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EC Faces: Emily Stewart: Dancing Queen, Young & Sweet

Ever since attending an elementary school talent show when she was five, Emily Stewart ‘15 knew she wanted to pursue Irish Step Dance.

“Dancing is so important to me and I love it! It has just become my way of life,” she said.

And now she’s incorporating her accounting studies into that life. That’s how she ended up here. Coming from California, where Irish Step isn’t as popular, Boston was an easy choice.

Her teacher, Attracta Quinn, was a big factor in making the big move. Having taken workshop classes with her, Stewart knew she wanted to train one-on-one with her.

Things have been going well for her since she moved to Boston. Stewart placed 20th in a field of 92 participants in the Summer Nationals 2011 competition. After joining Quinn’s school, she finished first in the Summer Nationals the following year.

“I owe all my success to her,” said Stewart. “She is my dance teacher, but she’s like my life mentor.”

Stewart practices six times a week for about two hours, and does cross training to build stamina.

If you have ever seen step dancing, you know it is challenging.

The rules are strict. A dancer’s arms must remain by her side the entire routine. Attire is also a big deal. Hair must be curled, or a wig may be used, along with layers of makeup and a unique dress.

Judges determine score based on timing to music, posture, footwork, technique, and overall performance.

Now, sitting at a table at Panera that is covered with accounting textbooks and papers, she looks hard at work.

“Sometimes I do feel like I don’t have enough time,” said Stewart. “I just do everything I can to keep everything balanced.”

And she seems to be succeeding at striking that balance.

In November she went to Ireland to compete for a long weekend, which meant missing classes. Despite the demand of dance Stewart is involved in the Honors Program and a TA for a First Year Seminar class.

For a while Stewart will have some time off before competing at the next big competition, All Scotland Championships in February and then Worlds held in London in April.

Stewart plans to continue her dancing career through senior year, but hopes to get her license to teach and become Quinn’s assistant at some point, but that comes with some sacrifice.

In order to take a teaching exam, an applicant must be twenty-one and agree to not compete competitively ever again. She said she will make that decision when the time comes.

Underneath the wig of curls, mounds of make-up and bejeweled dress there is a typical college student who, as Stewart puts it “is having a unique college experience.”

Posted by on January 31, 2014. Filed under Around Campus,EC Faces. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

2 Responses to EC Faces: Emily Stewart: Dancing Queen, Young & Sweet

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