Emily Molnar | The Canadian Encyclopedia


Emily Molnar

Molnar is a graduate of the NATIONAL BALLET SCHOOL OF CANADA, where she began her dance training at age 10. She performed as a member of the NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA from 1990-94.

Emily Molnar

 Emily Molnar, dance artist, choreographer (born at Regina 7 Sept 1973). Emily Molnar was appointed artistic director of BALLET BRITISH COLUMBIA in 2009 during a tumultuous moment in the evolution of Ballet BC. In addition to her performance excellence, she is known for her leadership in guiding and facilitating the company's emergence as an innovative, contemporary-focused ballet institution. Molnar has shifted the direction of Ballet BC, bringing in international and Canadian choreographers to create work, instead of confining that role to the artistic director.

Early Years

Molnar is a graduate of the NATIONAL BALLET SCHOOL OF CANADA, where she began her dance training at age 10. She performed as a member of the NATIONAL BALLET OF CANADA from 1990-94. At age 21 she relocated to Germany, dancing as a soloist and creating repertoire with the Frankfurt Ballet under the artistic direction of William Forsythe. In 1998, Ballet BC hired Emily Molnar as a principal dancer. She danced many roles with Ballet BC, guided by then artistic director John ALLEYNE and inspiring his creative process. Molnar's connection with Alleyne extends back to 1985 when the two met at the National Ballet School. Her performances during Alleyne's leadership of Ballet BC earned acclaim and recognition for her ability to generate and vary powerful energetic states as a performer. In 2003, CBC TV filmed her as Puck in the Ballet BC production of The Fairie Queen.

Emily Molnar left Ballet BC to pursue her own artistic work and, as an independent choreographer, created work for ALBERTA BALLET COMPANY (Portrait of a Suspended Grace, 2004; Carmina Burana, 2006); Cedar Lake Dance (4 Flights Down, 2006); Ballet Augsburg (Swivel Fields, 2007); Ballet Manheim (Utterance, 2007); and Morphoses (Six Fold Illuminate, 2008). She collaborated with former LES GRANDS BALLETS CANADIENS DE MONTRÉAL principal, Gioconda Barbuto, to make and perform the duet Lifelines (2008).

In her exploration of contemporary dance forms, Molnar has been mentored by Montréal dance legend Margie GILLIS, and performed in Gillis's 2008 M.Body.7, an ensemble work for 7 dancers. Molnar has also created contemporary work, pairing dancers with diverse backgrounds, such as her duet for contemporary improviser Jennifer Clarke and Chinese-classically-trained dancer Chengxin Wei in Fragments of a Marked Space (2008).


Since returning to Ballet BC in 2009, Emily Molnar has produced her own choreography for the company (Dedica, 2009; Between Disappearing and Becoming, 2012). As artistic director, she has declared a commitment to support and forge new collaborations among dancers and choreographers, expanding the boundaries of traditional ballet arts. Towards this vision of greater inclusivity in ballet expression, Molnar commissioned contemporary dancer José NAVAS (Compagnie Flak) as resident choreographer for Ballet BC (2010-13). Navas's work with Ballet BC was his first opportunity to make choreographies for dancers in pointe shoes. The collaboration offers audiences classical dance performance from a contemporary dance perspective.

Emily Molnar has also expanded her own identity beyond dance artist and director. As a self-described mentor and coach, she views her leadership role as a means to advocate for the importance of the dance artist in society.