Emily Upcraft (1)


How long have you been working with Stagelight?
3 years
What do you love most about your job?
I love watching the students grow over the course of the season and fall in love with dance styles that I also love! I also enjoy watching them discover who they are as a mover and gain confidence.
What do you enjoy doing outside of work?
I love to visit coffee shops, hang out with my family and take dance classes myself! I also love to play Animal Crossing New Horizons for a lazy day at home.
What are 3 fun facts about you?
1. I love plants and have a lot of them.
2. My pinky toes don’t touch the floor unless I make them.
3. My favorite dog is a dachshund.
Why did you choose to pursue a career in your field?
I started dancing later in life and fell in love with it. I never knew what my future had in store for me until dance came along. I love the discipline, artistry, and community that it brings.
If you weren’t a teacher, what other job could you see yourself pursuing?
I could see myself as a photographer, coffee shop owner or something else that has a creative aspect to it.
What’s your favorite musical, movie, and/or show?
My favorite shows are The Crown and New Girl.


Contemporary/Modern, Ballet, & Jazz

Emily Cortez was born and raised in Southern California. She began dancing at the age of 13, with a focus on hip hop and jazz. Once she was 15, Emily decided to incorporate lyrical, ballet and contemporary into her training. By the time she graduated from high school, she was very serious about her dance training and wanted to make a career out of it. Emily attended Mt. San Antonio College for 3 years and was a part of their rigorous dance repertory program. During her time at Mt. SAC, she performed in 5 dance concerts, choreographed 3 pieces, submitted her own work to festivals, and helped to coordinate events and scheduling within the department. Emily then graduated from Mt. SAC in 2018 with her AA in Kinesiology and transferred to California State University Fullerton, where she will be obtaining her BA in Dance at the end of Fall 2020. While at CSUF, Emily has had the opportunity to work with and perform pieces by many esteemed choreographers, along with professional company directors and dancers from all over the world. Some of these include Doug Varone, Colin Connor, David Hochoy, Brynn Cohen, Bradley Beakes, Debra Noble, Muriel Joyce, and Dale Merrill. She plans to continue on her path with dance after graduation, whether that be in the form of performing, choreographing, teaching or arts administration. Along with her own personal education, Emily has been teaching dance for 6 years for children ages 2 and up, as well as adults. She is passionate about sharing the art of dance, as well as the discipline, creativity, confidence and joy that it can bring into people’s lives. She also loves being a part of a student’s journey and see’s it as her way of giving back and inspiring young dancers, just as her own teachers have done in her life.

Emily Patricia 3
Emily Cortez 2
Emily Patricia 1