Art in Motion

Lauren Kearns, professor of dance, explores movement as a means to tell a story.

It takes about 10 hours of studio rehearsal time to create one minute of dramatic choreography. The process of creating and honing movement into art takes time, and it’s also how Lauren Kearns, professor of dance, conducts her research.

Her lab is a dance studio, and it is through experimentation and sometimes failure—in a vein similar to the way a scientist stumbles upon answers—that Kearns discovers the body movements that best tell the story she wants to convey. Regardless of whether her work is dramatic, humorous or intended to advance a social message, Kearns seeks to create dance pieces with both narrative and meaning.

Starting with a concept, she begins moving on the dance floor. She shoots video of the improvisation, culls the 10 percent she finds interesting and then works with student dancers to cultivate and fine-tune the choreography. She often incorporates film, video and music, striving to make dynamic, cutting-edge and progressive pieces that are memorable. She is also working on creating solos and duets that are portable and can be performed in a variety of spaces, such as a storefront, park or a mountaintop.

I love choreographing and creating art. I enjoy spending countless hours in the studio researching movement, dissecting movement, analyzing movement and inventing new ways of composing movement. I love designing new movement sequences to teach my students, and I love the process of reflecting and writing about the movement.

In addition to choreographing more than 50 professional dance pieces that she shares on regional, national and international stages, Kearns is writing a textbook, “Somatics in Action: A Mindful and Physical Conditioning Tool for Movers,” a Pilates and yoga based movement system that helps movers achieve optimum strength, alignment and body-mind engagement. Kearns is also developing a new movement technique that blends the velocity of high intensity athletic movements with the reflective intimacy of gesture.

Joined Elon’s Faculty:

  • 2006


  • Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of California, Los Angeles
  • Master of Arts in Dance Education from the University of California, Los Angeles

Recently Published Work:

Notable Dance Pieces

  • The Feathers are Laughing, an original solo selected by an international panel to perform at the Bijokesite, the unique Art Center of Ghent, Belgium. May 31-June 1, 2015
  • Twister, an original duet selected by a national panel to perform at the Charlotte Dance Festival, Charlotte, N.C., March 21, 2015
  • The Unicorn, The Gorgon and The Manticore, commissioned by the Bel Canto Vocal Ensemble to choreograph and produce a dance film to accompany their live performance of Menotti’s one-act opera. October 12-14, 2014, Greensboro, N.C.


  • Kearns, L (2015): “Critique as Dance Pedagogy.” Arts and Humanities in Higher Education Journal. Invited by the editors to write the article for a special journal issue. Publication date 7/14/16.