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Check Out Emily Runkle’s Story

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Runkle. Them and their team share their story with us below:

Ballet Embody is Maryland’s premier contemporary ballet company located in Carroll County. Co-founded in 2019 by Emily Runkle and Melissa Lineburg, Ballet Embody produces original classical and contemporary works. 

The concept for Ballet Embody started over beer & wings while a group of bunheads discussed ballet at Buffalo Wild Wings. The group yearned for a synergistic environment where dancers could actively participate in the creation process. Their ideals stretched beyond a collaborative process into a realm that was constructive and where dancers enjoyed and fully embodied their dancing. The dancers’ enjoyment wouldn’t stay hoarded in the rehearsal studio and would extend into theatre spaces, sparking appreciation and enjoyment for audiences. We are energized by our dancers and aim to highlight each of their strengths and personalities through thematic and narrative work. Emily & Melissa co-founded Ballet Embody on April 16, 2019, as a fiscally sponsored organization through Fractured Atlas. 

Emily’s inspiration for her first evening-length work came from the poetic and short stories of Baltimore legend Edgar Allan Poe. Ballet Embody is constantly pushing forward into a new season motivated to create innovative and exciting work. This winter they are premiering The Maryland Nutcracker, a holiday classic with a Maryland twist. 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
One struggle and fantastic learning opportunity has simply been the fact that we’d never started a dance company or any company from the ground up. We have had to learn as we go, navigate our company’s mission, decide and clarify our own roles as co-directors and learn to communicate as clearly and gracefully as possible. 

Alright, so let’s switch gears a bit and talk business. What should we know about your work?
We are a project-based professional contemporary ballet company in the Greater Baltimore Area. We specialize in narrative works, presenting both original story ballets and contemporary pieces that often have a narrative through line. We are known for our inaugural performances of Edgar Allan Poe stories – turned- ballets; our new Maryland-themed Nutcracker Act 2; and using a range of music for our works, from classical to rock and pop music. 

We are most proud of the environment and culture that we are curating within our company. We prioritize our dancers’ mental and physical health as well as their individual artistic fulfillment. They are more than just “bodys” and are what makes our company a collaborative and supportive environment. 

We’d be interested to hear your thoughts on luck and what role, if any, you feel it’s played for you?
We approach our work knowing that we make our own luck. Being open to as many opportunities as possible, we increase the chance of their occurrence. For instance, our ballet interpretations of Edgar Allan Poe’s work caught the eye of the International Edgar Allan Poe Festival, and being based near Poe’s hometown Baltimore, we were invited to perform at this year’s festival as well as appear on the local news. From cold calls to daily social media posts and taking initiative to emailing dance organizations, we try our best to put ourselves out there. 

Contact Info:

Image Credits
Francisco Jauregui

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