A dancer, choreographer, and writer, Emily Coates has directed the Dance Studies curriculum housed in Theater Studies at Yale since its inception in 2006 and holds a secondary appointment at Yale School of Drama. In 1992, she received the School of American Ballet Mae L. Wein Award for Outstanding Promise and joined New York City Ballet that same year. She has performed internationally with NYCB, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Twyla Tharp Dance, and since 2006 with Yvonne Rainer. Career highlights include performing three duets with Baryshnikov in works by Mark Morris, Karole Armitage, and Erick Hawkins; principal roles in ballets by George Balanchine; Lucinda Childs’ seminal solo Carnation; and the breadth of Rainer’s work, from Trio A to her 21st century creations. Coates was also among the last generation of NYCB dancers to work closely with Robbins, on West Side Story Suite, 2 & 3 Part Inventions, and Brandenburg.
Her solo and collaborative work has been presented by Danspace Project, Ballet Memphis, Performa, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim, among others. In the realm of theater, she has choreographed for Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale, directed by Liz Diamond; James Bundy’s Arcadia; and The Square Root of Three Sisters, directed by Dmitry Krymov. Through the New York Live Arts Suitcase Fund, she has served as a mentor to emerging women dance artists in Burkina Faso through Compagnie August-Bienvenue’s initiative Engagement Féminin. With Burkinabe dance artist Lacina Coulibaly, she has co-created two original dances and numerous workshops. Her newest performance piece Incarnations will premiere at Danspace Project in 2017.
With particle physicist Sarah Demers, she is co-authoring a book on physics and dance, forthcoming from Yale University Press. Other writings have appeared in PAJ: A Journal of Performance and Art, The Huffington Post, and (forthcoming) in a Paris Opera exhibition catalogue on American choreographers who have worked for the Paris Opera Ballet. Her awards and distinctions include a Martha Duffy Memorial Fellowship at the Baryshnikov Arts Center, Yale’s Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching, a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation in the category of Public Understanding of Science, Technology, and Economics, and a fall 2016 fellowship at the Center for Ballet and the Arts. She graduated magna cum laude with a BA in English and holds an MA in American Studies from Yale. She teaches the course “The Choreographic Imagination” for Yale School of Drama.