Emily Navarra is an independent dancer/dancemaker based in Chicago, Illinois. She is a B.A. Dance Studies graduate from the University of South Florida and holds a Certificate of Completion in Authentic Movement Training from the European Society of Authentic Movement in Munich, Germany. For the past decade, she has worked under various choreographers such as Iñaki Azpillaga and Wim Vandekeybus (Ultima Vez) and Lloyd Newson (DV8 Physical Theatre) as well as presented her work in the United States, Europe, Southeast Asia, North Africa and the United Kingdom. She is the founder of The Melting Pot, an Art, Dance and Music Festival held in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam which has served as a platform for the arts, encourages engagement in cultural exchange and has brought greater access to the Arts for the general public of HCMC since 2011. She formed Standpoint Theories in 2012, a collaborative project which began as an experimental multimedia performance. From 2013-2015, it transformed into its next installation – “Legends of Vietnam” which retold six Vietnamese legends through dance, visual art, text and live music featuring singer/songwriter Le Cat Trong Ly. Emily was featured and recognized in the Contemporary Performance Almanac 2015 for Standpoint Theories. In 2015, she founded and created her alias, The Movement Kitchen - which offers creative experiences and movement based workshops for the general public in a welcoming environment by spreading knowledge about movement as a therapy, bringing cultures together and encouraging self-expression. Emily was also a TED Talks key note speaker in 2016 speaking on the topic of The Importance of Collaboration in the Arts. She resided overseas for the past decade in North Africa, Europe and Southeast Asia - and moved back to Chicago in May of 2018 with her better half and their cat named Chicken. Immediately after her move back stateside, she co-founded Holding Common Ground: Pathways to Cultural Exchange in Vietnam - a dance seminar that brings together dance artists and scholars from the USA and Vietnam to participate in panel discussions, lectures, workshops and dance performances that celebrate diversity, inclusivity and our common vision of dance as a universal language. It focuses on the insight into the process and development of an educational, artistic and cultural dance seminar between Vietnam, USA and other countries.
THE MOVEMENT KITCHEN'S PROCESS + VALUES + MISSION
My practice is focused on the influences of culture and exchange. As a creator, my work focuses on the intent and standard of basic fundamentals and explores all things primitive. Primitive thinking, primitive methods, primitive movements. Through my community based work, I am known for signalling to neighborhoods that through movement - change is possible and their place is valuable and worth tending. My work is about reaching communities, revealing what’s possible and providing an outlet for positive and productive actions in order to increase communal positivity. I dedicate time to creating a place of warmth and safety to gather, move, communicate and exchange. As an educator, I support the process of developing new work as well as educate and enrich communities through access to the creative process in a setting that encourages experimentation and development of one's craft.
I believe in deeply engaging with communities through cultural exchange and public programming. I strive to celebrate diversity, inclusivity and our common vision of dance as a universal language. I believe cultural exchanges are an integral part of cultural diplomacy, which is an essential facet of America’s foreign policy. I believe in establishing, developing and sustaining relations with foreign states and peoples by way of culture, art and education. I believe artists’ voices are needed in all areas of our society, and exchanges are one great way to infiltrate ideas as an artist into new territory. I believe that through cultural exchange and public outreach programming, communities can deliver their work to new audiences in some shape or form who will benefit from their practices, and therefore create more change within culture.
“Projects led by local artists show a community that they themselves have agency and impact.” ~THE MOVEMENT KITCHEN