Meet Northwest Dance Theatre’s Emma Anderson

Hometown Glory by Alise Craig-Dixon – featured in Peter and the Wolf and Other Works 2015 spring program

Each NWDT dancer has his or her own story to bring to the audience. Over the past few years, Emma Anderson has grown as a dancer, as her hard work and dedication to her art form has been evident with the joy she emits onstage. This giving spirit has made her a wonderful role model for younger dancers and her peers alike. While we will miss Emma’s presence here at NWDT, we are also excited for her as she graduates and begins her next life chapter. We are very proud of Emma and her achievements, both on and off stage, and wish her the very best in all her future endeavors. We hope you join us next month for Snow White and Other Works  in celebration of the beauty Emma and her peers bring to our community through dance! Come see the next generation of brilliant young professionals perform April 14th and 15th, 2018, at the PCC Sylvania Performing Arts Center.

In this interview, Emma shares with us what she looks forward in this year’s spring production, as well as her favorite NWDT moments and the lessons she will carry with her into the future.


Where do you train?

June Taylor’s School of Dance

When did you join NWDT? 

2014-2015 (my freshman year)

What is your favorite company memory?

Photo by Lindsay Hile Photography

My favorite company memories are the tech and dress rehearsals before each show because I love going to the theater all day and being backstage.

What do you love most about performing?

I love everything about performing–the amount of work that goes into it, the costumes, the sets. I love being able to transform my character onstage, and I love that the audience has no idea how hard we’re working or anything about what happens backstage. I love the mystery and the magic of it all, and how time stops in the theater and everyone is transported into the world of the characters onstage

What was your favorite role to dance and why?

I loved being a rat in the nutcracker, because as a child, I always loved watching the older girls dance as rats. I knew the steps before I could even do them and I loved the costumes.

Photo by Lindsay Hile Photography

What challenges have you learned to overcome as a dancer?

I’ve learned to push past my own discomfort and my doubts about myself, because there is always room for improvement, which is the beauty of dance. I’ve also learned that everyone learns and improves at a different pace, which has been difficult to deal with for most of the time I’ve been dancing.

How has your work with NWDT impacted you? 

Being in NWDT has obviously improved my dancing abilities, but it’s helped me academically because it’s important to be able to juggle a tough course load and extracurriculars at the same time. Being in the company, which takes about 15 hours every week, has taught me about time management and hard work.

A Nutcracker Tea 2016 (Emma pictured on right) Photo by Lindsay Hile Photography

Who has inspired you the most? 

My peers have inspired me the most. Being able to watch the same girls that I danced with as a child grow up to be such beautiful, talented dancers has been inspiring for me and helped me to believe that I can do the same.

What is your favorite piece in this year’s spring show?

I really enjoy the piece Crunchy Granola because broadway jazz is my favorite type of dance. I love the music and the articulate steps and the whole feeling of the piece.

What are your future plans and goals?

In college, I want to major in mathematics or accounting, since I want to be an accountant, and I want to minor in music. I love playing in an orchestra, because it has the performance element of dance, but it’s not nearly as much about the appearance as it is about the music. I do want to continue dancing at least a little, though I may only take a few classes since I want to focus more on music.

Nutcracker Tea 2017 | Photo by Colleen Dishy Photography

What lessons will you take away with you from your time with the company?

I will remember the importance of hard work and determination, because for the last twelve or thirteen years, that’s all I’ve known to be true. Success requires hard work, and I know I can achieve that if I put my mind to it.

What is on your mind as you prepare for your last NWDT performance?

As I get ready to leave the company, I’m trying to focus on all of the good experiences I’ve had. I’m sure I’ll be very emotional as the last performance approaches, because while I’m excited to go to college, I’m also sad to leave the company and also the studio where I’ve danced and performed my whole life. During the shows, I’m going to do my best to remember everything about the theater, my friends, and what it feels like to dance onstage, since this may be my last time.

Snow White and Other Works will be held April 14 at 6:00pm and April 15 at 2pm at PCC Sylvania. Tickets run $12-18 ($10 for youth) and are available at Please contact 503-925-3898 or email for more information.