Emily, the ballerina
Emily, a co-founder of the Charlottesville Ballet, was one of the performers featured at the Charlottesville Day of Dance, which took place on the Downtown Mall this weekend. Like many ballet dancers, she has been dancing since she was quite young. And like many ballet dancers, she has paid a high cost for her devotion to the art: she struggled with an eating disorder for the better part of a decade, and she has suffered numerous injuries. In fact, one of the main reasons why she and Sara started the Charlottesville Ballet was to create an environment in which health and wellness were an integral part of the training of their dancers, both the pros in their company and the young amateurs who study in their studio.
Emily was in the midst of her professional dancing career when she decided to take some time off to attend the University of Virginia. She was a “non-traditional student” there, which means that she wasn’t the typical eighteen-year-old freshman, and she was non-traditional in other ways, too. She designed her own major, which combined arts administration and non-profit management, and she was in the process of starting up the Charlottesville Ballet at the same time. She told me that it was wonderful to study how to do all the things necessary to create a non-profit organization in class and then to immediately put it into practice. You can see a video of Emily talking about how her UVa education helped her achieve her goals here.
Emily told me that she is excited about the new facility the Charlottesville Ballet moved into recently, and she is hoping that their Academy will continue to grow. They teach around 100 students right now and hope to expand to 120 or so. She stressed that it’s important to them that they keep class sizes small; some of their more advanced classes have as few as four students.
Downtown Mall in Charlottesville, VA