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’s theatrical choreography has been seen at the Edina Performing Arts Center, the Paramount in St. Cloud, College of St. Benedict, the Ordway, Suak Rapids Performing Arts Center, Washburn High School and Lake George. Her contributions to the choreography of “West Side Story” and “Curtains” was awarded Outstanding Choreography from the Hennepin Theatre Trust’s Spotlight Awards program. Along with Tony Matthes and Greg Joelson, Peterson developed the Edina Summer Dance Program that offers jazz and musical theatre training to 70+ teens every summer. Peterson continues to teach semi-annual master class workshops for these organizations every winter and summer.
Peterson graduated summa cum laude with her MFA in Dance from Arizona State University in May of 2013. While at ASU, Peterson choreographed eleven works which were 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 graduation, Peterson was selected as the Outstanding Graduate Student by the faculty and administration of the Herberger Institute for Design and the Arts for her MFA thesis research, entitled MOVE. She is featured in a video discussing MOVE, seen here.
Peterson taught ten courses while at ASU, ranging in Jazz, Postmodern Contemporary, Introduction to Dance and Yoga. The School of Dance recognized Peterson’s dedication to her students with awards in Outstanding Achievement in Dance Education and Outstanding Achievement in Student Service. Peterson is also the recipient of the Graduate and Professional Student Association’s Teaching Excellence Award. She has also served as a Faculty Adjunct at Scottsdale Community College, and recently was a Guest Teacher for Velocity Dance Center’s Strictly Seattle dance intensive in Seattle, WA. Her scholarly interests include pedagogy, the creative process, somakinesis, and jazz dance. In September of 2012, the ASU Graduate College featured Peterson as an Outstanding Graduate Student on their website for her work within the School of Dance.
Currently, Peterson is working as Teaching Artist + the Operation Manager for Velocity Dance Center in the Seattle, WA while traveling the country to teach and make dances. Check out the Events page for upcoming shows and workshops, and the Contact page to connect via LinkedIn and Facebook.