Emily Running, Chair, Service Organizations Council

Emily Running is a performer, choreographer, author, and Founder and Vision Director of Dance Wire. But at the heart of it all, she is a creative with an entrepreneurial spirit and a dyslexic brain that understands the world in an interconnected and dynamic way.

Emily has taught, choreographed, performed, and served as creative director on various projects for over 22 years. She earned a BFA in Choreography and Performance in dance from the University of Montana in Missoula. Earlier in her career, Emily skipped around the globe from Missoula, Montana, where she grew up, to Los Angeles to Paris, before finally landing in Portland, Oregon. In all these places, she has danced and worked with numerous dance companies in various stages of development. Notably, Emily was invited to be a founding member of Diavolo’s Education Program where she helped turn their artistic performances and values into a curriculum that met the required California VAPA Teaching Standards. She then performed and taught that curriculum throughout LA. Emily pioneered an Education Program for Aerial Without Limits (AWOL) while also choreographing and performing for the company. She additionally served as Development Specialist for White Bird – a dance presenter who brings nationally and internationally acclaimed dance to Portland – and served as Interim Program Director for Conduit where she assisted the 20-year-old organization through a major transition after losing their space. A major hip surgery (Periacetabular Osteotomy) in 2011 threw her dance career for a loop and inspired her book Anatomy Riot which she self-published in 2012. She is now marginally famous amongst dancers with hip dysplasia or people who have undergone the same type of surgery.

Her most ambitious endeavor to date was founding Dance Wire in 2013. Emily ran every aspect of the organization for 5 years until she was able to hire her first staff positions. As Portland’s Dance Hub and the only dance service organization in the region, there are two key components to her vision: 1) to support dance artists in the ways they need to be supported throughout the lifecycle of their careers. 2) bring new people into dance by radically shifting perceptions of the who, what, when, where, and why of dance.

Emily is part of Dance/USA’s Safe Working Environments task force. She is also an active member of a task force called Nonprofit Workers for Justice, a grassroots group of nonprofit workers seeking to effect systemic change in philanthropy in Oregon and Southwest Washington.

The quote that best sums up Emily’s approach to life is “Leap and the net will appear” by John Burroughs.

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