Emily was born in Bristol and trained in classical styles and all forms of street dance since the age of 13. She then moved to London to pursue a professional dance career whilst studying at the University of Roehampton. As part of her BA Honours dance degree Emily studied abroad for four months in America training at the Broadway Dance Centre, New York and the University of North Carolina, Greensboro.
Since Emily’s 2013 graduation she signed to multiple dance agencies in London including Mass Movement, Mark Summers, RnD Creatives and United Productions. Her commercial credits include, ITV’s Dancing on Ice, London Fashion Week, Nike, Ferrari, Fenty Beauty by Rihanna and Channel 4 – Alan Carr’s Chatty Man. Her theatre work includes, Thriller Live UK, Egypt and China Tour.
Read about how Emily made it as a professional dancer below.
What started your passion for dance?
I started taking dance really seriously from about the age of 16. I had done ballet and tap when I was younger but when I turned 16 I found street dance and I absolutely loved it. I was obsessed with hiphop music at the time so that was giving me the motive to want to dance to it all the time and find my style.
I don’t think I really knew that I was good at it, until I realised people were enjoying my dancing. When more people could see that I was enjoying myself dancing, it made them happy and made them smile. I didn’t think it was ever a thing where I thought “ooh I’m really good at this” it was more like; “I can bring joy to people through dancing and enjoy it myself”.
It was towards the age of 17 when I was thinking I needed to go and train properly. I would see backing dancers behind music artists and think – I want to do that, I can do that. I had no idea it could be a career, all I knew was that there were dancers on shows like Top of the Pops dancing behind artists so I figured that there must be a job out there somewhere to allow me to do that.
Where did you gain your experience as a dancer?
My course was a ballet and contemporary course. I think it’s really important for all dancers to get their foundations and technique as it underpins everything. I was training there for three years. For me personally my contact time at uni was minimal which allowed me to go out to the dance studios in London to train in things like commercial and street dance which I absolutely loved. For me uni was definitely the labour of the technique but it gave me the foundation for everything I progressed to do in the future.
I’d say to anybody who might not be able to afford dance school – because I didn’t – then look online at all of the resources to help you. All you need is an internet connection and you can honestly make it happen. You can put yourself out there and make connections. I know a lot of dancers who have literally trained from YouTube so you can do it. There are no limitations if you want to do it. The only limitations will be yourself. So if your head is in the game go and get it.
What’s been your proudest moment in your career?
The proudest moment I’ve had as a dancer was booking an artist’s world tour, that was at the top of my to do list as a dancer and not only that but I was blessed with the privilege of choreographing it as well. So to be a dancer and be a choreographer on an artist’s world tour was always the biggest responsibility but the biggest blessing ever. It was absolutely incredible.
We toured with the band Bring Me the Horizon for over a year all over the world, all different countries. It was the most incredible experience. We danced in places like Glastonbury, BBC Radio 1, Lola Palooza, a huge arena in Tokyo Satuma Super Arena supporting Baby Metal. It was just incredible. I think you obviously need the physical side, the talent but that’s something you can work on if it doesn’t come naturally. Some of the most successful male commercial dancers I know started in their late teens, early 20s, not from the age of three in ballet classes. For me what you need is the drive first and foremost and the want to learn and progress. You’re always a student with dance. You’ll forever be training in it so I think the mindset of knowing that you have to make that commitment to the career is what will see you through right to the end.
What advice would you give to dancers wanting to break into the industry?
Don’t allow Instagram to consume what you feel about yourself as a dancer, like just know yourself. Don’t worry about anything around you, use it as a platform to promote yourself and like an online CV but just where we’re at at the moment, just honestly get in that training. It doesn’t always have to be put online, you can do it yourself and just really really commit to improving and just stay focused on it. Allow it to still bring you joy even when it turns into a job and into work. Still just be so grateful that you can do basically your hobby as your job and income. For me that never gets old, that’s kid at Christmas for me every time I get a job so just keep that fire alive and don’t let any external things diminish that fire within you.