Emily Coates

A dancer, choreographer, writer, and educator, Emily Coates has performed internationally with New York City Ballet, Mikhail Baryshnikov’s White Oak Dance Project, Twyla Tharp, and Yvonne Rainer. Performance repertory highlights include three duets with Baryshnikov, in works by Erick Hawkins, Mark Morris, and Karole Armitage, and the span of Rainer’s work, from 1961 to the present. Also, principal roles in ballet by George Balanchine and Jerome Robbins, and Lucinda Childs’ seminal solo Carnation, among other featured roles.

Her choreographic work has been commissioned and presented by Baryshnikov Arts Center (2010), Carnegie Hall (2014, 2018), Danspace Project (2015, 2017, 2018), Works & Process at the Guggenheim (2016), University of Chicago (2017), Yale University Art Gallery (2018), Wadsworth Atheneum (2018), and Performa (2009, 2019), among others. She is one of five transmitters of Yvonne Rainer’s seminal work Trio A (1966), which she has taught for the past fifteen years, and reconstructed with Rainer her 1965 dance Parts of Some Sextets for Performa 19. Her collaborators include Lacina Coulibaly, Sarah Demers, Liz Diamond, Josiah McElheny, Will Orzo, Emmanuèle Phuon, and Yvonne Rainer.

Awards and fellowships include the School of American Ballet’s Mae L. Wein Award for Outstanding Promise; Baryshnikov Arts Center’s Martha Duffy Memorial Fellowship; Yale’s Poorvu Family Award for Interdisciplinary Teaching; and the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation grant for the Public Understanding of Science, Technology, and Economics. She was a 2016 Fellow at the Center for Ballet and the Arts and a 2019 Dance Research Fellow at the Jerome Robbins Dance Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts.

With physicist Sarah Demers, she is co-author of Physics and Dance (Yale University Press 2018). Her essays have appeared in TDR, PAJ, Theater, programs and an exhibition catalogue for the Paris Opera Ballet, and the Oxford Handbook for Contemporary Ballet (2021).

She is Professor in the Practice and Director of Dance Studies in Theater and Performance at Yale University, where she created the dance studies curriculum and the Yale Dance Lab. She holds a secondary appointment in the Directing Program at the David Geffen School of Drama at Yale. She earned her BA in English ‘06 and an MA and MPhil in American Studies from Yale and is currently completing a PhD in American Studies. She has been a member of the arts faculty at Yale since 2006.

Email: emily.coates@yale.edu

Performance

La Stravaganza, 1996

Choreography by Angelin Preljocaj

A group piece commissioned by New York City Ballet for the Diamond Project. The image depicts the final duet, with Emily Coates and Benjamin Millepied.

The Argument, 1999

Choreography by Mark Morris.

Duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov, 2000. Mark Morris originally created the piece for six dancers. He later restaged the choreography as a duet.

Newspaper clipping with a photo of a female and male dancer.
A female and male dancer hold hands on a stage.

Photo by Steven Caras.

The Last Lap, 1999

Choreography by Karole Armitage.

Duet with Mikhail Baryshnikov, 1999. A new work created by Karole Armitage for White Oak Dance Project, which premiered in New York at the New Victory Theater in August 1999.

Pictured in Baryshnikov in Black and White. New York: Bloomsbury, 2002.

A dancer stands with feet apart and arms outstretched. Another bends forward, balancing on one foot.

Pictured in Baryshnikov in Black and White. New York: Bloomsbury, 2002.

MacGuffin or How Meanings Get Lost (revisited), 1999

Choreography by Neil Greenberg.

Restaged for White Oak Dance Project, 1999. Pictured (from left to right): Emmauèle Phuon, Susan Shields, Emily Coates, and Mikhail Baryshnikov.

Three women pose in the background while a man dances in the foreground.

Pictured in Baryshnikov in Black and White. New York: Bloomsbury, 2002.

See-Through Knot, 2000

Choreography by John Jasperse.

Ensemble piece created for White Oak Dance Project, 2000. Pictured (from left to right): Michael Lomeka, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Emmauèle Phuon, Emily Coates, and Raquel Aedo.

Pictured in Baryshnikov in Black and White. New York: Bloomsbury, 2002.

AG Indexical, 2006

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer.

The pas de deux, with Emily Coates, Sally Silvers, and Pat Catterson (out of frame).

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

RoS Indexical, 2008

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer.

Performed by Pat Catterson, Emily Coates, Patricia Hoffbauer, and Sally Silvers.

Four dancers hold their fists in the air.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

On a dark stage a group of dancers surround a woman.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

One dancer lifts another in the foreground while two others jump in the background.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Spiraling Down, 2009

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer.

“Sara Bernhardt,” with (left to right) Sally Silvers, Emily Coates, and Pat Catterson.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Assisted Living: Good Sports 2, 2011

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer.

Performed by Pat Catterson, Emily Coates, Patricia Hoffbauer, Emmanuèle Phuon, Keith Sabado, Sally Silvers, and Yvonne Rainer.

Four dancers appear in a tableau of different poses.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Assisted Living: Do You Have Any Money?, 2012

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer.

Performed by Pat Catterson, Emily Coates, Patricia Hoffbauer, Emmanuèle Phuon, Keith Sabado, and Yvonne Rainer.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Heartbeat with the Persuasions, 2009 / 2012

Conceived and composed by Christopher Janney. Choreography by Sara Rudner.

Solo performer in a piece designed by Christopher Janney with choreography by Sara Rudner, featuring an amplified heart monitor. The piece was originally created for Rudner, then staged for Mikhail Baryshnikov. I performed a version with The Persuasions.

Video by Christopher Janney

Photo montage of the creator, singers, and dancer in Heartbeat with the Persuasions

The Concept of Dust: Continuous Project—Altered Annually, 2012

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer.

Performed by Pat Catterson, Emily Coates, Patricia Hoffbauer, Emmanuèle Phuon, Keith Sabado, Yvonne Rainer, and David Thomson.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Three Satie Spoons, 1961 / 2018

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer.

Rainer’s first solo. Reconstructed in 2005 and subsequently performed throughout the U.S. and Europe, including at MOMA’s exhibition Judson Dance Theater: The Work is Never Done (2018).

A woman poses with her left leg in the air.

Photo by Stephen Sherrill.

Choreography

WE, 2021-present

A new work in development, created by Emmanuèle Phuon and Emily Coates

In WE, Emily Coates and Emmanuèle Phuon use the mediums of postmodern dance and Cambodian classical dance to reflect on themes of animism, ecology, and astronomy – and how these themes are embedded within geographically specific cultures and ecosystems. Ultimately, the work is about humanity’s ongoing struggle to fully represent our natural world.

Drawing of trees with Saturn dropped on top with the title WE in red.

Drawing by Pascal Lemaitre

Invisible Universe, 2022

Directed by Emily Coates

Invisible Universe is a feature-length experimental documentary and dance film by Emily Coates that chronicles spontaneous collaborations between leading dance artists and scientists encountering each other for the first time within Wright Laboratory. Part performance, part cinematic essay, the film frames the intimate, sometimes awkward process of dialoguing across differences, staging choreographic investigation inside a physics laboratory tasked with studying unseen phenomena. Featuring paired interactions between acclaimed choreographers Annie-B Parson, Ni’Ja Whitson, Rashaun Mitchell and Silas Reiner, and renowned scientists Richard Prum, David Moore, and Reina Maruyama, with a cameo by research and development technician Frank Lopez, Invisible Universe considers the poetic confrontation between the methods of the dance-maker and the metrics of the scientist. D: Emily Coates, US, 1h20m

Director of Photography and Editor: John Lucas
Sound Designer: Evdoxia Ragkou

Funded with support from Wright Laboratory, Franke Program for Science and the Humanities, Center for Collaborative Arts and Media, Women Faculty Forum Seed Grant, Robert Wallace Fund for Dance Studies

a 4-square grid depicting a laboratory space with two males and a female.
a 64-square grid depicting a laboratory space and three people inside.

Schlemmer Loops, 2019

Choreography by Emily Coates.

An homage and reimagining of Oskar Schlemmer’s Bauhaus dances. With costumes designed by Reid Bartelme and Harriet Jung, performed by Miguel Anaya, Reid Bartelme, Brittany Engel-Adams, and Megan Wright.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Photo by Paula Court, courtesy of Performa.

Parts of Some Sextets, 1965/2019

Choreography by Yvonne Rainer

Reconstructed by Yvonne Rainer and Emily Coates. Rehearsals for our revival of Rainer’s 1965 dance Parts of Some Sextets, in which we drew on my archival research in the Yvonne Rainer Papers at the Getty Research Institute and Rainer’s own memory of the work. Performed by Rachel Bernsen, Emily Coates, Brittany Engel-Adams, Patrick Gallagher, Shayla Vie-Jenkins, Jon Kinzel, Liz Magic Laser, Nick Mauss, Mary Kate Sheehan, David Thomson, and Timothy Ward.

A History of Light, 2018

Choreography by Emily Coates and Josiah McElheny.

Created by Emily Coates and Josiah McElheny, choreography and text by Emily Coates. Performed by Emily Coates, Sarah Demers, and Josiah McElheny. The mirrored sculpture is McElheny’s “Walking Mirror I” (2012), wood, mirror, nylon webbing, metal hardware. Commissioned by Danspace Project, 2018.

Incarnations, 2017

Choreography by Emily Coates.

An evening-length meditation on the shift from classical to modern physics through a reworking of Balanchine’s 1928 ballet Apollo.

Emily Coates and Sarah Demers, “Apollo Physics-Casting”.

Emily Coates, Lacina Coulibaly, Jon Kinzel, Iréne Hultman, “The Universe”.

Lacina Coulibaly and Jon Kinzel, “Apollo and Isaac Newton”.

Iréne Hultman, Emily Coates, Sarah Demers, Yvonne Rainer, “Sun Dial”.

The Soldier’s Tale, 2014

Choreography by Emily Coates.

Music by Igor Stravinsky, text by C.F. Ramuz. Music direction by David Shifrin, stage direction and translation by Liz Diamond, choreography by Emily Coates. Featuring Michael Cerveris, Tom Pecinka, James Cusati-Moyer, and Mariko Parker. Produced by the Yale School of Music and Yale School of Drama, presented at Sprague Hall, Yale University and Carnegie Hall, New York, NY.

Three Views of the Higgs and Dance, 2013

Choreography by Emily Coates and Sarah Demers.

Drawing on interviews with physicists whose research is based at CERN, we composed this science-art video to educate the general public about the discovery of the Higgs boson—and in the process, educate the public about dance, too.

Photo by David Barreda.

Empty Is Also, 2009

Sculptural design by Tamar Ettun, choreography by Tamar Ettun and and Emily Coates.

An intermedia, durational performance piece created for the X Initiative gallery, commissioned by Performa 2009. Performed by Emily Coates, Tamar Ettun, and Jane Ira Bloom.

Photo by David Barreda.

Photo by David Barreda.

Ici Ou Ailleurs, 2009

Choreography by Emily Coates and Lacina Coulibaly.

Duet created in studios and sites in New York and Ouagadougou, 2007-2009. Performed in theaters (Baryshnikov Arts Center, St. Mark’s Church/Movement Research Fall Festival, Yale Center for British Art, Brown, Cornell, Harvard), as well as excerpted site specific performances in Grand Central Station and on the High Line, New York, NY.

Photo by David Barreda.

Photo by David Barreda.

Photo by David Barreda.

Photo by David Barreda.

Writing

Press

Events