Day in the Life: Assistant School Director Milanda McGinnis

March 17, 2015 § Leave a comment

As Assistant School Director, my main priority is to support the School Director in anything that she needs. That includes keeping up with the books, helping to develop curriculum, and being a parent liaison. I love being able to come to Dance Project each day for work because it lets me get the best of both worlds–the work I do is equally administrative and artistic. I hope you enjoy seeing what an average day in my life looks like!

–Milanda McGinnis, Assistant School Director

10:00–When I come in, I check the studio notebooks and take any payments that have been received in class. One of the most major parts of my job is to keep up with all the money that comes in and out of the school. This means writing the checks for Jan to sign, reminding parents when monthly tuition is due, and keeping up with the bills (not exciting, but definitely necessary!). I try and get everyday payment things out of the way as soon as I come in so I can focus larger amounts of time to big projects.

12:00–I have a meeting with Lauren to go over some new information about some upcoming marketing. It’s definitely important for us to make sure that the projects we do reach a wide audience and having a solid marketing plan will help us to be successful.

1:45–I’ve got a little downtime, so I’m looking for new and innovative teaching methods that help supplement our curriculum. I want the dancers that I teach to leave the studio knowing everything that they can about as many styles as possible to prepare them for college and beyond.

2:30–More teacher prep! The Teen Performance Company just had their first performance of the semester at Pillow Pops and it went great! Now it’s time to learn some new choreography. I like to spend some time in my day going over the choreography that I plan to teach tonight so that when it’s time for instruction, I’m fully prepared and can give 100%.

4:45–One of my favorite parts of the day is when I get to teach. I love working with my students! They’re dedicated and hardworking and getting to see their improvement each week is a joy to me. Today I’m teaching Modern III for ages 13-18 and Teen Performance Company. In Modern we’re working on getting ready for the Spring Showcase where the dancers will be performing a dance inspired by mermaids in the sea. It’s got an aquatic, flow-y feel to it. I’m excited for the finished product!

Day in the Life: Artistic and Executive Director Jan Van Dyke

March 9, 2015 § Leave a comment

Jan Van Dyke  is the founder of the Dance Project, directs her own dance company, the Van Dyke Dance Group, and served for several years as the Head of the Dance Department at UNC-Greensboro. Van Dyke has been making dances for over 40 years and has shown choreography widely throughout the United States and in Europe, including Italy, the UK, France and Portugal. She has been active in the Greensboro and North Carolina dance communities for over 20 years, and her experience and accomplishments are well-respected. She has been awarded numerous honors: she is the recipient of a NC Choreography Fellowship, and a 1993 Fulbright Scholar. In 2001, she was honored with the North Carolina Dance Alliance Annual Award for contributions to the development of dance in the state. An acclaimed teacher, DANCE TEACHER MAGAZINE recently gave her the 2008 Dance Teacher Award for Higher Education. In 2010, UNCG honored her with the Gladys Strawn Bullard Award for leadership and service. The United Arts Council of Greensboro presented her with the Betty Cone Medal of Arts Award in 2011.


A Message from Artistic and Executive Director, Jan Van Dyke:

I carry the title of executive director and artistic director, and I am also company director for the Van Dyke Dance Group. I consider my job to be staying on top of all that is going on, helping the staff members, who are often in closer touch with details than I am, to make decisions. I am the founder/director for the whole organization, so my face and name are out in front. I want to be sure that everything we do is consistent with our mission, that our programs support each other, and that everyone who works with us understands our organizational goals.

I go to company rehearsals several days each week. Meet with staff about this and that. Sign a lot of checks. Talk with Lauren and Milanda about finances and scheduling. Talk with Anne about plans for the Festival, designs for posters and programs. I write press releases and reports for the Board of Directors. I spend time alone to think things through– things like what the ending of the new dance should be, what the big picture of the Dance Project should look like, what the best way to approach future growth might be. And I count myself very lucky to work with such a talented and creative group of women.


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!



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