Amber Robins.jpg


DANCE: Ballet, Contemporary

When she was 5, she asked her mom if she could take a class. She obliged, and Robins went to a tap class and a ballet class. "Once I heard the classical music in ballet I was hooked," she says. "I don’t even remember the dancing as much as I remember the music."

After studying classical ballet and attending Arizona State University, Robins went on to dance with a company in Georgia. But soon, she found herself back in Arizona, where she danced with a modern company out of ASU and traveled to Las Vegas for jobs. But it wasn't until she found Frances Smith Cohen's Center Dance Ensemble that things clicked like they had in her first dance class. 

"Then I auditioned for Center Dance Ensemble and found my home," Robins says. "I have danced for them for 18 years, teach company ballet, and have been given the chance to dance and interpret many wonderful roles." 

One such role stands above the rest for Robins: dancing the part of Anne Frank in Center Dance Ensenble artistic director Frances Smith Cohen's piece titled The Attic. It was an emotional, challenging, and important task — one that proved to be a career highlight for her. "Everything I did I stopped and thought, would the real Anne Frank agree with how I portrayed her here?" Robins remembers. "I did a lot of research on my own for that role. It is very special to me."

Now 45, the Phoenician continues working in motion, still finding inspiration in music for her classic and contemporary dance works. And she's still learning. Blending her classical ballet training with modern techniques, she says she makes a point to try out contemporary dance classes "to broaden my knowledge and to stay current with my choreography."

Robins is in an adjunct teacher for the Anderson Institute of Music & Performing Arts. For dancers still looking for their creative homes, she offers some wisdom. "I would say anyone who is starting out, just audition for everything. Take something from every experience, and don’t take things too personal," Robins says. "You will be turned down a lot, but it is not a personal attack on you or your dancing. You will find your place! Don’t lose heart."