Emily Oleson is a dance scholar and crossover dancer interested in a broad range of styles, from traditional Appalachian flatfooting, to forms of Irish dance, partner dance, contemporary urban dances, and vernacular jazz. She received her MFA in Dance at the University of Maryland College Park in May 2012 and a certification in Laban-Bartenieff Movement Analysis in 2015 from the Laban-Bartenieff Institute of Movement Studies. She is currently pursuing a doctorate in Dance at Temple University, and passed her Qualifying Exams in 2019 after her second and final year of coursework.
Emily co-founded Good Foot Dance Company in 2005 with her husband Matthew Olwell and Meg Madden, specializing in “trad dance theater.” Her performance highlights of traditional and contemporary dance include appearing in France in the Aulney-All-Blues Festival, on the Jacob's Pillow Dance Festival's Inside/Out Stage, a Summer 2014 tour with The Carolina Chocolate Drops including dates at Bonnaroo, Red Rocks Auditorium, and The Chicago Blues Festival, and a US State Department Tour in Russia for The Meaning of Buck Dance, her collaboration with Urban Artistry and Bessie-award winning tap artist Baakari Wilder (Bring in ‘da Noise, Bring in ‘da Funk) that received the Kennedy Center's Local Dance Commissioning Project grant in 2013.
Her other choreography has been showcased at the American College Dance Festival, Performatica Festival in Cholula, Mexico, Strathmore Music Center, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Wheatland Music Festival, Lake Eden Arts Festival, the Dance Flurry, Floydfest, at the Newport Folk Festival with Seeger’s Clogging All-Stars, and in the Brooklyn Ballet’s 2015 season in New York.
She has been on Dance faculty for two years at the Virginia Governor's School for the Fine & Performing Arts & Humanities at Radford University, has guest lectured for Bringham Young University's Dance History course, and has been on staff at camps including Common Ground on the Hill, Miles of Music, CDSS's Pinewoods and Timber Ridge Camp, Terpsichore, and Berea Christmas Country Dance School.
Between 2013 and 2017, Emily was an Assistant Professor at Davis & Elkins College, and Program Coordinator for a Dance department with three Major Tracks: Contemporary/postmodern Dance, Sustainable Dance, and a ground-breaking program in American Vernacular Dance. Emily coordinated American Vernacular Dance Week at the Augusta Heritage Center from 2013-2016, and founded the Davis & Elkins Dance Festival in 2014. Her teaching/program was featured in the March 2014 issue of Dance Teacher Magazine, and the Dance major she coordinates was featured as a "tap-friendly school" in Dance Magazine in August 2015.
She has been privileged to study with many excellent teachers including Ann Kilkelly, Baakari Wilder, Urban Artistry (a DC based collective of interdisciplinary artists pursuing a broad and authentic practice of urban dance, music, poetry and visual art), Sara Pearson, Patrik Widrig, Gesel Mason, Leslie Felbain, Maldon Mehan, Kwame Opare, Edwin Roa, and at The School at Jacob's Pillow with Camille Brown, Francine Ott, Adesola Osakalumi, and E. Moncell Durden.