Paula Present, a  native Angelino, received her BA in Dance and BS in Biology from UCSD.  Making dance professionally since 1995, she started working under the  name PTERO Dance Theatre from April 2004 -2015, as its artistic director, dancer, and choreographer and was an award winning, critically acclaimed dance company.   She has choreographed for Curb Your Enthusiasm.  Music videos for the band Fanfarlo (Harold T Wilkins) and was an assistant choreographer with JoAnn Jansen for the band, Beirut (Elephant Gun).  Paula also choreographed for the documentary, Bombay Beach, winner for Best Documentary at the Tribeca Film Festival 2011.

Paula had the opportunity to choreograph for Culture Clash in their critically acclaimed docu-theater Bordertown, as well as Herbert Siguenza’s 2010, A Weekend with Pablo Picasso, both at the San Diego Repertory Theatre.   She improvised a solo in a fountain in Richard Montoya and Guillermo Gomez Pena’s Los Dopplegangers at UCLA’s Fowler Museum. She choreographed for runway, a commission from the elite fashion label, Gypsy 05. She has taught at Hollywood Dance Center, San Antonio  Metropolitan Ballet , Anna Djanbazian Dance Academy, as well as master  classes at performing arts centers. She performed with Helios Dance  Theatre for five seasons, Post House Dance Group, Eveoke Dance Theatre, Synaptic Dance Collective, and co-founded Between the Raw Dance Collective.  Ms  Present was selected as distinguished alumni by her college, UCSD, for a  campus wide banner campaign, for being a “dreamer, risk taker and  leader who are achieving the extraordinary, possessing the University’s  spirit of innovation, discovery, and entrepreneurial drive."

Click on the links below to see dance and dance films by Paula Present



The choreographer Paula Present has a gift for creating memorable body sculpture (particularly with groups) and for shaping a sophisticated,  contemporary movement vocabulary into fine-grained meditations on  important current issues...her award-winning, mostly female PTERO Dance  Theatre provides a satisfying look at her artistry... Present's "In the  Forest" artfully develops a conflict between sensual needs and religious repression...the process of transforming the news of the day into thoughtful, committed dancing represents the kind of positive action  that's needed on the widest possible scale right's heartening  to find a constellation of skillful Los Angeles artists making work  that's something more than their oh-so-sensitive souls, their last love affair, their fabulous technique, their devastating sex appeal or their beautiful feet.

- LA Times

The second weekend of Wild Dancing West presented three companies at VSA  North Fourth Art Center... and the breathtaking PTERO Dance Theatre  from Los Angeles.  PTERO's seven short, brilliant dances brought the  evening to a new level of dance performance and design. The three  dancers of PTERO Dance Theatre were an astonishing trio of dancer /  artists revealing beauty of line and shape with clarity and sharply  focused intention.  Present's fluid extension of arms and legs sustained  each breath of phrase as it grew from the body's center. Wieland  performed "SOS"...with superb physical articulation, changing level and  direction. Lunges across the floor, executed with her serpentine,  rippling spine, were breathtaking. Harris created the dynamic dance  "Dichotomize" using a pole prop as the initiator of movement, and as a  totally integrated fifth limb.
- Albuquerque Journal

This piece (OmPaHdEnLeIsAs) is imaginatively choreographed with  meaningful gesture and interesting lifts...In Scrape, Present ­ who is a  wonder of movement, musicality, and passion-suffers a nearly unbearable  misery until set on a new path by the lithe Shannon Harris. Where the  Body End reflects our inner and outer beauties, danced by Sarandon  Cassidy, Nicole LaCour, and Harris. Woman in There Somewhere again  reflects an unfolding of the human body and soul, danced by the  technically and dramatically powerful trio of Chelsea Gilbert, Present,  and (Lillian) Bitkoff...Present reflects youthful, dreamy optimism ­  again beautifully rendered- in 'Girl, You'll Be a Woman Soon'.
- Backstage West

...isn’t it refreshing to find an artist with a positive political  activism?  (Sarandon Cassidy) Vincent’s solos of longing in a sand pile,  in which she roiled dust clouds, were among the night’s most poetic  moments.  Club Fais Do-Do made a terrific, funky, in-the-round dance  venue.  (Paula) Present made excellent use of the  space.                                                                                 

 -LA Weekly

'Holding Up the Sky,' with an all female cast. Strongly demonstrates  the idea that some themes, such as peace, are universal. Responding to  violence against women, the devastation of war and other issues of the  day, 'Holding Up the Sky' offers a strongly crafted hour of dance  theater...with artful dance sequences choreographed by Paula  Present...Evan A Bartoletti's multi level set helps separate such  large-scale passages, but Present's choreography always makes its  purpose unmistakable...a mimed and danced antiwar conference in a semi  circle of chairs displays the specificity of Present' talent to the  utmost, while the power of the ensemble reaches maximum impact in her  percussive war quintet.
— LA Times

In 'Beloved, be loved,' Paula Present showed this relationship at it's  most life affirming. Dancing lyrically around and over a boom box, she  reminded everyone of how recorded music can inspire a sense of  connection even when we are most alone. "We will keep each other safe  from harm," the lyrics promised, and Present responded with utter  devotion.
— LA Times