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Rising Stars: Meet Terrence Pride

Today we’d like to introduce you to Terrence Pride.

Hi Terrence, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
My story begins in Quincy, FL, a small town west of Tallahassee, FL, where I grew up in a Pentecostal household with my Grandmother at the foundation. Although my childhood wasn’t easy, I find myself forever grateful that I never knew of the hardships we may have endured. I first started dancing as entertainment for my parent’s friends and family at cookouts and gatherings. I was influenced greatly by the music videos of my time as well as by my older brother. In junior high school, I became more active taking up interest inspired by my older brother.  Running track, basketball, and eventually, the arts- marching band and chorus. I excelled in all these things from junior high up until high school graduation. By my sophomore year in high school, I could play trumpet, tuba, baritone, and trombone. It was in the band where my passion for dance began to take root and grow. Choreographing halftime routines and assisting with auxiliary, I grew more and more interested in dance. I enrolled in dance and drama classes at the new East Gadsden High where I met Ana Alise who taught jazz, ballet, hip-hop, salsa, tap, etc. Ana is also responsible for my community theater debut in the Quincy Music Theatre production of Gypsy in 2004.

Sharing a stage with training professionals from Florida State University. I worked hard and diligently throughout high school to get scholarships to institutions for dance; however, I worked my way through undergrad and decided to pursue my degree in Theater Performance at Florida A&M University where I graduated in Spring 2016. I have been teaching dance and choreography in multiple capacities since my high school graduation. Being paid to choreograph pageant routines and many church productions, I quickly learned that I could make a living dancing and teaching. My journey has been “walking through one door and three more doors open”. With every job, I gained more experience, expanded my network, and inspired hundreds of young artists along the way. After over ten years of building arts programs in urban neighborhoods, producing my own shows, traveling throughout Florida teaching at places like Florida Studio Theater, Sarasota Florida, Adrienne Arsht Center in Miami, FL, and Coral Spring Center for the Arts I took a job with Carnival Cruise Line entertainment, this is what brought me to South Florida. Through my time of teaching and performing, I became an advocate for the arts in education. Creating opportunities for youth in underserved communities to gain access to high-quality arts education and training.   After completing my Master’s of Science in Urban Education while still dancing professionally with Peter London Global Dance company, I recall my humble beginnings where I volunteered my time to show and prove my work ethic and the value I had to add to establishing culture capital within our communities in South Florida.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
No journey to greatness comes without its trials and tribulations. I personally wouldn’t be who I am had it not been for the obstacles I’ve overcome. Working as a performer is difficult, everything is subjective to the person in charge. I have missed many amazing opportunities due to mistakes that I’ve made in my past. From choosing the wrong friends to getting romantically involved with toxic people. An artist of all people must maintain a sense of mental and emotional stability. I use my mind and body to work daily and thus I had to create routines of self-care and mindfulness. During a major production of Black Nativity in 2015, my father passed away. Seven months later, I lost my grandmother to cancer. Her death coupled with the passing of my father weighed on me heavily. I was one of those people who didn’t believe in therapy, I grew to understand that death is a part of life and grief has no time limit. Maturing is a complex thing; I endured a lot on my own without the assistant or mental support of my family. But I prayed and meditated and danced and through my theater training, I learned to be vulnerable. People think I am wise beyond my years. I just know what I’ve been through and that eventually, we all find a soft place to land. And it’s our experiences that make us great artists. Life became easier when I stopped thinking I had to make things happen alone and started accepting the help of others. Patdro Harris, Taniesha Cidel, Luther Wells, Dr. Iris Wilson, Jairo Ontiveros, and Dr. DeOnte Brown are all mentors of mine, friends, who’ve held my hand and walked me through one of those doors to success. I also believe the thing that has made this life easier is the support of my mother Melissa Wooten. So many of my male students have parents disapproving of males being dancers or actors. My mother has always celebrated my zeal to express myself in all of the arts.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
In the professional world, I go by TM Pride, the definitive artist. I’m a graduate of Florida A&M University in Theatre Performance and Dance. My body of work includes over 60 pieces of choreographed works, including musicals and dance recitals. I’m a jack of all trades, directing and performing in plays such as Black Nativity, The Wiz, and Blues for an Alabama Sky. I’ve designed and constructed costumes for several production big and small. I’ve been in three films, Berry Jenkins’ The Underground Railroad, Misha Green’s, LoveCraft Country and First Ladys on Showtime.  My career as a professional teaching artist began in 2012 as the director of the Arts program for 21st Century Fun2Learn camp for four years in Gadsden County, FL. I served as director of the theatre cap for Salvation Army Joan KROC, Atlanta, GA, and resident choreographer for Florida Studio Theatre in Sarasota, FL. From 2017-2019 I was privileged to be the director of the dance and theatre magnet at Apalachee Tapestry Magnet School of the Arts producing two Disney productions, Beauty and the Beast Jr. and Aladdin Jr. It was in 2017, I began creating and incorporating art integrated lessons in my teaching to deepen and influence practical learning for K-3rd grade students and teachers.

Just recently, I returned to the performance stage with the Carnival Cruise line sailing the seas throughout Asia and Australia. Since my move to South Florida, I’ve worked as the Associate Director for the Seminole Theatre in Homestead, FL and currently serving as a panel member for Miami Dade Community Grants. A proud member of the Broward County New Leaders Council, The Young Professional Network of Broward County Urban League, and a host of other organizations supporting and disseminating the arts to urban communities. Many praise me for my passion for the arts and my rapport with my students who teach me as I teach them. As a teacher, I’m only as good as my student and when we reach that level of collaboration then greater things happen and lives are changed. Recently I have become more astute in publishing articles in reference to diverse and inclusive practices for arts organizations, educational journals for the effects of arts-integrated learning, etc.  I’ll be presenting at the Southeastern Theatre Conference in the Spring of 2022. I consider myself an advocate for arts in education as well as diversity and equity within educational systems at large. I have devoted four years to the Nationally awarded AileyCamp Miami and to teaching at Dillard Center for the Arts in Ft. Lauderdale, FL. As a master teaching artist, I’ve developed a curriculum for the classroom teacher using arts-integrated methods focusing on S.T.E.M subjects. My hope is to publish my first workbook of A.I. lessons for primary-level educators this year.

What matters most to you?
What matters most to me is that I establish a legacy for black and brown boys and girls that will grant them multiple avenues to achieve prosperity in all things. I often wonder why buildings and streets are dedicated to the people they are named after. I then drew the conclusion I wanted to be one of those people. Not from some large financial contribution but from an inherited impact and influence I’ve had on my community and its people.

Contact Info:

Image Credits
BlackNoble Productions & Keilan Scott Photos

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