She has movie-star looks and immaculate technique, but Lauren Adams is no superficial beauty: Her greatest gift is her sophisticated choreographic mind. Adams creates deeply felt works—loved by everyone from concert audiences to comp kids—that pulse with an energy at once raw and romantic. A native of Chesterfield, MI, she trained at Shelley's Spotlight (now called Spotlight Dance Works) and went on to perform with IV Dance Company and Jason Parsons Company. Her choreography has been featured everywhere from the Jazz Dance World Congress to the Capezio A.C.E. Awards; she's taught at Broadway Dance Center, Steps on Broadway and The Juilliard School; and she's currently on faculty at 24 Seven Dance Convention. Keep an eye out for her new short film, “Running," which has screened in NYC and will be shared publicly this month. —Margaret Fuhrer
You love dance. Hold tight to this truth when you're tested. Not every job or opportunity will be for you, but those that are meant for you will be worth the wait.
Work for free if it means helping a fellow artist bring his or her art to life. Trust me: The favor will be returned, and you'll meet many of your lifelong friends and collaborators through passion projects.
Try not to fuss over who likes your work and who doesn't. Some of your favorite work will be the work most criticized by others. You have to create what you feel in your heart and your bones. And on days when loving your own work doesn't seem to be enough, have yourself a good cry. You'll feel much better afterward.
Trust yourself. You know what's best for you and your career. Take the chances and the risks that will push you to grow. No apologies: You're allowed to grow.
You're going to make mistakes along the way. You'll stumble and downright fall. You'll be rejected—a lot. But you'll be in the ring for a long time, so get ready for a beautiful fight!
When you're doubting yourself, think of all of the people who've invested in you: your family, your teachers, your students and your friends. You're not in this alone. Your job is to be generous with what you can give.