Emily Stein began dancing as a child in Buffalo, New York. She holds BA in Dance from the University of Iowa, and an MFA in Performance and Choreography from Smith College. In 1993, she joined Chicago's Zephyr Dance, and choreographed and performed with the company for eighteen years. She served as Associate artistic Director from 1997 to 2011. Both with Zephyr and as an independent artist, her dancing and choreography have been seen throughout the US, from Florida to Texas to New York City and Toronto. Emily has produced her choreography independently in Chicago and her work has twice been nominated for Chicago Dance Achievement/Ruth Page Awards. Her current artistic work explores the intersections of ballet technique and improvisation as processes that live in the body. In 2012, she began a series of works under the title Secret Experiments in Ballet as a platform to share these choreographic experiments.
While studying at the University of Iowa with Francoise Martinet, she began teaching in the university's Talented and Gifted children's program. Before joining the faculty of the Dance Center of Columbia College, she taught ballet and modern technique at Smith College, Hampshire College, the University of Massachusetts and Barat College, and at a wide variety of private studios in the Chicago area. Since 1995, she has been a teaching artist in the Chicago Public Schools, practicing Zephyr's collaborative model of Arts Integration. Her own dancing journey has taken her from Balanchine to Deborah Hay and everywhere in between, and she strives to use this breadth to train dancers with open minds and intelligent bodies.