She may be small, but Mark Morris Dance Group’s Lauren Grant has a stage presence that’s larger than life. Whether gliding fluidly through Morris’ Mozart Dances or hamming it up as the spunky Marie in The Hard Nut (Morris’ tongue-in-cheek take on The Nutcracker), she commands attention with every inch of her 4′ 11″ frame. Grant began her dance training when she was 3, eventually studying ballet with Irena Makkai and Inesse Alexandrov and attending summer programs at Boston Ballet and New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. After earning her BFA from Tisch, she joined MMDG in 1996 and has since appeared in more than 40 of Morris’ works. Today Grant is also on faculty at the company’s school (and married to fellow dancer David Leventhal). Catch her performing this month with MMDG at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. —Margaret Fuhrer
From the age of 3 your love of dance has been exceptional. You’ve developed the confidence to follow your dream even though so many dismissed your potential because of your unconventional body type. In actuality, your petite stature will serve you well in many of the roles you’ll dance.
As you continue to train, stay open-minded. Remain receptive to the information various teachers offer you. It’s easy to hold on tightly to habits you learned throughout childhood. Adapt, change and grow with enthusiasm.
Never assume you are done learning. As a 15-year veteran with the Mark Morris Dance Group I still spend every day working to better my technique and artistry. When you are ready, explore the texture, quality and musicality of dance. Advance beyond focusing on the look of the steps and play with the dynamics of the entire phrase of movement.
Remember, as a dancer, your job is to communicate with your audience. You chose this field because you’re comfortable speaking through your body. Be eloquent!
Dancing in a company is a social experience. As you strive for personal excellence, don’t neglect the importance of learning how to dance with others. And always interact with patience, generosity and kindness.
The career ahead will be worth every bead of sweat, shed tear and sore muscle. Toi, toi, toi!
With my best wishes,
P.S. A mere bowl of Raisin Bran won’t fuel you through that last attitude promenade of the Rose Adagio (which you’ll perform when you’re 16). Eat better!