Tess Montoya personifies the classic New York City story: A talented young woman from a small town (Pojoaque) gets accepted to the dance program at a prestigious university located in a big Northeastern city. From there she heads to the Big Apple to pursue a career as a professional dancer.
Unsurprisingly for those who know Tess, it only takes a few years before she lands a spot dancing for the prestigious Stephen Petronio Company, renowned for its approach to American postmodern dance.
All of this is a long way from the old “pink church” in Santa Fe, where back in the day NDI New Mexico conducted its after school dance programs.
“I took dance classes after school and all day Saturday,” she says. “I was one of those kids who was there all the time. That was my spot.”
Toward the latter part of high school, she started to think seriously about applying to college as a dance major. Here too, she says, the staff at NDI New Mexico helped show her the way. “They were very supportive and knowledgeable,” she says. “They helped with every question I had, from how
to audition for college, to which schools to apply to.”
All of these lessons in life skills, combined with her dance abilities and perseverance, has enabled Tess to build a substantive career as a creative professional. She has participated in dance workshops with the Merce Cunningham Trust, and also performed in numerous dance projects in New York City. In addition to her role as Director of the Education Program with Stephen Petronio Company, she is currently the General Manager with Davalois Fearon Dance.