Britta Joy Peterson grew up in Edina, Minnesota. She graduated magna cum laude from Gustavus Adolphus College in 2008 with majors in Dance and Communication Studies. While at Gustavus, Peterson danced with the Gustavus Dance Company for 4 years. She had the opportunity to work with many choreographers including: Michele Rusinko, Maria Gomez Tierney, Melissa Rolnick, Megan Flood, Joe Chavla, Mathew Janczewski, Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner, Laura Selle Virtucio, and Shapiro and Smith. She contributed choreography to four theatre productions, co-directed two dance concerts, and produced her own evening length concert “What We Are” as her capstone project. While studying abroad in New Zealand, Peterson had the opportunity to study both improvisation and Pacific Arts in depth. Peterson also combined her passions for academia and dance by with her Communication Studies degree to analyze rhetorical strategies found within dance.
Following graduation, Peterson traveled to New York City to perform in the National ACDFA concert at Barnard College in Cynthia Gutierrez-Garner’s work Vigorous Incubation. Peterson, as a part of the ensemble, received a nomination from ACDFA/Dance Magazine for Best Performer. In preparation for performance Peterson suffered a tear to her disc between her L5-S1 vertebrae. This injury sparked her passion for exercise therapy and injury prevention. Peterson attended the National Personal Training Institute and became certified in Personal Training and Nutritional Consulting.
Along with a post modern contemporary dance practice, Peterson has a long history with musical theatre and jazz dance, and has continued to pursue and develop these genres. Peterson has choreographed for Great River Educational Area Theatre, Edina High School Theatre, and Mount Olivet Summer Time Players with a long list of show credits. Along with Tony Matthes and Greg Joelson, Peterson developed the Edina Summer Dance Program that still teaches jazz dance technique and repertory to 70+ teens every summer. Peterson continues to teach semi-annual master class workshops for these organizations every winter and summer.
Currently, Peterson is in her 3rd year of graduate study in the School of Dance at Arizona State University. Pursuing her MFA in dance, she has choreographed eleven works which have been shown at over fourteen different venues across the Phoenix metropolitan area. Notably, her work Violet Flight: Pursuit of Significance was selected for gala presentation at the ACDFA Baja Region in 2012. Upon completion of her degree she will have taught ten courses for the university, ranging in jazz, postmodern contemporary, introduction to dance and yoga. Her scholarly interests include pedagogy, the creative process, somakinesis, and jazz dance. In September, the ASU Graduate College recognized Peterson as an Outstanding Graduate Student for her work within the School of Dance.
Most recently, Peterson presented her thesis work, MOVE. This work was a living product of Peterson’s research into both the choreographic process, as well as content–the multidimensionality of the body in motion, as well as movement’s ability to be an emotional catalyst. Peterson will be completing the second half of her thesis work, the written document, this spring.