Taking A Chance On Dance Led To A New Career

Lisa Deaderick
The San Diego Union-Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) Faith Jensen-Ismay is one of the founders of the Mojalet Dance Collective, a nonprofit dance company in San Diego. She took some time to talk about the journey of career in dance and her work within the creative community.


Faith Jensen-Ismay wasn’t exactly looking for dance, but it seemed to be looking for her.

In high school, she was forced to take a dance class for a physical education credit. It still wasn’t something she’d seriously considered pursuing as a career until her husband later suggested she quit her retail job and focus on training for a year to see what might happen.

“I did exactly that. I transferred to SDSU (San Diego State University) and within a year, Jean Isaacs asked me to demonstrate her classes after her knee surgery. Shortly after that, she invited me to be in her new work, ‘Tabula Rasa,'” she says. “That led to a long working relationship with (numerous dancers and choreographers), with opportunities to teach SDSU, UC San Diego, Palomar and San Diego City colleges.”

Today, Jensen-Ismay, 54, is one of the founders of the Mojalet Dance Collective, a nonprofit dance company. She lives in Poway with her husband, Joe, and they have four daughters. She’s also Mojalet’s artistic director and continues to teach at Mesa College and Arts for Learning. She took some time to talk about her dance career and her work with Mojalet.

Q: How were you introduced to dance?

A: In all honesty, I was forced to take a class in high school as PE credit. It was months after my father fell at work and died, then a boy I was dating was killed in a car crash. Somehow, dance became a coping mechanism and a way for me to express myself. At first, I was uncomfortable, especially looking at myself in a mirror, but the teacher was understanding and worked with me.

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