• Arya

EP 12: It’s All About Daring and Discipline w/ Emma Zangs

Updated: Jun 30

Dance, Discipline, Public Speaking

Emma Zangs is a Choreographer and Movement & Communication Coach based between London and Norfolk. She holds an MA in Choreography from TrinityLaban Conservatoire and is a resident of Sadler’s Wells Artist Development Programme. 

Works with growing and established businesses from GoCardless to Google, coaching entrepreneurs in accelerators such as Farfetch Dream Assembly and giving dance sessions for refugees to settle in the UK. She lectures at Cass Business School and UCL's Entrepreneurship MSc, while successfully trained startups to pitch at Dragon’s Den and win the royal Pitch At Palace competition.

Some Questions I Ask:

- You say we are all dancers. How’s that?

- How do you think dance and movement help with public speaking?

- Is there a pattern regarding the ability to become better at communicating? It's gender-related or it has to do with the person’s determination more than anything no matter age, gender, personality?

- Recently I was reading an article about self-sabotage, is this something you are familiar with and what’s the best way to conquer it?

On This Episode You Will Learn:

About the luxury of silence, the importance of connecting to our inner rhythm, the power of body language, her Ted talk about the idea that we are all dancers, how we owe being alive to our ancestors during the ice age who danced and mated after, fun facts about her childhood and much more. She even shared her coaching techniques to help me step on stage this summer!


Silence it’s been a journey. After 10 years of living in London, the noise became a parasite and it was quite difficult for me to find moments where I could really be in silence in London. I grew up in the countryside in France where at night everything is super dark, silent, you hear the house cricking.

My family is very musical, music is a huge huge part of my life. The house is really musical, there’s always sound going on, music playing.

When I was trying to heal from type 1 diabetes I knew I had to move to the countryside where we have time to breathe, explore, to be.

In London, I can’t hear my heartbeat and that made me really sad. I thought I can’t hear myself breathing, I can’t hear myself live. This buzz buzzy rhythm its too much adrenaline.

To be able to find silence it’s a luxury now.

I’m a dancer and I dance a lot in silence as well to listen to my inner rhythm.

When we are out of sync with our inner rhythm something goes wrong. With diabetes, I found that if I find my rhythm, if I slow down or if I go to nature, I’m able, in silence, to really reconnect to myself and it is in silence that I’m able to do that.

I feel I connect with people beyond words. I don’t really need to talk to you and I know you when I see you moving or the way you breathe, the way you walk around, the way you look at me, the way you sit down, that’s communication and that’s in silence. It has sound but it doesn’t have words.

Words are very limited. When I was little I would make up my own words. I couldn’t mimic the same words for me. Language is a construct so I just constructed my own. 

At a very primal level, we are dancers. As we grow older we stop because we become super self-conscious about what people will think, or we come across as a fool or are we too crazy to just dance but it's within us to dance and to move because it's an expression of life and emotions. And it also brings us together.

When there was the ice age what kept us alive was dancing because dancing it's quite sexual actually. When we dance in a community we are also sending signals that ‘we are able to mate’. During the ice age, because they were so cold, they would dance to stay warm, and then they would mate to keep the succession going.

I see people as dancers, and because I see them as dancers when they use their whole body they are able to focus, their brain functions better, they stop being self-conscious and they are more inflow and presence.

If you are focussed on your whole body, where your feet are, where your hands are, you will be focused on yourself not on what the other person is thinking. You’d be completely embodied and that’s fascinating.

Living in our heads it’s not sustainable, we get so anxious about everything.

It’s what do you with your anxiety not if you have it or not having it. Do you pay attention? You pay attention and then take some actions? Do you keep worrying like a hamster in a wheel? It’s actually really good to be anxious because that keeps us alive.

When you can recognize when the brain is doing its job to try for me to not fail but is it stopping me from doing things? Here's where you can decide what you pay attention to.

I’m more intuitive, which led me to great things and not so great things. Intuition sometimes is wrong. Your brain will say something, your intuition will say something, in the end, it's all about daring and it’s all about discipline.

You have to go for one goal, just one, focused. If you look at the impossible it becomes possible. Bit by bit every day what can I do to reach that goal? What is the discipline I am gonna do every single day to reach that goal? And if I don’t have discipline, if I don’t have a habit, if I don’t take action every single day, it won’t happen.

It might take longer but it doesn’t matter as long as you move forward.

Motivation is bullshit, all it takes is discipline.

You can split your brain into many compartments, if you are completely aware of your body and you practice your movements, your body will know what that is. If you are focused on your whole body then your brain cannot split itself.

It’s also good to have an intention. We don’t remember words, we remember energies, we remember how people made us feel in their presence.

When I do talks I want people to feel that I talk to everyone the same way. I’m going to talk like they matter, everybody matters.

Women we’ve been trained and it's in our past, to serve and please, to be at service of other people, to always be there, and be liked and be nice. That’s not helping us to be present.

Connect with Emma:





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