We had the good fortune of connecting with Emeline Lotherington and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Emeline, what role has risk played in your life or career?
When I was 3, I was at the playground with my grandpa asking him to push me higher and higher on the swing set. When I was at the peak of the swing pendulum, I announced with a smile, “Grandpa, I’m letting go!” and released the safety of my swing, giving my grandpa a moment’s notice to save me. Thankfully, he managed to catch me and I’m still here to tell the story, so you could say that risk has always been a big part of my life. I’ve made an effort to experiment with risk in lots of different life areas; testing how much of my fear is perceived rather than from calculatable outcomes. This includes social, professional, and artistic situations; for example, showing up to auditions or applying for jobs that I want but have big doubts I’ll get, “making the first move”, or in terms of Dance Break, launching new programs or workshops where you never really know how people will respond until it’s out there. I think I speak for all creatives too, when I say that the vulnerability in putting your creative work public can feel like a massive risk. I think the fear of taking risks, stunts people from elevating past a certain level of growth; and that can translate to more than one area of their life; so I do my best to always be pushing my boundaries. Generally, if it’s something that scares me, I’ll go further in that direction. I see “taking a risk” as the goal, with the outcome being the learning experience. This means, my goal isn’t necessarily to have my desired outcome; that’s just a perk. And, sometimes my desired outcome isn’t what works best in the end! I choose to view everything as a learning experience which also reduces my feelings of failure and increases my feelings of constant growth and expansion. It amazes me how many talented and hard-working dancers that I admire will say, “I could never….”, “I don’t know how…”, or “I’m not ready” about starting their own program or really pursuing their vision. To that, I say “do it”. Whatever it is you’re thinking of doing, do it. It’s may be way harder than you thought it would be, with so many more details, tasks, and roadblocks than you expected. But the empowerment you get in attaining the knowledge, skillset, and resources you need to succeed, is beyond anything else and is tangible. Those lessons and skills are things that will carry on with you whether your vision “succeeds” or “fails”. You also see how anyone could do “it”, but there’s that barrier of fear holding so many at bay. 1 year ago, I would have NEVER expected myself to be a studio or business owner. It wasn’t something I envisioned in this capacity, as I generally function best as a lone wolf. But diving in head first into Dance Break specifically, has been the single, largest learning and growth experience I’ve had to date. The most unexpected, stress-inducing, and rewarding moments have happened on my journey of bringing my visions to fruition, forcing me to be adaptable and to constantly take a good hard look at myself in order to improve. I do think the key has been constantly striving to push past my self-limiting beliefs and to find that healthy dose of risk every day, that keeps Dance Break evolving and going. A daily choice to let go of the swing set and see where I land.
Alright, so for those in our community who might not be familiar with your business, can you tell us more?
Dance-break.com and @takeadancebreak, is my creative brain-baby that was born during the start of the 2020 pandemic. I had just lost my new job of leading an elementary school dance program in LA and moved home to further pursue my side job of video editing. I found this lovely crossroads between dance and technology happening with everything going online, and I decided to dive in. With some trial-and-error, we have evolved to becoming a hybrid between a dance-training studio and dance-production studio. We have daily dance classes taught by industry professionals in the concert and commercial world. Then we have monthly community events called #DANCEBREAKCREATES, where groups of dancers take a Master Class then produce their own dance film from the choreography. It’s incredible seeing the creativity and HEART that is in every piece. I have received some of the most moving messages about the projects, how some are moved to tears, or how a piece is an ode to a certain place or experience that is important to the dancer. In addition, seeing some dancers come for a jazz funk class, but then start learning and improving in other styles is so exciting to me. As someone who grew up training in only classical ballet, to later finding love in hip hop, dancehall, modern, contemporary and so many other styles, it’s incredible seeing dancers branch out and challenge themselves to try something new. That’s what we’re all about at Dance Break. Dance Break is a place to be yourself. It’s somewhere you can be creative, express yourself, and CREATE with a supportive community. It’s somewhere you can feel respected no matter what identity you are or where you come from. I think the connection piece is pinnacle in a dance studio, making sure everyone who comes through Dance Break feels seen and important. That their movement makes a difference and that their dancing is so much more than their facility or the amount of tricks they can do. And that you don’t have to be the person doing all the tricks or extensions to still create beautiful, moving art. (Although if you got ’em, you go!) We aim to empower people to bring their visions to life!
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
Wow, I’m a very big introvert and don’t go out much unless it’s for a dance show! When I’m with friends, my favorite thing to do is get some great vegan food, maybe some mimosas or kombucha, and hang out in a grassy park. Bonus points if someone has an instrument and wants to sing and make music, or shoot a dance film, of course! I always love visiting museums also, or checking out a live band or dance show. Hard to remember as I haven’t socialized like this in over a year now!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There seems to be a gene in my family (on both sides), that detests work that feels meaningless or, quite frankly, working for other people. I would shoutout my family of many risk-takers who have chosen to work for themselves even when success is not guaranteed, and who encourage me and pursue my creativity. Binge-listening to NPR’s entrepreneur podcast, “How I Built This” packed me full of relatable stories of how unique the entrepreneur journey can be. From stories of overnight success, 7 years in a treehouse before turning a profit, or carefully budgeting and planning to build an empire, you will really hear it all in that podcast and know that no two business building stories look the same. The awesome Dance Break teachers that believe so whole-heartedly in Dance Break’s mission of bringing the most current dance training to students that involves positive reinforcement, the safety to creatively express themselves and try new things, and to always be questioning the norms in order to not repeat history’s mistakes.