Posting Date: October 02, 2013

Meet Emmie Graham: A dancer inspired by movement

By Zola Matingu           

Emmie Graham

photo by Shane McDonald

Emmie Graham has been dancing since she was 4 years old, but a defining moment came when she turned 12. Emmie had the chance to watch “An Evening of Dance,” a modern-jazz dance performance with the Susan Barnes Dance Company. A few years later, in 2005, she had the opportunity to perform with the same company, and she knew then that she wanted to dance for the rest of her life.


A native of Carbondale, Illinois, Emmie came to Kennesaw State University to study dance in 2011, after one of her friends, who works with the Atlanta Ballet, told her about the program. “He told me about the auditions that were taking place for the Department of Dance,” she remembers. “I auditioned and I got accepted in the program. Coming to KSU is the best decision I have ever made as a dancer.”


Now a senior pursuing a Bachelor of Arts in Dance with a concentration in ballet, Emmie is inspired by movement and has a passion for dance. “I like the feeling of moving the body through space; the goal is to become the movement, not just perform a movement,” she explains.


Chair of the Department of Dance Ivan Pulinkala has seen Emmie‘s commitment to her craft. “Emmie is a committed and driven student who has a driving passion for dance,” Pulinkala says. “Over the past few years at KSU, she has continually challenged herself to grow both technically and artistically. Today, she moves with a level of sophistication, and understands the subtleties of movement quality that distinguish her among her peers.”


Emmie has worked on two of Pulinkala’s choreographies, which she credits for furthering her skills as a dancer. “Those performances not only showed me how to use my whole body in movement, but they allowed me also to focus on the small details of my movement, and how those details make the dance come together as whole,” Emmie says. “Being in these dances also gave me the opportunity to perform at many different venues, including the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. Having so many opportunities to perform has greatly improved my dancing.”


As she continues learning her craft, Emmie’s focus is unshakable; she is determined to become a professional dancer for a dance company in Chicago or San Francisco. But her seriousness to achieve her goal doesn’t prevent her from enjoying her journey at KSU. She loves the opportunities that the Department of Dance offers to its students, including exposure to a variety of dances; she even took a course of African dance that she really enjoyed.


Emmie’s advice for any young aspiring dancer is something she learned at a 2012 summer dance camp in San Francisco at the Alonzo King LINES Ballet: “You have to be open, gracious, honest, and sincere with yourself and your movement. Know that you always have something to say, and dance from the inside out. It makes dancing more enjoyable for yourself, and it will make people want to watch you dance.”




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