MFA Monday: Lauren Ashlee Small

MFA rightPart 4

The MFA journey has finally become worth it to me.  There is no doubt in my mind that I must participate. I am very excited to begin this journey even as I write this post after a long morning of placement classes, followed by training for my new job at a local gym and celebratory peanut butter cookies at home with my roommate tonight. I am finally beginning my MFA and have all of you, dear fellow Framers, to thank for sharing your stories and paving the way.

Opportunities have come in waves from the network of dance people I have discovered and connected with over the last few years. After receiving suggestions from professors and wellness teachers for many years that I should pick up other exercise regimens and movement styles to cross-train, I finally set aside the time to take that advice. I began going to the gym every now and then and sometimes fairly regularly. I’ve tried P90x, Gyrokinesis, yoga, and almost six months of martial arts (something I’d wanted to try for years). I embarked on the adventure of opening a small studio called The Dance Gallery where I had been teaching dance classes in my hometown for nearly a year before my most recent move down south.

So much has changed in the past year and a half.  I have found validity in my choice to make danceLauren Ashlee Small my living, and contentment in the knowledge that I am capable.  I have probably read more books this year than at any other time in my life on subjects ranging from finances, positivity, purpose, and dance teaching, to finding the work you love, thinking, and the power of the introvert.  My family and friends have definitely been a huge encouragement and continue to motivate me to make use of my gifts to their full capacity.

I would love to hear how graduate school became worth it to you! Feel free to send me an email:

We would also love to know what books you have read that have motivated you in your career.  Comment below!


Lauren Ashlee Small is originally from Springfield, IL. Her training began at Springfield Dance and the Springfield Ballet Company and continued in college where she completed a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance at Belhaven University. Lauren went on to study in The Ailey School’s professional division as a recipient of The Oprah Winfrey Foundation Scholarship and to perform with Amalgamate Dance Company and Dance Into Deliverance. Her choreography has been featured at The Ailey School, Belhaven University, American College Dance Festival, Undertoe Dance Festival at the 92nd Street Y, the New York Jazz Choreography Project, and in Amalgamate’s 7th Annual Artist Series. Lauren has interned with Free Arts of Arizona and Amalgamate Dance Company and was a guest artist at the 2012 Teen Arts Performance Camp in Washington, DC and Emmanuel Ballet Academy’s 2014 summer intensive in Juarez, Mexico. 

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