ALUMNI Lauren Beasley Morris uses her internship experience to fuel her dance and disability nonprofit in Nashville
One of Pentacle’s proudest accomplishments is how we continue to cultivate a steady stream of arts professionals entering the performing arts and nonprofit fields. We want to spotlight one alumna of our Internship Program, who used her professional development experience with Pentacle to go on to open an inclusive dance studio for people with disabilities in Nashville, Tennessee. She is just one example of hundreds of arts administrators who have come through our programs and are now leading visionaries in the field.
Lauren Beasley Morris grew up dancing outside of Mobile, Alabama. Her dream as a kid was to move to New York and perform on Broadway. Then, in her senior year of college, she chose to do a capstone project on dance companies and studios serving disabled people. But the examples to learn from were very limited. Her professor said, “You should do it!” But Lauren thought “Someone should do it, but not necessarily me!”
A year later, as she was preparing to move to New York, she wanted to have something lined up for when she arrived. She recalls, “I stumbled across Pentacle’s internship program on a website. I had a call with Clarissa, and that was it.” A few months later, in 2014, Lauren was enrolled in Pentacle’s Internship Program and matched with Groove With Me, a community arts organization serving over 450 young women in Harlem and the South Bronx with free dance classes and performing experiences.
“I started out doing a little bit of everything. I worked directly under the founder Abby [Rosin McCreath] and learned so much from her. I did whatever she needed, from reorganizing the costume closet to helping to plan the recital. As soon as the internship ended, I was hired as the studio manager at Groove With Me.
When I was in the internship, this idea [of starting an inclusive dance studio] came back to me. During the seminar portion, I came away with so many notes. I kept it in the back of my mind, ‘if I ever do decide to do this crazy thing, it’s going to be awesome to have this notebook.’
After a year of being back in Tennessee, I was really content with my job teaching Pure Barre, but I felt like there was a void in my life. This idea resurfaced, and I decided to do a week-long summer camp. Once I started that, the knowledge from my internship came into play. I did a crowdfunding campaign, and I thought ‘while I’m at it, I might as well file for my 501(c)(3).’ That first camp was a huge success, and I ended up opening the [MOVE Inclusive Dance] studio a year later. I still have the notebook from my internship, and every once in a while I’ll go back to reference it. Sometimes I see something that I learned about, totally forgot, and ended up doing exactly what I wrote down!”
Since 1981, Pentacle’s Education and Outreach programs have given youth from a wide range of backgrounds a broad understanding of both performance and nonprofit career possibilities. Our Career Development programs go even further by providing high school, college, and postgraduate students with structured internships to gain hands-on work experience and receive mentorship, training, and a network of peers for support.
If you would like to support the professional development of visionary leaders, like Lauren Beasley Morris, please give to Pentacle today by clicking here or by texting “PENTACLE” to 44-321. Your tax-deductible gift will allow us to continue to cultivate arts leaders who will one day change the world.
Questions and inquiries may be directed to Brittany Couch at email@example.com.