“Be Confident. There’s a difference between pride and confidence in your skills and abilities. Being confident in what you are good at and what you know and yet be humble to learn new things. I had to learn to not let anyone degrade my value or the value of my work.”
I had the pleasure of interviewing, Noelle Rose Andressen. Noelle is a professional contemporary ballet dancer; 30 Year Seasoned Performer and Artistic Director of Rubans Rouges Dance celebrating its 10th year January 2019. She is a seasoned author of the acclaimed: DanceWarrior Book Series; Recipient of Women in Film EMA Media Award; Independent filmmaker; Emmy nominated writer-producer; Nominated Performance Artist of the Year. Noelle has been featured on ABC’s Modern Family; GLAAD Awards; featured in an international Associated Press story subject matter: sexual abuse; Advocate and Activist for Women’s Rights & Empowerment; Cancer Research and Public Speaker.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! What is your “backstory”?
I have a true underdog-Cinderella-fighter story as grew up back east from a modest family and achieved my dreams by fighting hard for them. I battled breast cancer and won. I also overcame being molested as a child. This is how I earned my nickname: DanceWarrior. I turned my tragedy into triumph and now I’m able to help others in return by sharing my story via the dance arts.
Can you share the funniest or most interesting story that happened to you since you started your company?
The most interesting story/stories that has happened since I started my company was how I often found myself in the most amazing places with great people who most often were artists themselves. I had to fight my way through many challenges. One was restoring my body after surviving breast cancer. The treatment was very expensive and we had no insurance at that time. We had sold our home to save my life.
At that point I had nothing accept a broken body, broken heart, just plain broke. After my cancer treatment I had decided to go back into dancing which required months of hardcore re-training. I had a ballet instructor who loved Lois Greenfield photography. She would hang Lois’s calendars up in the studio and I loved the beauty and uniqueness of how she captured the dancers in the photos. I wanted to work with this photographer one day but felt it was out of reach like a dream. However, 8 years later I found myself being photographed by Lois in 2016. One of the photographs we selected from the shoot is one of the covers for my books: DanceWarrior Red Ribbons — Shattered Innocence. This book tells my tale of how my grandfather raped me and how I overcame it through dance and creating performance dances about my experience. This has helped others heal their pasts. I share how I forgave my grandfather and moved forward with my life: healthy, healed, and whole.
What do you think makes your company stand out?
My company Rubans Rouges Dance is very diverse. It not only is diverse culturally, but we are inclusive with all backgrounds, shapes, ages (17–77), disabilities, faiths, races, gender identities, all of it like a beautiful rainbow.
Can you share a story?
While I was rehabilitating and re-training my body I met an older woman, at that time she was just cresting her 70s. We became friends and she began dancing in my company professionally. She taught me a lot about defying age and that women can break through the age stereotypes. She has performed alongside of me on some of the grandest stages and venues. She also showed me that life isn’t over after the halfway mark and that if you had a rough start in life, you can have a better second act.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are?
As far as dance, I have a few people who have remained faithful to me and my process. For the moment I need to keep this very close to my heart, they know who they are, but perhaps a butterfly can whisper their names on the wind. However, as far as the entertainment industry, I am grateful for Mr. Aaron Spelling. While he is sadly gone, I learned so much from him.
Can you share a story?
I’ll always remember Mr. Spelling encouraging me to never give up. A bunch of us from the office, when it was on the then Warner Lot off Formosa, had attended the ABT Gala. He spoke to me and my then fiancé about baseball and teased me a bit about how he wanted to just put cameras on me (this was way before reality TV — the man was a genius) and follow me. He thought I had that “it” quality and thought I should go into acting. When I have time, I do that as well. He always treated me with respect. He greatly encouraged me to not give up and I learned so much from him just by being perceptive. He was very shrewd.
Are you working on any exciting projects now?
Yes! We have a triumphant dance concert premiering in Manhattan, NYC this Fall Season. It celebrates the theme of: Strong Women and will feature “RED RIBBONS” and “Coeur de Verre” and few other of my company’s most renown powerful-women dance pieces in our “Classic Repertoire”. We are also gearing up for “Awakenings & Beginnings International Dance Festival 2019” in Los Angeles and I have an additional book in the DanceWarrior Series soon to be released: “Secrets & The Silent Rose”.
How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?
While my company is predominantly entertainment, we also mix in a message with our performances. The first time I realized I had something powerful and life changing was in 2008 when I first performed “RED RIBBONS”. After my dancers and I performed this dance about how I overcame the rape inflicted upon me as a child by my grandfather, a woman who I didn’t know came up to me in tears. She fell into my arms and said, “Thank you for sharing in dance/movement what I couldn’t with words.” We embraced. Then I knew it had happened to her too. That was almost 10 years ago and I have kept my hands to the plow and not looked back. We have changed lives with this dance and many others covering subject matter that helps heal people’s pasts so they can have a fruitful and whole future.
Do you have a favorite book that made a deep impact on your life? “.
Desi Arnaz and Lucille Ball both wrote books separately. Desi’s “A Book” and Lucille’s “Love Lucie” which was released after her passing have deeply moved me.
Can you share a story?
Each of their books contains their own point of view of the lives they shared together and also their time apart. This showed me how perspective and point of view works. They’re also amazing people who had great business insight and incredible creative talent. When I get overwhelmed, I revisit their pages and read how they overcame their hurdles. Inspiring yet truthful words.
What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started my company” and why. Please share a story or example for each.
1. Be Wise. Be careful who you share your truth with for not all people who smile at you are your friends. I once had someone I trusted share private company information and then made matters worse by lying about it. We finally caught the person in action and have held them publicly accountable. We now have confidentiality clauses and non-disclosure documents that all staff and dancers must sign.
2. Be Confident. There’s a difference between pride and confidence in your skills and abilities. Being confident in what you are good at and what you know and yet be humble to learn new things. I had to learn to not let anyone degrade my value or the value of my work. During a Production Negotiation Meeting we had to discuss budget and what I wanted my company to get paid. The other party attempted to degrade my work which my Board and I knew was excellent. They compared my work as being substandard to a colleague even though we knew it wasn’t. It was work that already had critical acclaim and had proven to be an audience favorite. We stood our ground, spoke up, showed how they were being unprofessional, and didn’t allow them to gas light us. They eventually stood corrected and apologized and we were able to work a good deal that all were pleased with.
3. Be Humble. While we were getting my company up and running, I was still training. My body was completely different after cancer. I wanted to be able to physically do everything that I used to be able to do pre-cancer. I had to give myself time to heal and gain back the strength and flexibility. I had to be teachable which was very challenging. One time I just couldn’t perform a certain move correctly. I could before cancer but couldn’t at that time. My instructor said to not be so hard on myself; I had to let her help me. I learned to swallow my pride and apologize. Through humility and further hard work I can now perform a very technically difficult move and it is a signature move that is a trademark of our company repertoire.
4. Be Strong. People either love your success or resent it. Unfortunately, we have found that not all people will be happy when you seemingly surpass them and can get competitive or insecure. My grandmother would often remind me: “Don’t let anyone dim your light because it shines on other’s mediocrity.” This helped greatly when my company started to reach the next level. We had a relationship with another company who was using us and/or our products as “their” commodity to negotiate with others. They found out who we worked with, our other connections, and attempted to push us down by reaching out to them. We were successful in managing this issue but we all had to be strong and stand up against unethical business practices of these others. Now we implemented a safeguard on our website of new policies and ethics in which no one can use our name as an endorsement without our Board putting it in writing. No one can circumvent our hard work building our professional relationships because we implemented a procedure that protects all involved.
5. Be Patient. Things don’t generally come to fruition in a blink of an eye. It takes time to get things going. We as humans tend to like progression to happen quickly and keep doing things. Waiting with patience is an action. When my company first started I wanted performance opportunities every weekend, but that just isn’t the reality. We all had to work hard promoting our brand, reach out to people and connect with our audience. Eventually, it got to the point where we worked so diligently that it paid off that we had to turn some things down which resulted in our growth.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might see this. :-)
I’ve been very fortunate to have had the access and opportunities I’ve had thus far in my life. At times I cannot explain how certain things occur; it seems almost magical at times. Essentially it is hard work that has given my company and I these opportunities to meet various people that we think are incredible. My Board and I would like to meet with Hans Zimmer. His music inspired a portion of “Red Ribbons” and we would love the opportunity to share what his music means to us and many other things.
This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!
If you would like to see the entire “5 Things I Wish Someone Told Me” Series In Huffpost, Authority Magazine, ThriveGlobal, and Buzzfeed, click HERE.