Friday, February 10, 2017


Here's a photo of the space -- it's where I exercise and dance every day. 

In the next picture, you see how the room looks when the black curtains that are on both walls are closed, and the theater lights are on. There are 65 seats.

We don't rent out this space. My husband John and I use it for our own projects. I've used the studio for creating choreography, for rehearsing my dance company, and teaching dance classes; the space has also been used by us for staging shows, plays, play readings, as well as raising funds to produce our theater projects.

A lot of very well-known people have been invited to our studio-theater, and seen our projects. That's what you do if you're trying to make a name for yourself in dance or theater. My husband, Broadway Star John Cullum, has done thousands of auditions and showcase performances in the course of his amazing career. Even now, he'll audition for projects that interest him.

The floor space is 40 x 25. The sound equipment, designed for me by Peter Bartok, Bela Bartok's son, is on a rolling platform. It's powerful professional equipment, that we've used in Broadway and Off-Broadway Theaters. Our lighting equipment is homemade -- John and I scrounged large tomato cans from neighborhood restaurants, converted them, and made tinfoil frames to hold the gels for each light. Our homemade dimmer board sits in the dressing rooms that are next to our two offices.

Above my office is storage space for costumes, props, trunks and boxes with which I traveled when I toured the world, under state department auspices, with my dance company, and toured as a soloist with symphony orchestra.

In the picture above, what you see in the center of the floor are the chairs and portable barre that are the stage set for the dance I perform to "Fantasia on a Theme by Thomas Tallis," by Ralph Vaughan Williams. Seven days a week, I dance to a four-minute section of this music.

When I'm performing, you don't see typical dance steps such as leaps, pirouettes, and intricate footwork. Instead, dancer Em visits the room and discovers each prop -- relating to each, with curiosity and tenderness, recalling how it was used. In the fourth section of "Fantasia," standing tall on the double set of chairs, dancer Em surveys the room. Then, recapitulating dancer Em's pleasure with these props, with many dance steps, triumphantly I leave the room.

 Dancing has been the major part of my life since I was ten-years-old. I dance -- like people who go to church -- I just go into my studio, warmup at the barre, turn on switches on the rolling table, and the Vaughan Williams music begins.

Listen to what I hear, and perhaps you'll understand how the music gets me revisiting the room, the space, remembering, reliving, and dancing. Having seen the theater we built, and heard how we use this space, we hope you enjoyed your visit. The great Eugene Ormandy is conducting the music. 


Audrey's Fabric And Trim said...

How fascinating and inspiring Emily! I hope one day to have the opportunity to meet you for coffee or lunch (bucket list). Next time I visit NY I will tweet you, and if fate allows ���� perhaps we can meet! Thanks for sharing your magical home!

Maria Mackey Gunn said...

Thank you Em, for a beautiful respite from the Trumpian gloom. It's hard to take me out of my deep depression these days, but re-visiting your beautiful space did it for awhile this morning! Love to you and JC!

MIchael Blevins said...

Wonderful! This is awesome. I have heard you mention your theatre in your home and have always wanted to see it!. That is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing!

Linda Vee Sado of Slippery When Wet said...

Wow This looks wonderful. I would just love to fly out to meet the two of you xx

Unknown said...

Thank you dear Em, for inviting us into your special world. Love, Linda

Marie Stout Newlin said...

So much like I envisioned. Both your and John's show biz roots run deep and are healthy & strong. Thanks for the private peek. And yes, I know about the cost of real estate in NYC--my niece bought a very small apartment for a bargain, one mil. Stay safe; it's supposed to snow this weekend.

Anonymous said...

I can just see you and JC from the words you've created a picture for us all. Thanks Em. Love and hugs, H. xxxxooo