Emma Stewart is happiest when she's moving to music.
And since she was a toddler, she's been moving quite a lot.
"I've been dancing since I was about three," 17year-old Stewart said.
Years of practice have paid off - she's already made it onto both the small and silver screens.
The Maple Ridge teen can be seen dancing in the Marianas Trench music video Stutter and in an Emily Carr film Artistic Vision.
The last few months have been a whirlwind.
Last Christmas, Stewart was chosen to be part of a jazz dance crew called "Body" created by Christie Lee Manning, who hand-picked her favourite dancers throughout the Lower Mainland to be part of this group.
"Body" danced at a handful of entertainment events from January to April of this year.
It was a fruitful spring for Stewart.
She took part in The Times of India Film Awards (TOIFA), dancing a number for Tourism BC, choreographed by Liz Tookey.
Through PRP Productions, she has also had the opportunity of dancing at the 99th Grey Cup halftime show, Whitecaps opening ceremonies, 2010 Paralympic opening ceremonies, and Rick Hansen's Concert for Hero's 25th Anniversary.
Stewart performed at the opening and closing ceremonies of Skills Canada, and also earned the nod as the provincial stage representative at the PAC West Festival of Dance.
She was provincial stage runner-up for both jazz and lyrical forms at the Surrey Festival of Dance.
All this, along with several scholarships at both festivals.
In May, Stewart performed jazz and lyrical solos at the 2013 Provincial Festival of Performing Arts BC at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre.
"It was my first time experiencing it all, so I didn't get into the top three, but that's my goal for next year," Stewart said.
Also in May, she successfully auditioned for the role of performer/dancer in the upcoming "Sportactular" show taking place during the PNE next month.
She's quite familiar with the PNE stage, having danced on it last summer for the show "Princess Jubilation."
Stewart padded her summer 2012 resume by shuffling her feet in a dinosaur costume in her summer gig as a mascot at Dinotown in Cloverdale.
"It was a cast of four people," she said. "We had a routine, it was about 20 minutes long.
It was a storyline. Princess Jubilation [at the PNE] was more full-out dancing than Dinotown."
Before the PNE gets underway, Stewart is off to Los Angeles to attend an eight-day dance intensive training called "The Next Step."
"Beside dancing the whole time, they'll be learning all about how and what to do to break into the professional dance industry," her mom Shelley explained.
Stewart started doing highland dancing at four, following the lead of her mom.
"From five [years old] till 10 I did highland dance," she said. "Then I quit that and I started doing jazz and other stuff like tap and song and dance."
She said the highland style helped build the foundation, shaping her into the dancer she is today.
"I loved it," Stewart said. "It gave me a lot of strength that I have now. I feel it helped me with my jazz. But I lost interest in it."
"She didn't actually start jazz and lyrical until she was 10 years old," Shelley added. "And a year later she realized that this style of dance suited her free-spirited personality much better than highland and now she can't get enough dance, and would like to pursue dance as a career."
Stewart admitted that Highland dancing "was kind of containing my personality."
Her style of choice is contemporary because it allows her to explore what she describes as her "quirky side."
"Lots of people have a different aspect on contemporary," Stewart said. "So many people do it differently."
She's focusing her efforts on dancing, now and into the foreseeable future. Stewart attends Langley Fine Arts School so she can take an hour of dance and an hour of choreography each school day.
She plans to pursue a career in professional dance once she graduates from high school next June.
"That's what I want to do with my life; I want to just keep dancing and go to auditions," Stewart said.
"And I have an agent, so that's helping me a lot."
Taking dance at the fine arts school under the tutelage of instructors Jennifer Ibbott and Kim Wolski has made a big difference according to Stewart, who hones her craft locally at Peggy Peat School of Dance.
At her school and dance studio, Stewart feels she has forged long-lasting friendships. That's another aspect of dance that appeals to her.
"I feel like dance is a good way to meet new people," she said. "It's such a small community in Vancouver and everyone just kind of knows everyone. You just keep meeting new people. It's just great; I love it."
Stewart said she never gets tired of dancing.
"I thrive off of it," she said. "At certain points it's hard work but it's fun when it has to be hard work. You never want it to be boring."
@ Copyright 2013