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BDF Young Dancer Profiles: Meet Emma

Name: Emma

Hometown: Manhattan

Studying: Jazz with Courtney Jones, Hip Hop with Shakia Johnson, Modern with Karl Rogers, and Ballet with Shonach Mirk-Robles

What brought you here?

I came last year. I attended a workshop at Martha Tornay’s studio with Karl Rogers and I really enjoyed, so I applied and got in. After attending, I fell further in love with dance and with the program, so I came back again after taking a workshop at Martha’s with Quimah (one of this year’s YDW counselors).

What are you learning so far?

I’m learning that dance is a real thing and more than this small group of people can love it and appreciate it, and that you can make dance a lifestyle and continue it and be alive doing it. It’s really amazing.

What has surprised you about BDF?

I think I’m most surprised with how comfortable everyone is. It’s always surprising when you meet people for one week and you’re already feel like a family, and you can try new things through dance. The sense of community that exists here is really great.

What is one thing that you will bring home?

I will bring home the lessons Shonach  is teaching me about standing, and focusing more on my body than on huge movements and trying to understand why something happens.

What is a topic you would like to explore or story you would like to tell using dance?

I make a lot of dance back home and I just made a piece about reluctance, and wanting to do something and doing it and over doing it. At my age, I think frustration, assimilation, and relationships are things I would like to explore through dance. Using theater in dance is one thing I would like to incorporate.

What advice do you have for other dancers?

If you love it, you should just push through and do it. You will find that other people love it too, and that is just the most amazing feeling—realizing what you love to do can be done. Continue to dance if you can and try to find new ways to dance. Stay curious! Dance all the time!

What goals do you have for the rest of the festival?

I would like to take class and perform phrases outside of myself a bit more. I think we tend to fall into the pattern of “I have to get this right,” but we’re learning a lot in Karl’s class about performing and being present. If you are enjoying what you do, it will come out more, and people will see that as you dance. That is something I would love to practice more in class.

What are your future plans in dance?

I would love to dance in college, but I would love to do other things in college too. I would love to be a well-rounded student, but keep dancing. I really enjoy choreographing, so I would love to see if I can continue to do that. There are some companies that I love, and I would love to see if I could do that. I would really like to dance professionally and I would also like to explore other things, so bridging my academic and intellectual career with dance would be so cool.

This post was compiled by Sarah Ellen Miller.  Sarah is the BDF Social Media Intern for the 2015 summer.