Dancer makes her way onto the national stage
Barely out of high school, Bridget Derville-Teer finds herself dancing on national television.
The Beaverton teenager and student at Chehalem Valley Dance Academy in Newberg auditioned for the 15th season of the Fox reality TV show "So You Think You Can Dance" and made the cut for the main show, which airs July 9. She'll be part of the dance troupe 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 said. "It's always been the dream."
As the story goes, her mother, Holly Derville-Teer, had her baby shower at the academy studio she owned in Newberg and where she worked as an instructor. For the younger Derville-Teer, it means she was always destined to be a dancer; she was dancing soon after learning to walk.
Derville-Teer grew up in Beaverton and attended Arts and Communication Magnet School Academy, graduating in early June. She trains at ACMA for ballet and concert dance, as well as at the academy in Newberg in contemporary, hip hop and more. She has also taught dance in Hillsboro.
She said it's still hard for her to believe that just out of high school she has danced on the big stage. In reality TV time, she auditioned in New York City on June 25 and then made the "So You Think You Can Dance" academy show.
Her dance was titled "Liberated From Darkness" and her make-up, movement, music and outfit made for what the show described as "a dark dancing piece."
Said judge Mary Murphy: "Aren't you just a little powerhouse up there, holy smokes. You're going all in. You say you were liberated from darkness, but you chose a dark piece to show us. It is beautiful."
Added judge Nigel Lythgoe: "Bridget, you're going to give me nightmares, in a good way."
Derville-Teer said she only recently choreographed the piece.
"It's definitely one of my favorite dances that I've ever choreographed," she said. "I think I did pretty well (in 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 component of the show brought out the competitor in her.
"I am always a competitor and always trying to climb my way to the top," she said, adding that she enjoyed being around her new friends. "I met some of my closest friends from the academy. I talk to them every day and they're so special."
There have been people from the Portland area on reality TV shows before — "The Voice," "The Amazing Race," "The Bachelor." Add one to the list.
Derville-Teer said she likes "So You Think You Can Dance" more than other dance shows, such as "World of Dance" and "Dancing With The Stars," because of the individuality involved. Dancers perform solo. Other TV dance shows feature groups and couples.
"This whole show is all about growth," she said. "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."
Clearly, success on the show could propel her to big things — jobs, contracts, opportunities.
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 said. "Any creative recognition I can get would be amazing. But I also love being a dancer."
Indeed, nothing beats the feeling of dancing, alone, even on "So You Think You Can Dance." It's easy for her to ignore the fact that tens of thousands of people are watching on national TV and judging her.
"I work really hard and I'm really focused when I'm dancing," Derville-Teer said. "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."