Today’s 10 Questions With… features Emily Zager….
1. What is your background in dance?
I grew up studying ballet, tap and jazz since I was 2. In high school, I was an active performer in our dance department and competed on our poms squad for 3 years I spent a year performing on Loyola’s athletic dance team, then decided to obtain a minor degree in dance. I studied jazz and modern as well as the art of choreography. My senior year, I performed an original piece at Danceworks Chicago – a defining moment in my dance career. I’ve been a performer for Walt Disney World and taught ballroom to middle schools around the Milwaukee area.
2. What are you currently doing in dance?
In a professional sense, I am on a dance hiatus. I’ve been focusing on work and a few other things but am currently looking to take classes and am playing with the idea of starting up a small dance group as an outlet for choreography and discussion.
3. Do you have any favorite dancers or dance companies? If so, why are they your favorites?
Danceworks stands out to me because they are a community-oriented organization. They present amazing shows and give the opportunity for local dancers to showcase their works. My favorite dance companies also include Alvin Ailey and Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. I love jazz.
4. What is the best advice you have ever received from a teacher or mentor?
I studied dance in college with a professor who radiated positivity. Even if I was having a bad day, I felt transformed after taking her class. Every time we’d gather on the floor to begin, she would instruct us to leave whatever happened or was happening to us that day at the door. It cleared the mind and brought a sense of focus and resolve to what we were set to accomplish. Great advice that’s applicable outside the classroom as well.
5. What do you enjoy most about dance?
Dance is mentally, emotionally and spiritually freeing. It clears the mind and opens the heart. I love the sheer energy it demands, the challenge of it and how it’s danced can channel virtually any sensation.
6. Where do you think the dance field is headed?
People are becoming more comfortable exploring different styles of dance. I also enjoy the exposure dance has been getting through media and entertainment. Dance will continue to be integrated as a valuable fabric of our culture. Witnessing performers challenge themselves on TV or in local competitions is just another way to get performers of all ages and levels to unite and continue exploring the field!
7. What do you think of the online dance community?
The online dance community is amazing. Blogs, Twitter and message boards have become incredible vehicles for advice, suggestions and motivation. I’ve utilized digital media for tips on choreography, music ideas, questions about injuries and more. It’s a very supportive and passionate environment.
8. Do you follow any dance blogs on a regular basis?
I follow 4dancers as well as Kiner Enterprises on a regular basis. I like “The Dance Buzz” for the fun, helpful tips, musical ideas and monthly challenges.
9. In terms of your time in the dance field, is there a moment that stands out for you?
There are many moments in my dance career that I cherish. One particular moment stands out to me while I was filming a media event for Disney. In the moments before my performance was slated to begin, I glanced over the crowd of 70,000 people, and made eye contact with two excited little girls in the crowd. I pointed them out, got them to giggle, and their parents grinned and mouthed “thank you.” I knew in that moment I was exactly where I was supposed to be – so much energy, fun, joy and purpose in that moment.
10. What is next for you in the world of dance?
I would love to continue teaching dance, and aim to continue cultivating a profession out of it. One of my goals is to someday open a studio of my own. I am always searching for an outlet to practice and perform, and hope to study the tango next!
I am a 24-year-old dancer and account executive currently living in Milwaukee, WI. I graduated from Loyola University Chicago and am creative, ambitious and adventurous. I’ve trained in dance for over 20 years (ballet to ballroom) and there is nothing that brings me more joy than the art of performing. I thrive off connecting with the world around me, whether in a face-to-face conversation or through social media. Besides dance, my favorite things include traveling, sports, and spending time with my friends and family.