Meet the Co-Directors

As Social Media Intern this spring, I’ve gotten to work with both of the Dance Project Co-Directors, Anne Morris and Lauren Joyner. You might have taken a class with them, seen them perform with the Van Dyke Dance Group, or know them from around the office. They’re fun, hard-working people who keep the organization running so smoothly. For my last blog of my internship, I thought I’d interview both of them to find out more about who they are. Here are a few excerpts from our interview. –Rachel Warrick, Spring 2016 Intern

What does Dance Project mean to the Co-Directors?

– Lauren: I think for me personally the history of my dance career really speaks to Dance Project as a whole. I was a dancer and a performer, but also a choreographer and I fell in love with teaching so it’s a way for me to be involved with dance in every aspect that I love so much. I grew up in North Carolina and I always knew that I wanted to be a dancer and live in a big city. I moved away and I was like ‘this is insane and I think that I actually want to come back’ and so it has facilitated this dream for me here in North Carolina.

– Anne: Dance Project is really a consolidation of so many things that I have always loved to do. I’ve struggled throughout my life to really focus in on one of my loves and always thought, “wouldn’t it be great if I could just have one job that would let me do all these different things’. This allows me to do many of those things; I get to do a lot of  writing, thinking about dance, teaching, programming, and sometimes performing, and that’s really exciting, to combine all those things.

Dance Project not only means so much to them, but they also have big hopes and dreams for the organization that they hope to accomplish:

– Anne: In 5 years, I hope that we are thriving and growing and that when people hear about us and think about us they say, ‘wow that sounds really exciting’. That the Festival is looking a little bit different, but is still finding ways to support artists and to help make really interesting, high-quality work happen. We have lots of hopes and dreams!  I would really like for Dance Project to, in five years, have found some new pathways forward. I think that we have some really strong and powerful programs and foundations and we’re working hard!

– Lauren: I would like to see pretty substantial growth in the School, which would be great, and in the Festival. I would love to see it evolve and change with the ever-changing landscape of dance in the world, not just the state. Then of course the Company– I would love to see it continuing to perpetuate Jan’s vision, and just continuing to do the rep.  I would never want to see that stop, because I think it’s really important for us to keep her going.

How do they feel about being Co-Directors? What do they love about this job?

Anne: I like that I have a fellow partner in this. Lauren and I work really well together and we balance each other out, and it’s so reassuring to get to work closely with somebody so that we’re really in it together, both the fun times and the challenging times. Every day is a little bit different and sometimes it’s frustrating that there are so many demands on my time, but mostly I find it exciting and challenging– a good challenge– to get to do a little bit of everything, so I don’t get bored, for sure.

– Lauren: I think my biggest accomplishment with Dance Project so far has probably been our relationship as co-directors; it feels like this ever-changing, cool adventure that we get to go on together. I love getting to brainstorm and find new ideas and see where our brains take us. When Anne and I get really going, that’s probably the most fun thing for us, because we have so many ideas and it’s fun to think of all the possibilities that can continue to happen.

As much as they love their job, it’s not all work for these two! When they’re not in the office or the studio, they can be found:

– Lauren: On a walk with my dog and my husband– it’s my absolute favorite thing to do in my spare time and I try to do it all the time, no matter how crappy I feel. If my husband was answering that question about me, it would be “on her phone on Pinterest!”

-Anne: Well, these days, probably at home with my family. I have a 2 year old daughter and a newborn, so mostly if I’m not here, and I’m not teaching, I’m at home. We’ve been exploring our yard now that the weather is nice and I’m doing a little gardening.

Mountains or beach?

-Lauren: Mountains. My husband and I got engaged in the mountains so the mountains have a really special feel for me and they’re nicer longer all year round, so I can enjoy them in the snow or the heat.

-Anne: Beach, for sure.

Favorite cupcake?

-Lauren: Maxie B’s strawberry cupcake.

-Anne: I’m really more of a cookie/ brownie/cheesecake/ice cream sort of a person, but if I had to choose a cupcake, it would involve chocolate.

Since they’re dancers, we’ve gotta ask: Do you prefer wearing shoes or going barefoot?

-Anne: Although I probably split my time, I’d say probably shoes, because I don’t like stepping on weird things, but I have no problem being barefoot in the studio or the beach.

-Lauren: Barefoot. I’m a weird dancer and I’d rather be barefoot than anything.

Thanks to these two busy ladies for taking a few minutes to answer my questions! I look forward to seeing what the future brings to them and to Dance Project.

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