We put on our dancing shoes for this exclusive interview with Emily the owner of Em’s Dance Center.
Q, When did you first fall in love with dance?
A. I honestly can’t remember a time when I didn’t love dance. I started dancing at age 3 so dance has always been a part of my life. I don’t know what I’d do without it!
Q, Who are you inspirations in dance?
A. There are so many people who inspired me throughout the years. One of my all time favorite dancers is Vera Ellen. White Christmas is my favorite holiday movie & I have always been mesmerized with her grace and athleticism. My favorite choreographer who is an inspiration is Bob Fosse. I love his bold pioneering of taking traditional dance and making it his own. Last would be Jill and Mary, two of my instructors. It is because of them that I not only kept my passion for dance, but also discovered my love of teaching.
Q, What did you do before you opened Em’s Dance Center?
A. Before opening EM’s, I worked at other studios in the area. I held a couple other part time jobs in retail here and there, but I’ve been a teacher since graduating high school.
Q, What inspired you to open up your own studio? And when did you first open?
A. We opened in August 2020. As a kid I wanted to be a dance teacher and studio owner but as I got older, I realized how much work a studio is so decided I would rather work for someone else to be able to just teach. However, I had a group of students and parents who encouraged me to open as they were not entirely happy where we were at the time. With their backing, I went for it!
Q, Why did you choose Downtown Kenosha for you business?
A. I’ve always loved downtown, but really ending up there was a happy accident. I knew I did not have the funds to do a full build out so needed something where I didn’t need to do this. I saw the pictures of this rental online and realized that it was already set up to be a dance studio. It was perfect and I’m convinced it was also meant to be. I got really lucky that it was located in our beautiful downtown 🙂
Q, Can you describe what Em’s Dance Center is all about?
A. Our mission, value & vision statements: EM’s Dances Center works to instill a love and passion for dance in all our students. We provide our dancers with high quality instruction, a supportive atmosphere, and positive life skills. We hold strong values and teach our students to be kind, have consideration for others, be disciplined, work hard, be respectful, and be honest. Our vision for the future is to be able to bring the love and joy of dance to anyone who wants to learn. Everyone is welcome and everyone can dance!
Q, You are a two time winner of the ADCC studio of excellence award, that is a huge accomplishment, What does these accomplishments mean to you?
A. Winning the ADCC award both years we have been open means the absolute world to me. The award is given to a studio that truly represents and embodies the integrity of the dance world. It encompasses everything that I want my studio to be: honest, respectful, supportive, and family based and who shows grace, appreciation & growth at all competitions.
Q, What values do you try to instill in your students?
A. I have always wanted EM’s to be family based and develop not only dance technique and performance skills but life skills that will make them grow into a kind, compassionate member of society. We want everyone to work hard, be disciplined, learn time management, learn how to work with others, become self aware, and other skills that will serve them throughout their life.
Q, How many staff members do you have? And what are their responsibilities?
A. Right now we have four staff members: 2 full time and 2 part time. We also have fabulous class assistants.
Q, Can anyone sign up to become a member at Em’s Dance Center?
A. We begin taking students age 2.5 all the way through adult (sometimes younger if the dancer is ready)
Q, What kind classes do you offer?
A. We offer competitive and non-competitive dance programs. Our non-competitive classes include Tiny Tots (Creative Movement), Ballet/Tap, Ballet/Lyrical, Jazz/Hip Hop, Tap, Modern/Contemporary. We offer pre-pointe and pointe for our advanced students (with instructor approval) and we have classes for adults.
Q, How can people sign up for classes?
A. To register visit our website www.emsdancecenter.com and select the register tab. Then select new family and you will be walked through registration.
Q, Walk us through a day at Em’s Dance Center?
A. Typically I arrive early to be sure everything is cleaned, stocked and ready for the day. Students begin to arrive for classes which begin at 4:45 with the youngest then progress through the night to the older students. At the end of each class, we bow and clap as a sign of respect. It is the students thanking the instructor and the assistant for being there and teaching them and the teacher and assistant thanking the students for being there and working hard. Our youngest students then receive a sticker for good behavior.
Q, What is next for Em’s Dance Center?
A. Both our programs are continuing to grow and I am hoping that this growth will keep going in the coming years. Eventually, should we have enough students perhaps a second location.
I actually hold a Bachelor’s in Social Work which has proved to be such an asset in my teaching. I teach from a childhood development perspective and make sure to train my instructors and assistants with this knowledge in order to best serve the students. It is very important that we look at each child as an individual, assess where they are, meet them on their level and help them grow!
Web extra Q&A, lets get to know Emily a little better.
Q, Favorite song to dance to?
A. Anything by P!nk
Q, Worst song to dance to?
A. Stuff that sounds like elevator music
Q, Does pineapple belong on pizza?
A. Pineapple should absolutely be on pizza!
Q, Favorite junk food?
A. White Cheddar Cheetos
Q, Best movie about dancing?
A. White Christmas
Q, Coffee or tea
A. Neither…I love hot chocolate though
Q, Favorite restaurant in Kenosha
Q&A and photos by Donny Stancato ~ Edited by Jason Hedman
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(This article first appeared in Vol 16. #1 2023 Go Downtown Kenosha Magazine)