Instructor Spotlight – Emilia Ballester

Meet Emilia, Our Toronto-based Dance Teacher!

There’s an undeniable energy and warmth when Emilia walks into a room. As Playocity’s Teacher of the Month, she brings with her a world of artistic passion – a passion that manifests in the fluid movements of her dance classes, the captivating narratives of her storytelling sessions, and the raw emotion she instills in her acting students. With just a little over a year with us, Emilia’s impact has already been profound, and it’s an honour to delve deeper into her journey and understand what drives her.

From a young girl who dreamt of wielding paintbrushes to a young woman captivating many with her breathtaking dance performances, Emilia’s artistic journey is an inspiring story. Emilia recalls being a shy kid, but the art of dance helped her step out of her shell and find her place under the spotlight.

As a Dance Teacher at Playocity, Emilia cherishes the close-knit environment and the meaningful relationships she has built with her colleagues. For her, the sense of inclusion and understanding, especially as an immigrant, is paramount. Playocity’s meticulously crafted programs get a thumbs-up from Emilia, who witnesses the transformative journey of her students from the start to the end of each program.

For the young souls struggling in school, Emilia’s advice is heartfelt and empowering: “Trust the process, learn from your mistakes, and believe in yourself. This too shall pass.” Join us as we celebrate Emilia’s contributions and continue to be inspired by her story!

Questions and Answers with Emilia, Playocity's Featured Dance Teacher

Q: What did you want to be when growing up?

I always knew I wanted to be an artist. I wanted to be a painter for the longest time until I found dance. Then, I wanted to become a dancer with all my heart but photography was something that really inspired me so I studied photography as well. Later on, I became very interested in acting, and it became part of my life as well. Dance has been the biggest love of my life and the most constant career I wanted since I started taking dance classes as a teenager.

Q: How did you get into performing arts?

I was always a very shy kid and thought of myself as an introvert. This explains why I wanted to be a painter so that no one could burst my bubble. One day, my mom told me she was going to put me in Tap classes and I cried my eyes out because I didn’t want to do whatever “tap” was. I took the first class and immediately fell in love and that’s when I came out of my shell (thanks Mom). The first time I performed on stage it just felt right, it felt like home and I wanted it to be like that forever.

Q: Does dancing and acting run in your family?

Both my grandmothers were dancers on and off but it was not their main career. Art definitely runs in my veins as my mom is a musician and an excellent performer. I think that my mom is the reason I have a great love for music and my body works as my instrument.

Q: What is your favourite thing to do in your free time?

It depends on the season. During the summer months, I love going out with my friends, walking my dog, or having a nice date with my husband. I would say that hiking and swimming are my favourite things to do during the summer. In winter, I love embroidering, painting, playing videogames, doing outdoor winter activities or shopping!

Q: Who or what inspires you?

Mexican feminists inspire me every day to be bolder and more authentic about my art. The struggle we face every day in Mexico is something that really inspires me to talk about our story and work towards making a change in society. Also, my mom is a great inspiration for me, she’s such an amazing artist, musician, woman and human being.

Q: What is your least favourite exercise?

Not a big fan of strength-related exercises like push-ups, crunches or squats.

Q: Where would you like to go on a dream vacation?

I’m really trying hard to save money to make a trip to Europe to see as many countries as I can. I would add Egypt as well.

Q: If you were stuck on an island what three things would you bring?

My camera, music and a journal.

Q: What do you like most about working with Playocity?

What I love about working with Playocity is the closeness and safe environment I get with Alanna, Alena and Krystina. I feel like I can communicate any type of concerns, or questions or even share anything with them and I feel heard. It’s a big part for me as an immigrant to feel included in my work and I feel that I have that in this space. As a teacher, I’ve had great experiences with every school that I have worked with. The programs created by Playocity are amazing for the kids and I am able to witness progression and transformation in my students from day one until the end of the workshop. I love how all the programs are authentic and very well thought out.

Q: What advice do you have for kids who are struggling in school?

This too shall pass. I know it may seem overwhelming but this big struggle you’re having is going to be a great lesson and an even bigger opportunity to create something incredible. Trust the process and remember that we learn more from our mistakes than from our achievements. Most importantly, trust yourself, you’re doing great!

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