Emma Draves - Columbia College Chicago

Emma Draves

Adjunct Professor of Instruction



Emma Draves is a dance artist and educator navigating intertextual spaces of identity. She draws from trainings in modern, bharatanatyam, ballet, jazz, and ethnography, to weave work of kinesthetic narrative - derived through colliding multiplicities of physical effort, idiosyncrasy, and emotional landscape.

Emma’s choreographic work has been shown internationally in Edinburgh (UK) & Vancouver (BC), as well as at NYU, Hamlin Park, High Concept Labs, Links Hall, Chicago Cultural Center, Columbia College Chicago, and Comfort Station; and commissioned by Danceworks Company and UW-Milwaukee. Scholarly works has been presented through Dance Studies Associate, World Dance Alliance, and Dance Across the Boards.

As a performer, Emma has worked with several companies and as an independent artists. Notable experiences include Mordine & Company, Hedwig Dances, Jonathan Meyer, and Archana Kumar; and theatrical productions at Victory Gardens and Lookingglass Theatre.

Trained in bharatanatyam under Smt. Hema Rajagopalan, Emma has enjoyed a long association with Natya Dance Theatre as a performing artist - participating in several national tours and international collaborations with Yo-Yo Ma & Silk Road Project, NanJombang (Indonesia), and Astad Deboo (India) - grant-writer, archivist, and Executive Director.

Emma holds a GLCMA & MFA - and has served on faculty at Columbia College Chicago, Northwestern University, Northeastern Illinois University, and OK State University.

Instructional Areas

Dance Studies, Contemporary/Modern Techniques, Ballet Techniques

Creative Practice and Research Interests

Indian Dance in the Diaspora / Pluralist Bodies, Identity of Individual and Community in Performance, Dance in Rural Communities, Culturally-Relevant Pedagogy


B.A., Dance and Sociology/Anthropology Denison University 2001
M.F.A., Dance University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee 2012