Emily Molnar, CM, Class of 1989 (2020)

Emily Molnar, CM is an internationally respected and critically acclaimed dance artist, choreographer, mentor, arts advocate and leader. She has served as Artistic Director for Ballet BC since 2009, and will soon transition to her new role as Artistic Director of the Nederlands Dans Theater. After graduating from Canada’s National Ballet School in 1989, Molnar pursued a performance career as a member of the National Ballet of Canada, a soloist with the Ballett Frankfurt, and a principal dancer with Ballet BC. As a dance artist and choreographer, she has worked and toured extensively throughout Europe, Asia, Mexico, Canada and the U.S., where she created works for Ballet BC, Alberta Ballet, Ballet Mannheim, Ballet Augsburg, Cedar Lake Dance, ProArteDanza and Morphoses/The Wheeldon Company and New York City Ballet’s Choreographic Institute, among others. As a leader and advocate for dance, she has served as Artistic Director of Dance at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, and for six years sat on the Board of Directors at the BC Arts Council.


Her contributions have been recognized with awards and distinctions including being named the Globe and Mail’s 2013 Dance Artist of the Year; receiving the Vancouver Mayor’s Arts Award, BC Community Achievement Award and the YWCA Women of Distinction Award in Art, Culture & Design; being inducted into the BC Hall of Fame for contributions to the province’s entertainment industry and cultural landscape; and being appointed to the Order of Canada for her artistic leadership of Ballet BC and creative contribution to advancing dance in Canada.

Reflecting on her time at NBS:

“So much about what I do today leads back to my time at NBS,” says Molnar. “The School embraced the responsibility of training not only dancers, but thought leaders—thoughtful citizens of the world who are going to lead conversations and pursue a meaningful purpose in life. One of the most significant contemplations the School inspires is how dance articulates living and informs the way we see the world, how it helps us unpack complicated questions and feel things on another level. The inspiring trajectory of so many NBS alumni shows us just how many different ways that can be, whether or not we’re walking on a stage.”