Noelle Marsh was recently named the Season Two winner of the choreography competition series Every Single Step, produced by So You Think You Can Dance creator Nigel Lythgoe through INE/Trium Entertainment and izo, the brand that founded DanceOn.
Marsh, who is perhaps most widely recognized for earning a spot as a top 10 finalist in the first season of SYTYCD in 2005, has since gone on to perform and tour across the U.S. Over the last 11 years, she’s appeared on TV in episodes for Glee, The Voice, The X Factor, House, Parks and Recreation, Dancing with the Stars, Bones and Ellen DeGeneres. She’s performed in various award shows, including The Oscars, the Billboard Music Awards and the MTV Video Music Awards. Marsh has even danced alongside Beyoncé, J-Lo and Gwen Stefani – to name a few.
More recently, Marsh has toured the U.S. as a member of Shaping Sound Dance Company, has freelanced on numerous projects and has taught at Academy of Dance Westlake just outside of L.A., where she is based. Represented by Clear Talent Group, she’s also assisted Emmy Award-winning choreographer Mia Michaels over the years.
Here, Dance Informa catches up with Marsh to hear about her recent win on Every Single Step and how she plans to use the $25,000 cash prize.
Congratulations on winning Season Two of Every Single Step! Can you believe you’ve been named the winner? What was your immediate response to the announcement?
“Thank you! Coming into the finale, I hadn’t slept in 36 hours, and I spent half the day crying from a high of emotions and exhaustion. So when they initially called my name, it took me a second to comprehend what just happened. Honestly, I don’t even know if it hit me that I won until I was driving home with this big check in my backseat. It was absolutely a new feeling of joy, gratitude and accomplishment I have never experienced.”
Looking back over your journey, there were certainly different trials you had to overcome. Perhaps the biggest was self-doubt. How did you win that battle? Do you have advice for others dealing with this?
“I have learned that self-doubt is also the fear of one’s own potential of greatness mixed with fear of failure. Every Single Step really taught me how to navigate this ongoing battle.
Being a perfectionist and wanting to make sure every piece of work I put out into the world is my best has also put walls in front of me creating. I was giving too much power to the reaction and the outcome. The show really forced me to let go because a lot of the time we only had an hour to create something, and whatever came out we had to stand by. This was really healthy for me because I learned to embrace it all and own it as a part of my path to becoming all that I can be. Putting myself out there and missing the mark a few times trumps withholding my visions and waiting for perfection that doesn’t exist.
My advice is this… When we have the blessing of choice, it would be a disservice to the self to not do what you love and what drives you every single day. Never let the reaction of others be an influence in what you create, what you do or who you are.”
In addition to helping competitors further discover their artistic voice, the show also teaches you various technical and practical lessons on staging, storytelling and set design. Can you expound on this?
“The biggest lesson I took away is the understanding of how to step back and find balance in the eye of the creator and the eye of the viewer. The show gave me many tools and a lot of them were technical, but the most useful ones were mental.
Each task varied in style, musical genre and overall theme; meeting all of those requirements proved to be the most challenging, along with maintaining a level of authenticity and uniqueness. More than discovering my artistic voice, I learned how to stay true to my voice within the confines of each challenge, which is the reality of the industry.”
Choreographically, do you feel like you’ve changed through this opportunity?
“Yes, I absolutely feel like I have grown as a choreographer and will continue to. I am most thankful for the feedback and information I was able to absorb throughout each challenge.”
You mentioned in the Finale while talking to Brian Friedman that you’re glad you were a professional dancer before really diving into choreography. Why do you think this was important for you, and how has it affected your choices?
“Being a professional dancer gives me the opportunity to learn from the best and experience the other vital end of choreography. I understand how it is to be on both ends of the spectrum, which is important.
As a dancer in the industry, I always have the desire to be pushed, artistically challenged and explore new ground. I have found a lack of this in the commercial industry. Moving forward as a choreographer, my experience as a dancer has driven me into wanting to give others the opportunities that the industry doesn’t pay enough attention to. There is also a level of community, support and treatment that I am inspired to provide.”
On the show, you mentioned that you usually create from the pages of your life. What are some themes and ideas you want to explore in your choreography in the future?
“I’m really interested in creating work that provokes thought about societal change, as well as exploring the inner dialogue. I would also like to create fantasy worlds within my work that serve as a play on the world we live in. However, with that being said, I don’t want to feel like I’m limiting myself to anything, as I’m constantly seeing the world in new and abstract ways and feel there are many sides to my work.”
Moving forward, how do you plan to use your $25,000 cash prize?
“As much as I love new clothes, I made a promise to myself that I’d put the money to good use, toward refining my craft and making my goals possible. So first things first, I’m going to buy a camera – because it’s something I’ve always wanted to have access to so that I can produce and film whenever I get inspired. I also want to use some of the money to help create my first show, which I plan to premiere next year.”
To watch full episodes of Every Single Step, head to www.go90.com. To keep up with Noelle Marsh’s updates and future projects, follow her on Instagram at @noellemarsh. Enjoy one of her previous choreographic projects featuring Sophia Lucia below.
By Chelsea Thomas of Dance Informa.