Emily Coates

Emily Coates's picture
Assistant Professor Adjunct of Theater Studies, Yale College Assistant Professor Adjunct of Directing, Yale School of Drama

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, and Twyla Tharp Dance. Since 2006, she has performed and toured with Yvonne Rainer and Group. Dance 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 and Jerome Robbins; Lucinda Childs’ seminal solo Carnation; Christopher Janney’s Heartbeat, originally performed by Sara Rudner and later Baryshnikov; and the breadth of Rainer’s work, from Three Satie Spoons (1961) and Trio A (1966) to her six twenty-first century creations. Coates was also among the last generation of NYCB dancers to work closely with Robbins, on West Side Story Suite (1995), 2 & 3 Part Inventions (1994) and Brandenburg (1997).

Coates’s solo and collaborative work as a choreographer has been presented by Danspace Project, Ballet Memphis, Performa, and Works & Process at the Guggenheim, among other venues. She has collaborated with Burkinabe dance artist Lacina Coulibaly on two works of cross-cultural exchange, the duet Ici Ou Ailleurs/Here or Anyplace Else (2010) and Ou Que Nous Soyons/Wherever We Are (2011), a group dance for Ballet Memphis. In the realm of theater, she has choreographed for Stravinsky’s The Soldier’s Tale (2014), directed by Liz Diamond, James Bundy’s Arcadia (2014), and Dmitry Krymov’s The Square Root of Three Sisters (2016), among others. 

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, Theater, and most recently a Paris Opera exhibition catalogue on American choreographers working at the Opera. 

In addition to teaching at Yale, she has taught master classes internationally. In 2014, she mentored four female choreographers in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso, sponsored by the New York Live Arts’ Suitcase Fund, as part of the initiative Engagement Féminin. She is also one of five “Trio A transmitters,” dancers anointed by Yvonne Rainer to teach her seminal dance.

 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 is currently completing a PhD in American Studies at Yale on touch-points between dance and science. 

Her performance project Incarnations will premiere at Danspace Project in 2017.