Scholarship awarded to Dance Theater NW Dancer

When she first started dancing, University Place’s Emma Young was just that, young.  Now, at age 18 and an honors graduate from both Curtis High School and Tacoma Community College, Emma has her sights set on Butler University’s prestigious dance program.

With a $20,000 a year renewing scholarship, Butler University in Indiana recognized the talent in Emma just as Melanie Kirk-Stauffer, Artistic Director of Dance Theater Northwest did nearly ten years ago.  According to Kirk-Stauffer, “I remember noticing how special Emma was when she was very young.  She came to the company warm up for a performance with a mature attitude, ready to work.  It didn’t seem to faze her that she was years younger and much smaller than the other dancers in the ensemble.”

Maybe when her mom, Paula Young, started her in dance classes at age 5 it was just something to keep her busy.  But that interest soon turned into passion.  When asked about her love of dance, Emma said “It’s hard to explain, but if things in my life get crazy, dance is always there.”  She added, “it is a constant in my life.”

As the oldest of three, Emma also taught youth classes at Dance Theater NW earning her Teaching Certification in 2019. Throughout her young life, Emma was the recipient of numerous ballet scholarships including several to the Joffrey ballet school in New York where she attended intense week-long programs.  Locally, Emma danced several leading roles including three seasons as Clara in the Nutcracker. 

During the four-year Bachelor of Fine Arts Program at Butler, Emma will study ballet but also modern dance.  “I’m excited to keep dancing … and for a change of environment for my dancing,” Emma said. Emma aspires to dance with a company following her time at Butler.

Dance Theater NW is a 501c-3 non-profit that was founded in University Place, WA in 1987 with a mission to encourage and support young artists and everyone who has a passion for dance from age 4 to age 80.  To learn more about Dance Theater NW you can visit their website: