About the Artistic Director




Emerson’s love of performing began at age 11 when she was chosen to perform the lead role of Clara in The Nutcracker with the Minnesota Ballet Company. Having tried and loved her first ballet class at age four, she began serious study of classical ballet by age eight. Throughout the years she added additional training in Contemporary and Neoclassical Ballet, Pas De Deux, Modern, Jazz, Ballroom & Latin (Waltz, Viennese Waltz, Samba, West & East Coast Swing, Cha Cha), acting, and various other dance styles. She began choreographing at age nine, which led to her beginning her dance ministry at age fourteen. After graduating high school at age 16, she trained and performed with the Storling Dance Theater professional company. When Emerson was 17, she grew her dance ministry into a professional classical and contemporary ballet company, Anazao Dance Company. At age 19, she was honored to become an instructor for the Missouri Contemporary Ballet professional company.

Emerson has been a company member with VidaDance Company, East Coast Ballet, AnazaoDance Company, and Infinity Company, and has also performed as a soloist and/or ensemble dancer with The Moscow BalletThe Culture House, Lexington Ballet Youth Company, Kansas City Ballet Company School, Mid-Missouri Dance Theater and others.

Emerson has performed in over 50 individual pieces and 30 shows, as well as create her own original choreography. Her Sherlock Holmes-inspired ensemble group piece, Discombobulate, was selected to be the featured student choreography in the Indiana University Ballet Intensive showcase, and many of her other pieces have been featured in multiple productions including Reflections In A Puddle Art Series, Storling Dance Theater’s “DANCE concert,  Southland Christian Church – KY, Steps Dance Studio, an Easter Passion Play, charity events, and Project Dance.

A few of the places she has studied include Kansas City Ballet, Kansas School of Classical Ballet, Lexington Ballet, Ballet North, BalletMet, and Indiana University, and she has worked with many respected instructors and choreographers throughout the years, including world-renowned dancer/choreographer and Indiana University’s Chair of Dance Michael Vernon; Bill Hotaling, founder of Manhattan Dance Project; Juan Trujillo and Stefani Schrimpf of Kansas City Ballet; Luis and Nancy Dominguez of Lexington Ballet Company and Dance Theater of Harlem; Jennifer Owen of Owen-Cox Dance; and Mona Storling-Enna and Tobin James of Storling Dance Theater.

She has earned a Certificate in Biblical Studies from Liberty University while pursuing a degree in Religion: Biblical and Theological Studies. She also has earned an Apologetics Certificate from Ravi Zacharias International Ministries Academy.

You can read Emerson’s resume at EmersonMertens.com

Emerson is grateful to be able to share her love of the arts through teaching dancers of all ages and levels. She is honored to have worked with so many dedicated and talented artists throughout the years, and looks forward to continued performing, choreographing, and teaching for many years to come.

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