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Meet Emily Miller of Performing Arts Workshop in Encinitas

Today we’d like to introduce you to Emily Miller.

Performing Arts Workshop (PAW) started behind the Self-Realization Fellowship in Encinitas on 2nd street 21 years ago under the direction of Leslie Craig-Foxworth. PAW has always been a safe, inclusive, and healthy environment for everyone, from the dance appreciator to the professional, to learn the art of dance.

During Leslie’s ownership, many students experienced the joy of a great faculty, a warm community, and a beautiful facility to gather in. During her youth, former student, Emily Miller, grew up in Encinitas dancing at the studio. As a graduate of PAW’s stellar training program, she went to college for dance and worked as a dancer and choreographer in both Chicago and New York. Emily always stayed close to the studio when she was home, taking class, setting works on younger dancers, and teaching. Four years ago, deciding it was time to retire, Leslie sold PAW to Emily. Emily’s mission has been to keep the core tenants of PAW (the safety and inclusiveness of the environment and community that make it unique and the strong professional training), and to share them and a boundless love of dance with the greater San Diego area. The studio has since moved and grown attracting professionals, new dancers, and teachers from both the larger San Diego and national communities. PAW has grown into a full and thriving studio offering proper technical training to everyone and valuing the purity of the art of expression over the current trend of spectacle in dance.

Great, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
It’s never a completely smooth road when a business transitions from a location or previous owner, but the amazing community of dancers and dance appreciators that makes PAW what it is has been a guiding light all along the way. The parents are invested in the health and success of their children, the professional dancers are invested in the inclusiveness and high caliber training inside and outside of the classroom, the faculty is invested in the care and training of their students, and the director and staff are invested in the integrity of the community and art form. With that kind of strong ecosystem, it has been easy to get things back on track when they derail.

Performing Arts Workshop – what should we know? What do you guys do best? What sets you apart from the competition?
In addition to its amazing environment, PAW is known for its stellar faculty and training in dance. PAW offers classical ballet classes for students ages 2 – 100, beginning to advanced/professional modern, beginning and intermediate jazz and Hip Hop, and kids’ classes in creative movement. Our faculty is extensively trained and values the health of each and every student.

The hierarchies that generally exist in classical ballet and fear based training are not present at PAW. We instead believe each student’s journey is unique and whether a student decides to become a professional or not, ballet and dance in general have a lot to teach students about themselves. Hard work, discipline, refinement of skill, body knowledge, and self-expression never go out of style.

What moment in your career do you look back most fondly on?
As Director, I would say the proudest moment I have are not only watching the students in the performances we produce, but watching them rehearse and take class.

The work of ballet and dance is so beautiful. Watching a student wrestle with something and finally get it, watching the change in technique and confidence that inevitably happens over time, watching my students come into and become themselves is the biggest gift I could ask for. Dance changes lives. It is the most incredible joy to be able to watch that happen.


  • First class free
  • Drop in $20
  • Adult 10 class card $135
  • Pro-rate $10

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Candise Barefoot Photography

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