American Repertory Ballet dancer Emily Parker is only 20 years old, but she already knows that being in the company is the career that she has always wanted. As a child, Emily began dancing at the age of five with Lias School of Dance in regional NSW Australia. She continued her journey at The McDonald College in Sydney, and was shortly thereafter accepted into the trainee program here at the Princeton Ballet School.
“I chose this school and company because it was the best fit for me,” said Emily. “I found that the program has pushed me to be a better dancer, especially in the acting aspect of dancing.”
Committed to presenting ballets from the 19th and 20th centuries, alongside new and existing works by choreographers from today, American Repertory Ballet performing company values individual attention, creating an environment where dancers can truly develop. Though it is only her first year with the company, Emily spent two years as a trainee and was able to perform roles such as Rosalind in Romeo and Juliet, a Firefly in A Midsummer Night’s Dream, a Minion in Firebird, and a soloist in Don Quixote.
“I found that the program has pushed me to be a better dancer, especially in the acting aspect of dancing.”
Having finished a year as a full-time dancer in Australia, Emily decided it was time to move on and become a professional dancer elsewhere, something that she always planned on doing. She sent in a video audition, accepted the offer, and never looked back.
“Emily Parker is advancing to our professional ranks having worked her way through our demanding Trainee program” said Douglas Martin, ARB’s Artistic Director. “She is extraordinarily expressive with a naturally cool poise that will catch your eye. Emily possesses a strong technique and commanding physicality and we are looking forward to watching her bring those qualities to our shows.”
Dancers like Emily are able to work closely with Martin, Resident Choreographer Mary Barton and Company Teacher Kathleen Moore, constantly being guided to excel at the art of dance. These leaders are highly regarded, professional dancers who have had the opportunities to perform many roles in elite companies such as Joffrey Ballet. They consistently help the ARB dancers in developing characters, stage presence and technique.
“I enjoy ballet now because I love performing on stage for other people especially my family,” said Emily. “I enjoy acting as someone or something else and making the audience feel something from that.”
Emily didn’t always have the love for ballet that she now has. She used to enjoy other forms of dance more, such as tap. Her experiences with ARB have led her to develop a love for the art of performing ballet, developing a character through acting, and constantly growing as a dancer.
“I am most looking forward to having a job that I enjoy,” said Emily. “You always hear people who hate going to their workplace, but this will be one job that I’ll enjoy going to every day.”
Photo: Emily (in center) as Odette in Princeton Ballet School’s 2016 Spring Production: Swan Lake. Credit: Mar St-Pierre
This dancer story was written by Summer 2016 ARB intern Mary Berko.