Getting to know Our Choreographers: TereLyn Jones

This week, we are introducing you to 2019-20 Choreographer, TereLyn Jones, and providing you an ‘Inside Look at what’s behind her artistry! Get to know TereLyn:

“I originally choreographed this work at Howard University as a concert dance piece. Now that I’m revisiting the piece, I’m taking a completely different approach.”

– Terelyn Jones

DC: TereLyn, you are an Atlanta native, so tell us a little bit about your career path, your dance training…how did you get to where you are today?

TJ: I attended Tri- Cities High School and danced in the program training under Dawn Axam (modern), Dianne Sales (Ballet), Rosco Sales (Modern-Horton). However, I began taking the art form seriously when I went to Howard University. While at Howard University, I trained with industry giants and was privileged to have an internship each summer with Ronald K. Brown, Garth Fagan, etc. It was a lot of hard work.

Additionally, my advisor at Howard, Dr. Sherrill Berryman-Johnson, taught the importance of cognitive, physical and mental development. She was extremely tough and taught me the skills needed to thrive in the world as an artist: to take accountability and responsibility of the work that needs to be done.

Immediately after graduating, I received a contract to Garth Fagan Dance Company. I danced and toured with the company for 2.5 years. I was privileged to do commercial work dancing with Anthony Hamilton and appearances on popular television networks such at VH1 and Lifetime. I also worked in Germany, performing Live with Disney’s Tarzan.  Here in the metro area, I have performed with the Aurora Theatre and have choreographed musicals (Zombie Prom and Madeline Christmas Musical) for professional theatre companies. I’ve also choreographed for BFA dance programs such as Alabama State University and Howard University. 

DC: How would you describe your work and your process?

TJ: My process is to put together phrases sometimes in silence…or I might choose a completely different song. Sometimes it’s a combination that I may have taught in a class months ago.  Most of the time I have a lot of different sections and piece it together like a puzzle. I do this so that I can see which dancers are best at what movements and how I can highlight their strengths. 

TereLyn in rehearsal with her dancers

DC: What are you choreographing for Dance Canvas?

TJ: I’m choreographing a piece called Prisoners of Time. It was inspired by an interview done by Neil DeGrasse Tyson, an African American astrophysicist. I originally choreographed this work at Howard University as a concert dance piece. Now that I’m revisiting the piece, I’m taking a completely different approach. Although the piece is rooted in modern, contemporary and house choreography, it has a more theatrical feel and I’m excited. 

DC: Why did you decide to apply for the Choreographer Career Development Initiative? 

TJ: I originally thought Dance Canvas was for emerging choreographers. However, the development initiative is a good way to hone in on the work and have support of the team to be sure there’s clarity in your voice. Clarity in what I’m trying to say in my choreography. I also felt that it would be a great platform to present work and to network. 

DC: Tell us a fun fact about you

TJ: My Birthday is February 29th, a leap day. I only receive an actual birthday every four years. When I was younger I used to celebrate it on the 28th and the 1st and add both days up to equal 29. Now, that I’m older, I just celebrate it whatever day I feel that year. This year, the 29th actually comes! 

DC: Is there anything else you would like audiences to know about TereLyn the artist, the person, the dancer?

Photography by ShocPhoto

How did I get where I am today? I believe it was ordained by God. It is my Faith in Yeshua (Christ) that has brought me this far. It is not by my strength alone, for I am incapable to walk this journey without God. Phillipians 4:13.

I also have extremely supportive parents, Terry Jones, and Sandra Brown who have always taught me to FIGHT and put my “game face on,” go after what I want! There’s no such thing as failing, its not an option. My dance friends who have become family are inspirations to me, and the community who have been very supportive in my journey always make my heart smile. It’s always good to have iron in your corner to keep you sharp, for that I would like to say thank you God, Mom, Dad, Family, Anthony, my friends and community, Thank you ALL!     -“a luta continuum”, -Dr. Johnson, peace and blessings be upon her soul. 

Thank you for reading! We’re so excited to see TereLyn’s work come to life on stage! Prisoners of Time will premiere at Dance Canvas’ 2020 Performance Series – Ferst Center March 20th and 21st!

Get your tickets now by clicking here!

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