Get to Know Emma!
Q: How did your interest in ballet begin? When did this lead you to CPYB?
My mother, Nancy, was working in the office at CPYB as the Public Relations person before I was born so I was lucky enough to grow up in the barn. I spent many hours watching classes and rehearsals in Studio C before I started in pre-ballet. I looked up to so many of the older dancers such as Abi and Melissa Stafford, Ashley Bouder, Noelani Pantastico, Carrie Imler, and Adrienne Schulte that I watched in Studio C and wanted to be just like them. I was so fortunate to start at CPYB from day 1 and grow up surrounded and encouraged by so many talented dancers and teachers.
Q: Do you have a special memory about Marcia that you would like to share?
There are so many but each Christmas Marcia gets presents for all of her students and as many know she is also a talented artist. I remember my first year as a party girl in The Nutcracker she gave us all paper dolls that she drew and I still have them! Before I was old enough to perform in CPYB productions I would see all the performances and sit with Marcia's sister Sandra in the audience and watch the ballets intently. And of course, the discipline and strong love of the art form Marcia instills in all her students is still with me to this day.
Q: So, where are you now? What does a day in your life look like today?
I now work at Freed of London, USA as the Wholesale Manager and as a pointe shoe fitter. I work in the US headquarters and handle all of the distributions of pointe shoes, apparel, and accessories to retailers in the US and Canada. I talk to a lot of dancers and former dancers who are now store owners and suggest to them which styles of our pointe shoes will work best for them depending on the kind of work they are doing. I love that I am still involved in the dance world and have been able to carry the skills and knowledge from CPYB into my career. When I was interviewed for this job, my boss said she would hardly have to teach me anything because I went to CPYB!
Q: What did you learn during your time at CPYB that you still use in your daily career/life?
I think one of the main things has been the stamina and perseverance that I developed from a very young age at CPYB. We spent so many hours in the studios everyday after attending academic school all day, even when we felt tired we pushed ourselves in each class and rehearsal which is a skill I used in college and now in my job. And because we had ballet everyday from 4:30 or 5:30 until 9 PM I learned how to manage my time very well and get all my school work done and meet deadlines which is a skill I use everyday at work. Ballet dancers inherently are hard workers and that carries over into whatever you do.
Q: What words of wisdom would you share with current students?
Soak up everything the teachers at CPYB tell you, even if you don't understand it now, in a few years it will click and you will be able to relate it to something else. The many hours that you spend in classes and rehearsals will prepare you for so many things, whether that be a professional dancer in a company or as a college student who has many hours of studying and classes. The focus, discipline, and love for ballet will stick with you for the rest of your life and you will still hear the words of all the wonderful teachers from CPYB no matter what you do once you leave CPYB. Cherish every minute on stage and in rehearsal because not every school is fortunate enough to perform Balanchine's Nutcracker and a full length ballet every year and those are beautiful memories that will stay with you for life.