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Meet Emilie Skinner

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emilie Skinner.

Every artist has a unique story. Can you briefly walk us through yours?
I started ballet lessons at age 6 and instantly developed an intense love for the art form. Though like most relationships, over time, it became more of a love/hate dynamic. I dealt with the physical and emotional strains that come with spending hours each day in the studio, trying to reach perfection. Heavily influenced by my older brother, I also grew up watching horror films, attending punk rock shows in downtown Houston and skateboarding. I used to joke with a fellow dancer who had similar interests that one day we would have our own company and create punk rock ballets. Fast forward about 20 years, and here we are. In 2011, I founded Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet (DNCB) and have been showcasing the bizarre side of ballet ever since.

Please tell us about your art.
I make ballets! I pull inspiration from films, music, historical works as well as both political and artistic movements. Themes in my work have centered around Dadaist and Futurist concepts, celebrated films such as Suspiria, La Jetée and Tatarsky’s Solaris, and explored scientific theories and the cosmos through movement. I also studied French, lived in Caen for a summer and worked in the Dallas French community for over six years, Given I am a complete Francophile, I am often drawn to early 20th-century French works, predominately those by the Ballets Russes. My work regularly features French composers, stories or themes but most of all, I aim to demonstrate that ballerinas aren’t just about Sugar Plums and princesses we too have a dark side that can bring about something truly unique and renegade.

Choosing a creative or artistic path comes with many financial challenges. Any advice for those struggling to focus on their artwork due to financial concerns?
I have not yet figured out the key to financial success. If anyone has, let me know! You just have to love what you do and what you create to make it worth your time, energy and money.

How or where can people see your work? How can people support your work?
My company’s new season has just begun, and we (Dallas Neo-Classical Ballet) have some exciting things in store over the next couple of months. On September 22, I will premiere a new ballet inspired by and paired with The Umbrellas of Cherbourg by Jacques Demy, 1964. This new ballet, showing a lighter side to my work, is part of the ARTS TRIANGLE Dance Film Festival happening at the Texas Theatre 3 PM-midnight. We will be on stage at 8 PM.

I am also SUPER stoked for our Halloween programs coming up. Our Horror Series (Oct 5-6 at the Sammons Center for the Arts) is a collection of 6 mini ballets based on horror films, novels, and stories. I have two pieces included in the program: Coven (inspired by the 1977 Italian horror film, Suspiria and Teen Wolf inspired by the totally rad 80’s movie of the same name! Other works include The Birds by Dallas-based visual artist Jeff Gibbons, Annabelle by company member Whitney Hart, Misery by Ballet Mistress Erin Boone and Silent Hill by guest choreographer Elise Lavallee. The second event is Halloween night at the Texas Theatre. We will show Coven and a second piece inspired by Suspiria by guest artist Marielle McGregor and the film will be shown via a new 4K restoration print.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Sharen Bradford (The Dancing Image), Dutch Rall

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