Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper

Emily Cooper has been a professional dancer and dance teacher for over 15 years. She blends a unique variety of movement styles including Contemporary, Bollywood, West African, Tribal Bellydance and Yoga.

Emily has a bachelor’s degree in Contemporary Dance from Western Sydney University, from which she graduated with the Deans Medal of Honour. She has studied dance extensively in New York and Africa, and is a qualified Non-Linear Movement Instructor. With an early foundation in Classical Ballet, Emily has also completed teacher trainings in ATS Tribal Belly Dance, Masala Bhangara Bollywood Dance, and Hatha Yoga.

Emily has performed and toured in numerous cross-cultural works, as well as directing productions for theatres and festivals.

In her local Blue Mountains community, Emily is known for her joyful, nourishing community classes and performances, involving a diverse range of ages and abilities. She has also worked in Melbourne, Adelaide, Perth, Bali, Japan and Singapore.

Hands Heart & Feet Origin Story:

Hands Heart & Feet was founded by John May and Emily Cooper in 2005. Emerging from years of joyous mountains gigging, Hands Heart & Feet drum and dance classes became a beloved fixture of the Blue Mountains community, as well as a favourite at festivals such as Winter Magic, Banquet of Dreams, Peats Ridge and more.

For 14 years John and Emily’s combined warmth and passion extended beyond teaching rhythms and dances to build a truly unique community.

Following John’s departure in 2019, Emily stepped into the role of drum teacher. In her classes, she pays homage to the many gifted drummers and dancers that have helped build Hands Heart & Feet – most especially the ingenious and generous contribution of John May.


Hands Heart & Feet are passionate about creating inclusive, expressive community spaces, where every body is embraced – regardless of age, shape, ability or otherwise. We cultivate an atmosphere that is welcoming, creative and full of joy.

What people are saying…

It is difficult to overstate the benefit that I have derived from my involvement with Hands Heart & Feet. Although I always enjoy the drumming and nonlinear movement immensely what I look forward to the most each week is being with people who have become my dearest friends, which is something I couldn’t have expected or hoped for when I tapped my first djembe many years ago. My advice to anyone thinking of joining a class would be to not hesitate, but to be careful – if you let it, HH&F will change your life.

David Taylor

Class participant

Hands Heart & Feet is such a beautiful community, and Emily creates such wonderful classes. Whether it’s dancing, drumming or yoga, her unique teaching style puts everyone at ease, and encourages everybody to go for it. Two of my daughters also do Emily’s dance classes, and one of my greatest joys is sharing this with them – which Emily embraces and encourages so much. We all really love being part of Hands Heart & Feet together.

Miriam Philomena

Class participant

I’ve been doing Hands, Heart and Feet dance and drum classes for over 10 years. It has become such an important part of my life, not only as a way to keep fit, but to learn about rich cultural practices and to engage with the wonderful Blue Mountains community. Emily brings something to our community that is joyful, inclusive and incredibly unique.
Michelle Barlow

Class participant

Photography Credit:

We want to acknowledge the amazing photographers who have generously allowed us to include their images on this site. The beauty and atmosphere of a Hands Heart & Feet event is transitory, but these images capture and preserve that forever. For their stunning artistry and sensitivity, we want to thank:

David Brazil Photography
Brigitte Grant Photography
Lona Logan: Intertia Photography
Micaela Osfield
David Mapletoft
Oliver Steine
Carly Sare
Black Forest Cherry Photography

Website by Cristie Fuller

“Everything in the universe has a rhythm. Everything dances.” 

Maya Angelou