Born in Baltimore, MD, Emily Runkle first began studying ballet at Ballet with Cindee Velle, intensively studying with Caryl Maxwell. In high school she attended The Rock School for Dance Education in Philadelphia and received coaching by former dancers of New York City Ballet, American Ballet Theater, Hungarian National Ballet, Ballet Nacional De Caracas, and the Bolshoi Ballet. From 2008-2009 Emily danced as a trainee with Ballet Magnificat, America's premiere professional Christian ballet company in Mississippi. Her professional repertoire includes soloist roles with Ballet Chesapeake, Misako Ballet Company, Merge Dance Company, and New York State Ballet, and she has performed works by Balanchine, Edward Stewart, and Eva Anderson, as well as the full length classics.
Emily choreographs for both contemporary and classical companies and schools and has taught at Misako Ballet School, EMC Studios, and Baltimore Ballet, as well as directed the ballet program at Project C studios for four years. In 2021, alongside Jen Graham, Emily co-founded Synergy Space, a cooperative space for dance and movement educators, artists, students, and advocates in Westminster, Maryland. She also founded the Ballet Embody Academy in order to cultivate a conservatory-quality training program for pre-professional ballet dancers. Her current students and alumni have placed in the top 12 at the Youth America Grand Prix and NYCDA regionals, and have won numerous awards and scholarships in the competitive and collegiate dance field.
She is the co-founder and artistic director of Ballet Embody, established in 2019. Her choreography has been showcased at the Maryland Dance Festival, The Maryland Dance Alliance, the Howard County Dance Festival, and most recently was invited to bring her ballet The Telltale Heart to the 2021 & 2022 International Edgar Allan Poe Festival as a featured performance. Since 2019 she has choreographed five original evening length programs for Ballet Embody including The Maryland Nutcracker and Weekend at Marley Manor: A Murder Mystery Ballet. Emily is currently working on Ballet Embody's upcoming ballet, a re-imagining of Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream, which premieres in May 2023.