By Laura Louise Tingo
Anna Preston has been dancing almost her entire life.
Highpoints of her career include having danced with a professional modern company that received the industry-acclaimed Bessie nomination, and represented the state of Florida, with concert dance in France. She took her own company to Dallas-Fort Worth, Texas, when it was chosen to perform at the Festival for Modern Dance and was showcased in-residence across the state.
Her experience in dance, is diverse and remarkable, with commercial dance, performance and choreography work for a host of musical theatres, churches, and community events. At Walt Disneyworld, Preston worked as a staging specialist and performer. She holds advanced level education certifications and has enjoyed teaching at Palm Beach State and Palm Beach Atlantic University.
Her accolades span years, and are many, but for Preston, artistry is more about giving than receiving. Her company, Preston Contemporary Dance Theatre, based in Stuart, offers students of every level and ability from beginner to professional, a Resident professional contemporary company and pre-school to professional training in Ballet, Pointe, Tap, Jazz, Musical Theatre, Modern, Lyrical, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Tumbling, and Aerial Arts. At the core is Preston’s leadership and innovative approach to events that exemplify the company’s tagline: Connecting passion to purpose.
“It’s exciting to be in a place where I can now be someone who is building and mentoring in the community,” said Preston, who has lived in the Treasure Coast area since 2004.
A staple in carrying out her mission, involves collaborating with members of the artist-community from the Downtown Fort Pierce corridor, Port St. Lucie, and Stuart to host events that for example ask patrons to bring food donations, in lieu of an admission charge.
“I try to create events that show how diverse and rich our art community is and can be,” she said. “People can be part of the art landscape in a way that it should be. It’s not about competitions…it’s a conversation with your audience when you are putting out artistic work.”
More area events with Preston’s ideas at work, have included bringing her company to perform at the Causes Event Festival, in the Faerie Forrest Port St. Lucie Botanical Gardens. Inspiring participation was Greg Hold’s wire faerie sculptures and Mark Barnes’ musical composition that set the ambience.
“When we hear about projects that we find interesting, we reach out, network and apply to see how we can contribute, be a part,” she said.
“Points in my career that I most proud of are the collaboration’s that have provided outreach to the community either in terms of awareness, or critical needs.”
One example includes participating in the Dance for Food Event with Terry Barber – internationally acclaimed Countertenor, and founder of the nonprofit organization – Artists for a Cause.
Preston is proud that her company represents dance educators, people who have chosen to work, live and contribute to this community. It’s one of the reasons she joined the St. Lucie Cultural Alliance.
“When you bring artists together, great things happen!”
To learn more about the Preston Contemporary Dance Theatre, visit: www.pcdancetheatre.org