Today meet Emma Hemsley – a dancer who is originally from Haiti…
My name is Emma Hemsley. My Haitian name is Emmana Jules. I am a Freshman in High School. I am home schooled. I was born in Haiti and adopted when I was 2 years old. My birth Mother passed away when I was one year old and I was brought to an orphanage in Port Au Prince.
My parents signed me up for dance when I was 3 years old.
Every year I wanted to dance more and more. Last year I started taking classes at Nuevo School of Contemporary Dance. This year I joined the company. Dance has been a way for me to express myself.
I would like to encourage young dancers to have faith in their skills and not give up on the dream of dance.
1. Can you tell readers how you became involved with dance?
When I came to the US, I had a lot of energy. My parents wanted to keep me busy and my older sister worked at a local dance studio and suggested a Tap/Ballet combo. I barely spoke English at the time and it helped me to focus, and I have been in love with dance ever since.
I just joined Nuevo School of Contemporary Dance with Francisco Gella and it has been such an amazing experience. Learning so much about technique and the art of dance. Seeing dance from a Concert point of view is so inspiring to me.
2. What do you find you like best about dance class?
I love being in a room full of people that share the same passion for dance that I do. Learning to perfect my technique. I have amazing dance teachers that push me to be the best that I can be.
3. What is the hardest part about dance for you?
Emotion, I concentrate so much on the moves that sometimes I forget about my facial expression. Also, I am very critical of myself when I dance. I am working on just enjoying the moment when I am dancing.
4. What advice would you give to other dancers?
The main thing I would tell other dancers is to be versatile, and try all genres of dance. To be open to new genres that they haven’t tried before and not be afraid to try new things. Learn dance history, so that you know about the people that came before you.
This is something that Francisco Gella teaches us.
5. How has dance changed your life?”
Dance has enriched my life so much. It has taught me discipline. When I first started dancing I had a lot of frustration about the culture and lifestyle that was so different than what I knew. It gave me joy because dance crosses all cultures and races. No matter who you are or where you are from, you can find your dream of dance.