You bet she can dance! Hillsboro dance teacher to appear on FOX
As a dancer, Bridget Derville-Teer is used to the spotlight, but these days the Hillsboro dance teacher is finding herself on a national stage.
Barely out of high school, Derville-Teer, 18, auditioned for the 15th season of the award-winning FOX reality TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" and made the cut for the main show, which starts Monday, July 9.
She'll be part of the Dance Academy and, if she impresses during two shows' worth at the academy, she'll be selected for the live shows.
At this point, it's not a stretch to say that Derville-Teer is living the dream and is right where she wants to be at age 18.
"I've wanted to be a part of the show for years. I've been watching it literally since I've been born," she says. "It's always been the dream."
Derville-Teer has been dancing since before she was born. As the story goes, her mother, Holly Derville-Teer, hosted her baby shower at the dance studio in Newberg she owned. Derville-Teer she was destined to be a dancer.
Derville-Teer, who teaches hip-hop and contemporary dance at Hillsboro Dance Center, graduated from Beaverton's Arts and Communication Magnet School Academy only two weeks ago.
It's still hard for her to believe that just out of high school she has danced on such a big stage. She auditioned in New York City in a special episode of the show which aired June 25, and then made the "So You Think You Can Dance" academy show, where final contestants will be selected.
Show writers called Derville-Teer a "Unique talent, ready to deliver."
"Bridget is the definition of girl power," producers tweeted after the episode aired.
On the June 25 episode, Derville-Teer said she initially tried to conform to what she called "the dancer stereotype," before breaking out into her own style of dance.
"I tried to conform to what most dancers were like," she told host Cat Deeley. "I had to fit this persona that wasn't me. I went crazy."
At age 16, she developed an eating disorder, she said. People warned her to give up dance forever.
Instead, she said, dance helped her find herself again.
"I did get better and then I wanted to be healthy," she said. "I don't know what I'd be like if I didn't have dance to push me to get better."
With her parents in the audience, she performed, a self-choreographed routine titled "Liberated From Darkness" was enough to secure her a shot at the competition.
"You're going to give me nightmares, in a good way," said Nigel Lythgoe, the show's creator and judge. "…You gave out exactly what you wanted and I took it in. That's the best thing you can ask from any performer."
Judge Mary Murphy agreed.
"You're going all in. You say you were liberated from darkness, but you chose a dark piece to show us. It is beautiful."
Derville-Teer says she only recently choreographed the piece.
"It's definitely one of my favorite dances that I've ever choreographed," she says. "I think I did pretty well (during the audition). I try not to compare myself to everybody else, as every audition is special and different. I was proud of myself after it."
The Dance Academy brings out the competitor in her — "I am always a competitor and always trying to climb my way to the top," she says — but Derville-Teer also enjoyed being around her new friends.
"I met some of my closest friends from the academy," she says. "I talk to them every day and they're so special."
Derville-Teer says she likes "So You Think You Can Dance" better than other dance shows, such as "World of Dance" and "Dancing with the Stars," because of the individuality involved. Dancers perform solo.
"This whole show is all about growth," she says. "It's really special where you have a show where you watch people get stronger every week. It's revealing and special.
"I watch a lot of dance shows and attend a lot of dance events. I try to get all over the scene. 'So You Think You Can Dance' has been my dream forever."
Success on the show could propel her to big things — jobs, contracts, opportunities. Former "Dance" runner up Stephen "Twitch" Boss has been featured on several films and television shows, including a regular stint on "The Ellen Degeneres Show" since 2014.
Derville-Teer plans to move to New York next year. She wants to become a choreographer.
"To the best of my abilities I want to show that," she says. "Any creative recognition I can get would be amazing. But I also love being a dancer."
Derville-Teer has already raked up quite a CV. At age 16 she won the national award for choreography during the 2016 Spotlight Dance Cup.
But nothing beats the feeling of dancing, whether she's alone or on "So You Think You Can Dance." It's easy for her to ignore the fact that people are watching on national TV.
"I work really hard and I'm really focused when I'm dancing," Derville-Teer says. "The whole time when I'm dancing solo I'm thinking of absolutely everything — correcting, fixing, trying not to do crazy things. There's no time to think about people watching."
Geoff Pursinger contributed to this report