Emily Climer is a dancer and writer based in Brooklyn, NY.  The cultivation and exposure of ensemble communication processes in improvised forms—and the challenge of building those layers of meaning in set choreographic forms—is central to Emily’s work. She has recently shown her dances as part of Sundays on Broadway (NYC), Split Bill at Triskelion Arts (NYC), The Third Barn (PA), and the No Theme Performance Festival (NY). Emily has performed in projects by Mina Nishimura, Susan Sgorbati & Elliot Caplan, Emma Rose Brown, Dustin Maxwell, Tori Lawrence + Co., Tiny Trip, and Tyler Rai. She regularly collaborates with dancer Marie Lynn Haas, as well as teaches Susan Sgorbati’s Emergent Improvisation. She is an administrator for Cathy Weis Projects and a teacher of afterschool movement and puppet classes at M.A.P.S. (Music Art Puppet Sound). 


Emily is deeply interested in applications of the mediation, communication, and adaptive structuring processes she has learned through her dance making to work within social systems. In addition to performing and choreographing, she works in education. Emily was a member of the literacy team of Student Achievement Partners from 2012-2014, and currently writes and edits materials for young readers as part of the Humanities Team at Great Minds, a Washington, D.C. nonprofit. Emily received a BA from Bennington College and an MFA from the University of Iowa.

Artist Statement

When I make dances, I examine what it means to embody form as a community.

In some dances, people agree to re-live decisions made in advance of the performance. I act as choreographer and play with memory and repetition to expose multiple layers of meaning in a single choreographic event. Other times, the people on stage work in the moment to make decisions collaboratively. In these improvisations, the negotiation of the form happens spontaneously through the dancers' bodies.

Right now, I weave together highly set choreographic forms with open-ended improvisations as a way of asking questions about the negotiation of power inherent in collective composing. I wonder how visible the movement of power can be in a dance, as it shifts between audience, performers, and choreographer. I foreground the experience of being a body navigating different structuring processes, composing with the known and the unknown.

I work collaboratively with other dancers to build movement worlds that wrestle with agreement and disagreement, chaos and order, and freedom and restraint. Together, we consider how the dancing ensemble—in how it disagrees, deals with uncertainty, and responds to change—might act as a microcosm for how groups of people work together to compose out in the world.

photos by Olympia Shannon