Spotlight: Emma Portner On The Surprisingly Bad Advice She Once Received
It’s easy to feel whiplashed thinking about everything Emma Portner has achieved in such a short amount of time. Last fall, the 23-year-old was the youngest woman ever to choreograph a West End production (it was based on Meat Loaf’s greatest hits). This was, of course, after she already choreographed and starred in Justin Bieber’s viral hit “Life is Worth Living,” and before she charmed major media outlets when she secretly married actress Ellen Page. Now, she’s L.A. Dance Project’s first-ever artist in residence, and she’s working on a commission for Toronto’s Fall for Dance North Festival.
We caught up with her for our “Spotlight” series:
What do you think is the most common misconception about dancers?
When I meet new people and tell them that I am a dancer, their first questions are usually something like “Where do you dance?” or “What’s your company called?” As a freelance dance artist and choreographer, it’s a little more difficult to respond to that.
What was the last dance performance you saw?
Malpaso Dance Company at The Music Center in Los Angeles
What other career would you like to try?
Film directing or real estate
What’s the most-played song on your phone?
Pool Party by Julia Jacklin
What’s the first item on your bucket list?
Write a screenplay
Do you have a pre-performance ritual?
Arrive hours early for mental preparation, abdominals, push-ups, caffeine and “save it for the stage.”
Where can you be found two hours after a performance ends?
In this phase of my life, sitting in my backyard with anyone who came to support the performance.
What’s your favorite book?
Any book by Rebecca Solnit
Where did you last vacation?
Joshua Tree, California
What app do you spend the most time on?
Who is the person you most want to dance with—living or dead?
To name a few: Ian Eastwood, Crystal Pite, Alexander Ekman, Justin Peck, and I always love dancing with my wife, Dana Wilson, Patrick Cook, Bobbi Jene Smith, Ajani Johnson-Goffe and Aidan Carberry
What’s your go-to cross-training routine?
What’s the worst advice you’ve ever received?
That I shouldn’t move to New York
If you could relive one performance, what would it be?
Michelle Dorrance’s first Myelination premiere for the Fall For Dance Festival at New York City Center or my Capezio Ace Awards piece “Let Go or Be Dragged” with some of my best friends in the world