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Meet Emily Greenwell

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Greenwell.

Emily, we appreciate you taking the time to share your story with us today. Where does your story begin?
I grew up in Detroit, MI. I started dancing at age 4, I continued to dance competitively as well as attended a performing arts high school. After graduating I knew I didn’t want to go to college so I moved to NYC and sought out my own education doing training programs and open classes. Through assisting and being mentored by some AMAZING humans I was given opportunities to teach and choreograph, which has now become my passion!

Would you say it’s been a smooth road, and if not what are some of the biggest challenges you’ve faced along the way?
Not been a smooth road. I’ve had great luck, and I also have a great work ethic. There are a lot of dangerous people in this industry, they’re mixed in with all of the wonderful humans and as a young, eager artist, it’s hard to spot the difference. My first great challenge was being told I was too “fat/big” to be a dancer. That my weight was a huge issue. I was told this by so many teachers and eventually, I began to hate my body. It is my life’s work to reverse that story and love my beautiful dancing body!

My next greatest challenge was being a victim of sexual abuse by my teacher when I was young. This happened twice, with two separate instructors that I looked up to and trusted. The industry is finally just starting to shed light on this destructive and sadly common issue.

My last greatest challenge was financial. My parents work VERY hard, and made a lot of sacrifices so I could dance as much as possible. Unfortunately, the way the industry is set up, more money = more opportunities. So when I moved to NY I stopped dancing for about a year as I was trying to financially support myself. Eventually, I saved enough to begin training again.

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
I teach and choreograph dance. If you had to put me in a stylistic box, it would be contemporary. However, I pull from many different styles of dance when I create. I also teach yoga.

My students and peers tell me that one of my strengths is creating safe, open spaces for people to explore and work on their craft. I am very inspired by music so my choreography is very musically informed. My teaching style is playful and encouraging. My goal in classes is to build students up to the best version of themself (not what I think they should be). I also love improvisation, I have a nonprofit company called CLOUDE.NYC and we host monthly community improv sessions. It’s pretty much a donation based dance party!

I think what sets me apart is my emphasis on community and well-being.

Is there something surprising that you feel even people who know you might not know about?
I thrive in sunshine. winter + the cold are very tough on my mental.

Contact Info:

Image Credits

Jenna Maslechko
Rachel Walter
Kenichi Kasamatsu

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