Pasatiempo: You began dancing when you were 4? Emmy Grimm: Yes. I started with María [Benítez] at a summer workshop and never missed a summer in all those years. Pasa: So you’re a veteran at this point. Grimm: I guess you could say that. I’ve taken ballet and tap-dancing too, but I’ve always loved flamenco. The other styles of dance weren’t really fun for me. But when I was 4, I remember I could wear a polka-dot dress and heels and stomp my feet. That was great motivation to become a dancer. Pasa: What’s the most challenging aspect of dance? Grimm: It’s hard to maintain the discipline when you’re alone and in your own studio. Rehearsing in a group is easier. During performance season, I usually prepare between 20 to 30 hours per week. Pasa: And what’s the high for you in dance? Grimm: It’s the emotional connection. Once you know the choreography, you can really feel the dance and the emotions, the fire and passion of flamenco. Pasa: What was your most embarrassing moment on stage? Grimm: Gosh, there’s so many. The last summer show here at The Lodge, we were performing sevillanas— a folklore dance with partners and fans. Everybody was there, Spanish people who knew the dances and a lot of other dancers. I went to open my fan and dropped it onstage. So I tried to make it appear like I meant it to happen. Pasa: Are members of your family performers? Grimm: Not really, but my dad always wanted me to be a dancer. In fact, he was the box-office manager for María’s company when I was about 2 years old. My folks always came to performances, even when my mother was pregnant with me. Pasa: Have you considered doing something other than dance? Grimm: No. I am, however, getting my associate degree in human resources at Northern New Mexico College. It’s a backup plan. It makes my parents happy knowing I can fall back on something if I have to. But I just want to get it over with and concentrate on dance. I’m very determined and hardheaded that way. My parents say I don’t know the meaning of the letters “N-O.” Petite, poised, and brimming with energy, Emmy Grimm is a flamenco dancer who has studied with the María Benítez Teatro Flamenco troupe since she was a child. Now 18, Grimm participates and teaches at Next Generation, a company of up-and-coming dancers who perform regularly during the summer at The Lodge at Santa Fe. Born in Santa Fe and currently a resident of La Mesilla, Grimm attends Northern New Mexico College in Española, while pursuing her dance career. She recently met with Pasatiempo. Pasa: You were teaching before you were a teenager? Grimm: I taught a summer workshop at Truchas Elementary when I was 12. When I was 13, I taught at Mountainview Elementary and the next year at Dixon Elementary. When I was 15, I started teaching for María’s Institute for Spanish Arts. It taught me early on to be totally prepared and organized and to show no fear. Kids thrive on a teacher’s fear, especially in public schools. Pasa: What do you do for fun? Grimm: My schedule is insane. I model and act too. I never knew how to have fun until I moved out of my parents’ house when I was 17 and went to Albuquerque. I roomed with a group of people older than me and learned how to relax, mainly going to movies. But I’ve snowboarded since I was 10 and really like it. I did tricks for competition. María, of course, didn’t approve, and I broke my wrist about three years ago. María showed no mercy and still made me teach, even with my arm in a cast and a sling. She told me never to snowboard. But if I remember what I heard, María was once a fabulous skier. Pasa: Is there any place outside of Santa Fe that might offer you the kind of dance opportunities you’ve had? Grimm: I don’t know, but I really want to study in Spain. I’ve never experienced a true Gypsy culture, and seeing how that culture thrives on a daily basis— it’s just that whole environment that I want to see and feel. Pasa: Is Santa Fe a good environment for young performers? Grimm: Absolutely. The audiences here are very supportive; lots of locals come to our performances. In Santa Fe, there are so many art things going on, and you can pursue your art without people being so judgmental. Pasa: What would be an ideal life for you, like in another 12 years? Grimm: Gosh, I never thought about that. I’d be 30! I would like to have toured, maybe start a family, but I don’t know if that would fit into my agenda. I just want the opportunity to keep dancing and hopefully not be forced to fall back on my degree. I try to stay in the moment.
— Douglas Fairfield