Day in the Life: School Director Lauren Joyner

February 25, 2015 § Leave a comment

As the School Director, I have so many things to think about in one day. If I want the school to run smoothly, then my best friend is strategic organization. With only so many in-office hours available to me during the week, having clear goals makes the work that much easier and more enjoyable. Hopefully you’ll enjoy this snapshot of what an average start of my week looks like!
-Lauren Joyner, School Director

9 am- The day begins with checking voicemail. We get tons of calls every day from current and prospective parents, as well as community members who want to collaborate for outreach opportunities. After that, I send out an email to the staff about any reminders or changes for the week. It’s important to stay in touch with the teachers to make sure they are able to do their jobs to the best of their abilities; without them, our school couldn’t run! 

9:25- It feels like the semester just started, but I’m already putting lots of work into planning this summer and fall! I’m coordinating our masterclass series, working with an intern to make a promo video, and finalizing our summer schedule. 

11:30- I meet with the Assistant School Director at least once a week to catch up and make sure we stay on the same page. Since we don’t always work the same hours, this meeting helps us be sure we know exactly what needs to be accomplished this week.

12:45- One of the huge outreach events of the Spring semester is The Lindley Park Pillow Pops. It’s an exciting evening of music and dance featuring the Greensboro Symphony Orchestra and our adult, teen, and junior performance companies. The performance is coming up soon, so we’re spending lots of time digging through the costume closet to make sure our dancers have everything they need. 

2:00- I have a meeting tomorrow to discuss a possible collaboration between DPSCA and the Music Center so I’m focusing some of my energy on doing online research and prep so I can be totally prepared. 

3:15- I spend a lot of time coordinating what our Work Study students can do to help around the office. Today, I’ve got them putting up flyers around the building and organizing the costume closet. 

4:00- My favorite part of the day: teaching! I’ve got Musical Theatre today with my 7-12 year olds. It’s amazing to watch their growth week by week.

Day In The Life: Program Director Anne Morris

February 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

At a small non-profit like Dance Project, the title of “Program Director” really means: Director of Development, Director of Public Relations and Publicity, Outreach Coordinator, Artist Services manager, Grant writer, Receptionist, Social media advisor, Blogger, and Intern Supervisor.  All of that in only 20 hours a week! My main focus is managing the annual NC Dance Festival, but I’m involved in the running of the whole organization as well. One of the things I love about the job is the variety that I get from day to day–each day I’m working on a different collection of tasks and projects, which is sometimes hectic but never boring! Here’s a snapshot of a day in my life at the Dance Project.  –Anne Morris, Program Director

9 am- I come into the office and start my day by making to-do lists for the interns. There’s a lot that goes on every day, and keeping a running to-do list online keeps everything running smoothly.


9:30- I spend time updating spreadsheets with new attendance data, drafting Thank You cards for our donors, and planning new social media marketing strategies to make sure we’re making the best use out of our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and blog.

11:30- Some days I’m lucky enough to get a mid day break for a rehearsal with the Van Dyke Dance Group. It’s great to be able to get up and move for an hour or so in the middle of a work day.

Van Dyke Dance Group in rehearsal

Van Dyke Dance Group in rehearsal

1:00- I meet with the staff and we discuss important upcoming events at the Dance Project. Currently we’re looking for innovative ways to kick off the 25th season of the North Carolina Dance Festival. We’re figuring out what grants to apply for so that we can do even more outreach next year.

3:30- I love how much video content I get to look at and edit. I’m currently spending some time working on a video that will introduce Dance Project’s new YouTube page!


4:00- Last stop for the day is teaching. Today I’m teaching Creative Movement. It’s always an exciting way to end a day–preschoolers have tons of energy!

6:30- I finally head home to get some well deserved rest before I come back tomorrow and do it all over again!

And…that’s a wrap!

January 30, 2015 § Leave a comment

The last performance of the 14-15 season is behind us! Thanks to all who came out to the final performance at UNC-Charlotte, and thanks to the fantastic choreographers and performers who have made the festival so special this year!

We’re already getting excited about next year’s 25th Anniversary season! Stay tuned for news and announcements about our plans in the next couple of months. In the meantime, check out all the great performances and classes going on around the state as you continue to #dancelocal!


Meet the Local Artists: Charlotte Edition

January 16, 2015 § Leave a comment

The North Carolina Dance Festival is finishing up its 2014-2015 season this month. On January 24, NCDF will be performing at UNC-Charlotte’s Anne R. Belk Theater in Robinson Hall at 7:30 pm.

In addition to our five touring artists, there will be two local artists. Saturday’s performance include a work by Davidson College professor Alison Bory and a performance of Kim Jones’s work, Shedding.

Alison Bory is a dancemaker, performer, teacher and scholar, whose choreography dwells in the autobiographical, exploring the capacity of dance performance to expand notions of self-representation and identity. Incorporating personal memory and cultural imagery with a sarcastic sensibility, her dance compositions often employ stylized gesture, idiosyncratic movement patterns, and the beauty found in more awkward moments.

Her choreography has been shown at numerous theatrical venues from NYC to LA as well as on college and university campuses throughout the country.


photo credit:

Since 2011, she has been making work and performing with AGA Collaborative, a trio of artist-scholars investigating the possibilities of co-creating. They are currently working with a group of interdisciplinary artists on a new collaborative project, Geomancy: Divination by Geography, for presentation in The Process Series at UNC Chapel Hill in February.

She has an MFA and PhD from the University of California, Riverside, and is currently Assistant Professor of Dance at Davidson College (Davidson, NC).

As a part of the Charlotte NCDF concert, Bory will present just beneath the surface of my skin. The piece aims to investigate notions of femininity since Betty Friedan’s identification of “the mystique.” Playing with movement languages of representation and of sensation, the duet responds to the changing—and consistent—expectations of gender, sexuality, and coming of age.


Kim Jones is a choreographer, dancer and native New Yorker. She is an Assistant Professor of Dance at UNC Charlotte and a régisseur for the Martha Graham Resource Center. Most notably, she danced with the Martha Graham Dance Company (MGDC), Metropolitan Opera Ballet, and she was a principal dancer in the The King and I Broadway national tour. Jones has presented her choreography internationally. Her research focus is dance reconstruction. She re-stages and integrates Graham’s work into her teaching. Jones received her MFA summa cum laude from Florida State University and her BFA from Marymount Manhattan College.

Kim Jones will present Shedding as part of NCDF in Charlotte. Shedding is excerpted from a larger interdisciplinary collaboration exploring loss, memory, shedding, and renewal. This contemporary dance is rooted in the form and spirit of modern dance, specifically in the techniques and styles of Martha Graham and José Limón. Through the two techniques, and motivated by Handel’s Baroque music and by working with professional artists, we hope to make our own imprint.

photo credit: Kim Jones

photo credit: Kim Jones

This work was supported, in part, by funds provided by the UNC Charlotte Faculty Research Grant.

Want to see the show? Here’s more info about how to join us on the 24th! See you in Charlotte.

Dance Local.

Dance Project’s Letter to Santa

December 15, 2014 § Leave a comment


Dear Santa,
We’ve had a great year at Dance Project and we definitely think we deserve to be on your nice list this year! We raised over $10,000 in July with the help of donors and were able to receive a matching $10,000 from another generous donor to help put us back on solid footing!


We selected 5 amazing artists for NCDF’s 24th annual touring season.

Photo of Leah Wilks by Chris Walt

Photo of Leah Wilks by Chris Walt


Our fall semester is almost done–we had 7 amazing master classes and 2 performance opportunities for our youth and adult companies.

Lauren Joyner teaching Photo by Lisa Finn Thompson

Lauren Joyner teaching
Photo by Lisa Finn Thompson


The Van Dyke Dance Group performed in Greensboro and then toured Vermont to great reviews.

Photo by Michelle Kelly

Photo by Michelle Kelly


Don’t you think we deserve to be on the nice list? We do! Here’s a few things we’ve been dying for this Holiday season:

-Great new submissions for our 25th anniversary season of NCDF
-A working printer for Program Director Anne Morris; even though it is fun to go visit the School office every once in a while
-Exciting master class teachers for the new Spring series
-Lots of new dancers in class and a copy of Misty Copeland’s book, Life in Motion: an Unlikely Ballerina for Ms. M (Assistant School Director Milanda McGinnis)
-Increased arts funding in the local, state, and national legislature
-Adults to register for our newest class, Ballet For the Absolute Beginner, taught by Anne Morris
-New work by the Van Dyke Dance Group
-School Director Lauren Joyner wants t-shirts for our performance companies, new registration software, and a new sound system for studio 305
-More generous supporters
-New costumes in the costume closet and a costume elf to help us keep them organized
-Artistic Director Jan Van Dyke wants more opportunities for staff expansion and better compensation for all their hard work!
-Another successful year cultivating the field of modern dance in North Carolina!


Oh, and a pony, please.

Thanks, Santa!


Festival FAQ

December 8, 2014 § Leave a comment


Check out this post from June to find out about how we choose the dances each season and more!!

Originally posted on Follow the Festival:

NCDFSo, you’ve heard of the NC Dance Festival, and maybe you’ve even seen a performance or two. But how much do you know about this event, heading into its 24th season, and its parent organization, Dance Project? Here are some of the common questions we get about the NC Dance Festival–click on each question to jump to the answer. Test your own knowledge below!

Frequently Asked Questions about the NC Dance Festival

How long have you been around?

How do you pick the dances?

Do you only feature modern dance?

Why don’t you choose a different theme for each year?

Aren’t you based in Greensboro? How do you produce shows across the state?

Are all the choreographers and performers professional dancers?

Where does your funding come from?

Do you run any outreach programs? Can I take class with these artists?

How do I know when Festival activities are coming up near…

View original 1,212 more words

Looking back and dancing forward into 2015!

December 2, 2014 § Leave a comment

December is a great time to look back on the accomplishments of the past year and make plans for the next. At the Dance Project, the NC Dance Festival’s parent organization, we are doing just that. From professional performances in formal and informal settings, to inspiring outreach classes and workshops, from high-quality classes for children, teens, and adults to internships for college students; Dance Project is hard at work in–and for–the Greensboro and North Carolina community. Today, we are sharing an end-of-year letter written by our Artistic Director, Jan Van Dyke. As she says, community organizations like ours need broad support to function and continue serving the community; we hope you will join us in planning for the future of dance in NC by supporting us today. Thanks for all the support you give already!


Dear Dance Lover,

As we approach the end of 2014, I am writing to ask you to consider a gift to the Dance Project, the not-for-profit organization I brought to Greensboro in 1989.   At the Dance Project, we share the mission of cultivating modern dance in North Carolina, nurturing a community of artists, audiences, and students by providing opportunities for training, performance, collaboration, and employment. We have expanded our vision steadily, and now we manage the Van Dyke Dance Group, the School at City Arts, and the NC Dance Festival. We are always busy, reaching out into the community to perform and teach. I hope you are as happy and satisfied with our work over the past year as I am.

This time around, my year includes something special, a substantial gift to ArtsGreensboro to repurpose Room 100 in the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center into a 400+ seat performance space—a really satisfying endeavor. Several years ago, I was left a large sum of money.   I have since struggled to find a meaningful way to spend it that would both honor the legacy of my family, and further my own goals of building a strong and resourceful dance community in this area. It has long been a frustration to operate in a community with no small venue appropriate to local or touring performing artists. Drawing an audience of 250 to a theater meant to seat 900 is not a pleasant or exciting experience for either viewers or performers. Additionally, dance often has special needs in lighting, flooring, and sightlines, which are not always obtainable in makeshift spaces. I noted the energy and money being spent to build up Greensboro’s downtown area, and at the same time, I knew how few alums from the Dance Department at UNCG stay in the area to build their own careers. It seemed a logical next step to conceive of a downtown performance venue, one that might serve as a catalyst in a larger public-private partnership, working with the city to maximize usage of space in the Cultural Arts Center to create a long-needed facility. I am particularly fortunate to have had a big idea like this while also having the means to make it happen. This opportunity has enabled me to fulfill a personal dream while benefitting the entire community.

The new theater will be just one part of a downtown community that is busily defining itself as an active, creative city. Now it is time to redouble support for the Dance Project, so that we can tap into this surge of artistic energy, and continue to be a vital part of this growing community. In particular, we have ambitious plans for the upcoming 25th anniversary season of the NC Dance Festival in Greensboro, with multiple concerts and classes, celebrating years of helping to build the statewide dance community. In addition to an annual concert season and downtown classes taught by a college educated staff, we offer scholarships, free performances, mini-concerts in the schools, and master classes and free workshops throughout the area, all because we love sharing what we do. These projects all require funding to expand on the past 25 years as we go forward with our mission of engaging the community while developing artists and employing dancers.

We are a community organization, needing broad support to function and best serve this community. Thank you very much for considering support of our work, and perhaps, for becoming involved. I would love hearing from you. Please share your ideas with me at or by phone at 336 370 4819. You are the reason we strive to be the best we can be, and we are always looking for new ways to connect.

Sincerely,  Jan Van Dyke


Dance Local.


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