Hi there! I’m Emily, Dance Manager and Practitioner currently based in London.
For some context…
Originally from Wolverhampton, I trained from an early age under Sheila Groom BEM before being introduced to contemporary dance through GCSE and A-Level study. During this time, I began training in Dancehall and Hip Hop – competing at national UDO events.
I went on to complete a First Class BA (Hons) Degree in Dance and Culture at the University of Surrey, undertaking a Professional Training Year at Sadler’s Wells Theatre in London. Within the Creative Learning team, I worked closely with the newly formed National Youth Dance Company as well as the renowned Company of Elders, in addition to providing artist support for Mafalda Deville (Jasmin Vardimon Company) and Ivan Blackstock (Birdgang Dance Company) among others.
Whilst at University, I furthered my interest in dance of the African Diaspora, going on to receive the Pauline Hodgens Memorial Prize for my research examining Brooklyn-based dance company Urban Bush Women. In 2011 I was selected to present my choreography as part of Woking Dance Festival’s Summer Shorts and the following year, took part in Korotech Dancefest in Jamaica – working with National Dance Theatre Company of Jamaica and Dance Xpressionz.
I am an experienced dance practitioner; working with The Dance Movement (Farnham Maltings) as well as independently across Surrey and the West Midlands to deliver contemporary and Hip Hop styles in a range of community and education settings. Since 2012 I have focused my practice on Dancehall, a form of popular dance from Jamaica developed from Ska and Reggae, and have taught a range of classes across Leeds. Read more about Dancehall here.
In 2014 I began working for Phoenix Dance Theatre within the Access and Education team, managing a variety of arts projects including work in the areas of widening participation, the hard to reach, cross-curricular collaboration, arts award, SEN, partnership management and youth dance events.
In 2016, I was invited by One Dance UK to present on the opening panel at their Launch Leeds event alongside key dance professionals including Kenneth Tindall and Charlie Morrissey. Read more about this here.
February 2017 posed another new adventure, where I have taken on the role of Project Producer at Greenwich Dance – an amazing opportunity allowing me to focus on artist development within the dance sector.
I also work on a freelance basis, as a project manager, producer and practitioner. In May 2016 I founded Dancehall Origins to promote and support dancers, teachers and performers from Jamaica to share their practice in the UK.
In April 2016, I was invited to contribute to the final chapter of Lise Uytterhoeven and Charlotte Nichol’s new book ‘What Moves You? Shaping Your Dissertation in Dance’, which was published in March 2017 by Routledge.
Keen to undertake further study, I am interested in the representation of cultural identities in dance (with a particular focus on African Disasporic forms), as well as cultural policy and arts management.
This site is a way for me to keep track of what I’m doing, as well as to share my thoughts, ideas and experiences of working in the dance industry.
LinkedIn: Emily Labhart