Today, we honor Emily Hart-Lopez as a Pink Love Purveyor. I met Emily through M.O.V.E (Motivation Opportunity Vision Entertainment), an organization dedicated to "providing people of all ages with the resources and platforms to produce socially responsible artistic projects and programs." I am so grateful that I get the opportunity to share her Work with all of you.
💕Hi, Emily! Thank you for sharing your story with us. Could you tell us “a lot a bit” about you?
I am a professional performing artist based in NYC. I was born and raised mostly in Charleston, S.C and Dallas, T.X. I have been in the arts for the majority of my life and graduated from The University of North Carolina School of the Arts with a B.F.A in Dance. Since graduating in 2016, I have been living and working as a professional dancer, dance educator, and actor in NYC via dance companies, freelancing, and in schools. My mission is to become a full-time performing artist and carve out resources and pathways to make the performing arts a more fully sustainable and valued profession in society.
💕As a former spoken word artist, I always welcomed more spaces to creatively express myself. How have you been holding up during the present climate? What have you been doing for your own self-care?
This time has been great for introspection, decision making, connection, and training. Being enrolled in online dance training, teaching online, having more access to industry information, and promoting my own online presence has been helpful in keeping me motivated. For my own wellness, I have enjoyed having more time to meditate, practice yoga, and cook at home. Honestly having a chance to be more isolated (not take the subway) and get to focus on my own goals and desires without so many deadlines is helping my mental, emotional, physical, and spiritual wellbeing.
💕We often don’t think about how some things affect our health. For New Yorkers, sometimes the only isolation we get is on the train. I have heard people say that having a moment to slow down has been very helpful for them. What have you been doing within your community to help with their self or personal care?
I have been hosting my own online HartHeels dance classes to try to connect my community and uplift their spirits. Additionally, I’ve been able to be a part of my friend’s collaboration project for the COVID Relief Fund and involved in teaching online to dance studio students (exposing them to more Latino culture), as well as an online fitness group teaching dance to help motivate adults to keep moving.
💕Wow! That’s amazing! What inspired you to do the Work that you are doing within your community during this time or were you already doing this Work?
I was already teaching my HartHeels classes, but this time inspired me to make it more consistent. I feel that the online market for dance classes is so packed right now. I want to be a face of earlier career artists who are putting their work out there and creating communities of their own that don’t need celebrity or large online streaming dance studios to be the only offer on the market right now. I want my classes to always remain affordable to dancers and non-pro artists in order to keep the message alive that dance and the arts is accessible and not just a business. I have been inspired to keep my classes going to promote local artists and smaller communities to connect, but additionally find ways to support the artists for their craft and their business.
💕Can people join or support your efforts? If so, how?
People can definitely support my efforts. They are welcome to promote my online flyers for my classes and events (as well as the ones I share of my colleagues and peers). They can attend our classes and give donations if they can. Most of all, if anyone knows any information or resources regarding philanthropy or can connect me to philanthropists, I would love to learn more on this topic and find more ways to advocate for my mission. My goal is to minimize the wage gap between celebrity artists and freelancers or small performing arts companies, especially during this time when much of our work is on hold.
💕What tips would you offer for those that may find themselves struggling through these tough times?
I would suggest that we limit some of our screen time and social media intake if possible. Right now, many of us have had to switch to online learning and work, but at times the amount of screen time can be overwhelming. Even being on social media can lead to a lot of comparison and self-doubt. Use this time to listen to your intuition and inner call. This is a chance to do what you feel and want for yourself and those you love, without perhaps as many demands. You have every right to be as motivated as you want or as calm, still, and relaxed as you need. Listen to what leads you and dive deeper into that instinct.
💕Well said. Sometimes we have to set boundaries around how much we take in during the day. In closing, can you share something you learned about yourself during this time?
I have learned to doubt my ideas less, to step up and advocate for myself and my beliefs more. I have learned that I already have a platform and my mission has only heightened. I have learned that sometimes we have to take bigger risks, let go, and do what is uncomfortable in order to make bigger strides that will fulfill our purpose.
To stay connected to Emily:
IG - @hartheels