Originally from Saratoga Springs, New York, Theresa Farrell trained at Ballet Regent under the late Michael Steele who was a soloist under Balanchine at The New York City Ballet. Theresa spent summers at American Ballet Theatre, the Joffrey School of Ballet, New York State Summer School of the Arts, Studio Maestro, and Dance Theatre of Harlem. She is a high school graduate of the North Carolina School of the Arts School of Dance.
After graduation, she went on to co-found American Contemporary Ballet and served as the company’s Executive Director from 2010-2020 while continuing to dance in the company. Theresa oversaw development, business operations, special events, and community outreach. She served as lead fundraiser for the company growing ACB from two dancers with a budget of $80k in 2011 to a company of twenty dancers, seventy performances and a budget of $1.2M in 2020 (pre-pandemic season shut down). ACB is the only ballet company in Los Angeles that performs exclusively to live music, stages an immersive Nutcracker, and in 2017 ACB commissioned an original score by the late Pulitzer prize winning composer Charles Wuorinen.
Stage and Cinema called ACB “an enterprise which promises to be Los Angeles’ homegrown world-class ballet company,” while LA Weekly noted, “Starting a ballet company in L.A. has never been easy, but there’s much to admire about how American Contemporary Ballet has approached that task.” Farrell shared her story in an Entity magazine profile “From Ballerina to Boss” which said, “…it’s a dream come true for Theresa Farrell to have chased her goals and gained immense success while doing it.”.
In its review of ACB’s immersive The Nutcracker Suite for which she originated the role of Tea, No Proscenium noted “Farrell spends a significant portion of her solo on the toes of one foot, making something that must be incredibly difficult look like a walk in the park. (It’s one of those things that’s so impressive you can’t help but laugh.)”
Of her solo in ACB’s Adamiana the Los Angeles Times praised her “rhythm and attack,”. A Vice “Fuel” segment that chronicled a day in the life of Theresa and received over 10 million views, Vice stated, “Behind the elegance of a ballet dancer, Theresa Farrell is an athlete to the core.”
Farrell performed the Coulante fairy in a staging from the original notation by Doug Fullington of the Pacific Northwest Ballet. Of this performance Stage and Cinema said, “…Theresa Farrell’s follow-up string routine full of eager gallops and wide smiles. Farrell was Coulante, Fleur de farine and provided Aurora with the gift of dance.”
KCET said “Virtually a poster girl for Balanchine, whose credo was, ‘Ballet is woman’, Farrell eats, drinks and sleeps dance.” Her Balanchine repertoire includes selections from Union Jack, Raymonda Variations, Who Cares, Apollo, and Chaconne. Farrell has been coached by Suki Schorer author of Balanchine Technique and Balanchine Trust Repetiteur Zippora Karz.
Over numerous seasons Farrell danced Cyd Charisse’s role from Dancing in the Dark from The Band Wagon, of which Los Angeles Magazine said, “…Theresa projects Charisse’s cool reserve.” And she was profiled in a cover story for DT News.
For Google’s virtual 2020 Holiday Party “Festivus” Farrell gave a talk titled Re-engaging Motivation & Living a More Creative Life as well as choreographed an original rendition of Candy Cane from The Nutcracker which she both performed and taught to children in an interactive dance along. Farrell performed solo in Dita von Teese’s 2018 New Year’s Eve Gala at The Orpheum Theater. She then, to great acclaim both choreographed and performed four ensemble pieces for Dita von Teese’s 2019 New Year’s Eve Gala at The Orpheum. Farrell has also performed with the Los Angeles Opera, with ACB at the Houston Grand Opera’s 2018 Opera Ball, solo for an educational event with Grammy winning, international violinist Hilary Hahn at the Skaneateles Music Festival.
Theresa 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, Fountainbleau Hotels, BSI Bank, FX’s American Horror Story, Beatles’ Rock Band, Virgin Mobile, Joe’s Jeans, Nux Active, LORAC Cosmetics, M Stevens Dancewear, and more. Theresa has been the subject for numerous original paintings by artist Kenton Nelson.
Farrell spearheaded and walked in a runway show for designer Cynthia Rowley in partnership with the Dr. Seuss Foundation. She choreographed Kerisma’s 10th anniversary fashion shoot and is the host of the brand’s show Kozy in Kerisma.
Farrell’s TikTok tutorial videos have received millions of views and she has been a guest speaker for the Arts Leadership program at the University of Southern California, UCLA Anderson Women, and gives talks and master classes for area schools and arts organizations.