Skip to main content

Teacher brings experience back to the Sudbury dance studio that helped start her career


Eighteen years after Emily Murray started dancing, she is back in the Sudbury studio where her training began to help teach the next generation.

For two weeks this month, Murray will be at Dance Evolution teaching aspiring dancers of all ages, and she’s doing it with experience many dancers only dream of having.

“It’s been inspiring for me and I hope, as well, for the dancers that I teach," she said.

"I just think it’s so important to give back to the community that you came from and just really expose people in this community that maybe aren’t aware of the art forms that we have here and the talent here."

Murray trained at Canada's National Ballet School when she was 13, before joining Ballet Kelowna in 2020.

“I’m just lucky to call Sudbury home and I’m just so glad that I can come back home here and just teach and have amazing experiences,” she said.

Emily Caruso Parnell, the head of ballet at Dance Evolution, said a guest teacher like Murray is a chance for young dancers to see where their hard work and determination can lead them.

“It’s a bit of a magical combination, having both the physical talent and ability to be able to dance professionally and also the work ethic that it takes to be able to dance professionally,” said Caruso Parnell.

“It’s great for students to see that there is a career pathway there, that there are options. So it gives them a sense of some possibilities.”

For Caruso Parnell, Murray coming back is extra special, because she helped start her training so many years ago.

“It’s really lovely for me,” she said.

“I’ve had lots of students go on to careers in dance and teaching and arts administration in different ways, but Emily is quite special in that she’s pursuing a performing career in classic ballet, which is extremely difficult.”

With years of professional ballet training behind her, Emily Murray taught the next generation at Dance Evolution for two weeks this month. (Alana Pickrell/CTV News)

As for Murray, she credits Caruso Parnell for the direction her dance has taken her.

“When I was younger I didn’t think that I would want to be a ballet dancer, that was never really my goal," she said.

"I just loved to dance, I loved to move."

Caruso Parnell suggested the national ballet school, but Murray said she had to be convinced.

"I didn’t initially want to go because I just loved all forms of dance," she said.

"But when I went that was when I really realized that ballet was something that my heart just connected to."

In her two weeks at Dance Evolution this summer, Murray said she taught a wide range of talented students. And students appreciated what she taught them.

“I feel like it’s really cool," said Kanessa, 16.

"It’s a really good experience to get the chance to learn from somebody new and get somebody else’s perspective."

Each dancer took something different from the experience.

“For me, being a teacher here at this studio it’s great getting new tips and tricks for my students from someone else’s point of view,” said Jacob, also 16.

Although Murray could only stay for two weeks this summer, she hopes to be back in the future and her plan is to continue dancing professionally for as long as she can.

“Being a dancer is such a big part of my identity,” she said.

“Every single decision that I’ve made since I was like five years old has been towards dancing and my training and now my career and so it’s just kind of embedded in my soul, being a dancer, and I just am so lucky that this is my career now.”

As for Dance Evolution, the studio is gearing up for season 15 with early-bird registration just a week away. Top Stories

Stay Connected