2015-16 Performance Series Choreographer: Emily Cargill


Reference: Braided Light Dance Project 2013 Photo: Trib La Prade | 904 568 8742
Reference: Braided Light Dance Project 2013 Photo: Trib La Prade

I started Emily Cargill and Dancers in 2013 after moving back to Atlanta from Jacksonville Beach, FL. I was Co-Artistic of Braided Light Dance Project in FL and that ignited the flame to start ECD once I moved back to Atlanta.

meadow by a train. 2012- Braided Light Dance Project, 2013- Modern Atlanta Dance Festival, 2014- Dixon Place, NYC. Photo by Trib LaPrade

Choreography is something that just makes sense in my brain.  Some people are  good with directions.  Some people are good cooks.  I’m good at making dances. The shaping of the work, the arc of the piece, the movement of the dancers in space- I’m always choreographing.  I have a notebook in my purse that I pull out at least 10 times a day to jot down ideas, inspiration, or my favorite times, when a transition or ‘I finally know what needs to happen next in that duet!’ appears in my mind’s eye.  My dancers are sensational.  We have a very collaborative environment in the rehearsal process.  I swear sometimes they can read my mind.  They inspire me to try new things, find a bizarre answer to a problem, take risks, be bold, be weird, be quiet, be loud.  Choreographing allows my inner thoughts (however crazy they are) to take shape and physically shape the internal images that are constantly floating around in my head.  

                                           Photo by Kathleen Wessel

ECD is working on several big projects right now.  Currently, I am choreographing for the January Dance Canvas performance series at the Rialto Theatre.  (Which we couldn’t be more thrilled about!!)  This piece is very different for me in terms of imagery and content.  Think women who have been told they have to mold to societal norms meets drag queens at a disco.  This concept alone has led to some very interesting, bizarre, strange movement material and motifs and is definitely encouraging me to make unfamiliar choreographic choices.  I am really inspired and pleasantly surprised with what we are creating.   There is a lot of duet work; I love the duet form, mixed with a lot of quirky, nuanced phrase work and gesture material.  Our Dance Canvas piece is entitled shed and it is an ensemble work with all 8 company members.  

IMG_1294 (1)
Atlanta Beltline Performance, October, 2015, Photo by Emma Lalor

We are also in the midst of working on our April 2016 performance and this is a biggie.  I have commissioned three choreographers, and then also myself, to create a section of this larger evening-length work. Each choreographer is working independently in terms of the organization of their own section , but we are working together to create a larger scoped work that logically and physically makes sense. The choreographers include Atlanta based Erik Thurmond and Kathleen Wessel (and myself) and NYC choreographer and dancer, Kelly Bartnik. 

              Photo by Kathleen Wessel

This piece will be performed at the Vincent D. Murray Theatre located on Grady High School’s midtown campus.  Which is also really exciting because ECD is partnering with the Grady Arts’ Department for this performance – ECD will be teaching a series of master classes this Spring to dance and theatre students.  We will choreograph a small section that they will have the opportunity to perform alongside ECD during our Thursday night dress rehearsal.

Advice to emerging choreographers……meet people. Expose and promote yourself.  Go out and see EVERYTHING.  Care about others and they will care about you.  Dance is such a small, networked community.  Use that to your advantage.  Find that group that wants to support you!  Talk to people. Don’t be shy.  If you can’t talk highly of what you do, who else will?  Get support by showing support. Give and you shall receive.  It’s the circle of life! (and dance)  Believe in yourself, always push boundaries, don’t play it safe but still hone your distinct voice. It’s easy to get lost in the shuffle.  Don’t make boring dances. If you’ve seen it before, so has your audience.  Create a stir. Make your audience uncomfortable, push the boundaries,  yet at the same time, make them feel as though they are home.  And last but not least, a leap followed by a roll to the floor does not signify loss, injustice, hope, or anger.  Find your own interesting and unique way out of your choreographic box.  🙂

hush. ECD’s Atlanta premiere, performing at Synchronicity Theatre, April, 2014. Photo by Jennifer Clark

About Emily

Reference: Braided Light Dance Project 2013; Dancer Emily Cargill Photo: ©2013 Trib La Prade | 904 568 8742
                                                                                     Photo by Trib LaPrade

Emily Cargill is the founder and artistic director or Emily Cargill and Dancers, an Atlanta-based modern dance company.  

Emily has her MFA in Dance Performance and Choreography from Florida State University and her BA in Dance from James Madison University.  Emily has taught dance appreciation, modern and ballet technique as an adjunct instructor of dance at Spelman College, located in Atlanta, GA.  She has also been on faculty at Kennesaw State University, where she taught all levels of modern technique, Georgia College and State University, where she taught modern and jazz technique, improvisation and Yoga, and Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, located in Jacksonville, where she taught modern technique, composition and Yoga/Conditioning for Dancers. Emily has also been on faculty at the Atlanta Ballet, Georgia Ballet, Atlanta Academy of Ballet and Dance, Callanwolde Fine Arts Center, and the Performing Arts Center of Tallahassee.  

Emily’s work has commissioned by the Florida Dance Festival, Moving Current Dance Collective, Braided Light Dance Project, Jacksonville Dance Theater, Staibdance, the Atlanta Ballet, the MAD Festival, NYC 10 Dance Festival, Detroit Dance City Festival, Douglas Anderson School of the Arts, Kennesaw State University, James Madison University, Washington and Lee University and Georgia College and State University.

Emily has her 200-hour Yoga certification and teaches Yoga and barre classes at Svelte Fitness.

Thank you giving us a glimpse into your captivating choreographic process and ECD, Emily! Want to read more about Emily Cargill and Dancers? Click here

Don’t miss Emily’s new work, shed, premiering with Dance Canvas, January 22nd and 23rd at the Rialto Center for the Arts!

Tickets are on sale now! You can purchase them by clicking the link below.

Buy Tickets Here!

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