rest, or I had to choose to take a day for myself so that I had time to re-set and I was able to come to the show ready to work. Carving out that time for myself was a difficult thing some days, and it’s taken me a long time to learn that it’s ok to do that for myself.
11) Any tips/tricks to maintaining health and wellness? Did you have a pre-show and/or post-show routine?
I believe that the biggest thing is learning to listen to your body and respecting what it needs. It is going to look different for every person and that is ok. For me, I made sure that I got to the theatre an hour and a half before curtain. I would take time to walk down to the lake that the theatre sat on, and reflect on how lucky I was to be in this beautiful place doing what I love. I would then proceed into the theatre to get ready, and then take the last 20-30 minutes before curtain to warm-up and make sure my body was ready for the show. I was so fortunate to be performing and living my dream in one of the most beautiful places, I wanted to make sure I was never taking that for granted.
A Little Bit More About Anna Terese Stone -
Just finished Best Little Whorehouse in Texas at Merry Go Round.
Currently, Anna is working on a new project, #BroadwayByJune, documenting her journey as an artist aspiring to Broadway. To read the first installment, Click Here.
Interested in dancing with Anna? Here are your upcoming opportunities to get inspired on the dance floor: