Lauren Burke has had a busy couple of years. She was named the 2014 Outstanding Dance Student of the Year at the University of Houston (her picture is currently on UH Dance department's promotional material). She was awarded a prestigious scholarship to attend American Dance Festival 2014. She was one of only 19 who were chosen for New York choreographer Netta Yerushalmy's work. (Some 400 dancers auditioned.) She was named the Best Emerging Artist at the most recent Houston Fringe Festival, where she performed her own work. And she's currently dancing for not one but two of her favorite local dance companies, Urban Souls and FrenetiCore. This story continues on the next page.
What She Does: "To be honest, I do not know how to answer that...question...as of yet. I began dancing late in life compared to most. I started learning technique at 14, but I didn't call myself a dancer until people convinced me I was one six years later.
"So, what do I do? I'm a recovering graduate, a student no longer in an institution, but still studying my craft and ways to combine my passions [in] music, culinary, visual art, writing and dance. For pay, I currently teach, perform and choreograph dance."
Why She Likes It: "Honestly, my favorite part about dance, as well as with my other art interests, is the high that it gives me. Though the finished product is always exciting...if I am pleased with it."
What Inspires Her: Three things inspire Burke, she tells us. The human body, social dance and [human] interaction. Coming from a family of scientists and health professionals, Burke began college as a nursing student. A mentor persuaded her to follow her dream instead of her pocketbook and she changed her major to dance. That background in anatomy has come in handy, she says. "Now I take the anatomically correct approach through form, shapes and weight sharing."
If Not This, Then What: "If all else fails, I would like to [revert back to medicine.] I would love to study midwifery. I may still do this even if all else succeeds. I do not believe in planning that far ahead, believe it or not."
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If Not Here, Then Where: Burke's family is what she calls a "traveling family," so she saw lots of the country growing up. "I would like to push my comfort zone and live abroad. I currently have plans of moving to Spain for some years, seizing the opportunities as they come. If they don't, I'll make my own. From there, it's back to Houston to sink my roots and continue contributing to the arts. I can visit all other places and settle in for a few years, but Houston is my home and I'm committed to it."
What's Next: "I just graduated from University of Houston last semester and honestly, I have been in transition mode. Adulthood is not fun! Thankfully, I have a supportive family...Next up are auditions for cruise lines. I want to kill three birds with one ship, dance, travel and save. Once that season is over, I would like to tackle traveling musicals, but always in my down time, I intend on putting together my own shows, here in Houston."
More Creatives for 2014 (In order of most recently published; click here for the full page).
Ben Fritzsching, comic book show promoter and character actor Will Ottinger, novelist Greg Starbird, theater lighting designer Dominique Royem, symphony orchestra conductor Marc Boone, Sneaker Gang founder and designer Andy McWilliams, sound designer and composer Maria-Elisa Heg, zine queen Allan Rodewald, artist Anne-Joelle Galley, artist Michelle Ellen Jones, ballroom dancer and actress Morris Malakoff, photographer and filmmaker Terrill Mitchell, dancer Deji Osinulu, photographer Mason Sweeney, artist K.J. Russell, sci-fi author and writing teacher Emily Robison, choreographer and filmmaker John Cramer, violinist and concertmaster Shipra Mehrotra, Odissi dancer and choreographer Winston Williams, comics artist Octavio Moreno, opera singer Dylan Godwin, actor, storyteller and teacher McKenna Jordan, independent bookstore owner Steven Trimble, mixed media artist Sandria Hu, visual artist and professor of art Robert Gouner AKA Goon73, photographer Shawna Forney and Erma Tijerina (aka SHER), culture gurus Mark Bradley, photographer James Ferry, comics artist Keith Parsons, author and philosophy professor Alonzo Williams Jr., photographer Rudy Zanzibar Campos, painter Paige Kiliany, director Betirri Bengtson, visual artist Melissa Maygrove, romance novelist Natalie Harris, bridal gown designer Larry McKee, cinematographer Tiffany Heath, filmmaker Jonathan Pidcock, Jewelry Maker Mallory Bechtel, actor, singer, dancer Janine Hughes, visual artist Nyssa Juneau, artist John Merritt, artist Leslie Scates, choreographer and dance educator Denise O'Neal, producer, director, playwright Jason Poland, cartoonist Courtney Sandifer, filmmaker, actor, writer Lloyd Gite, gallery owner Henry Yau, The Children's Museum of Houston's publicity and promotions guru Angeli Pidcock, fantasy writer and mentor Jennifer Mathieu, author Scott Chitwood, writer Anat Ronen, urban artist Amber Galloway Gallego, rockstar and sign language interpreter Michael Weems, playwright Lane Montoya, artist Jordan Simpson, SLAM poet Joey & Jaime, designers Suzi Taylor, photographer Ashton Miyako, dressmaker T. Smith, artistLindsay Finnen, photographer Kaitlyn Stanley, tattoo artist Eleazar Galindo Navarro, video game maker Kate de Para, textile and clothing designer Shawn Swanner, video game painter Andy Gonzales, painter Chris Foreman, comic book sketcher Theresa DiMenno, photographer Jessica E. Jones, opera singer Atseko Factor, actor John Pluecker, writer, poet and language justice worker Ricky Ortiz, painter, tattoo artist Rabēa Ballin, artist David Wald, actor Lisa E. Harris, performing and visual artist Stephanie Todd Wong, executive director of Dance Source Houston Pamela Fagan Hutchins, novelist Heather Gordy, artist Mark Nasso, comic artist Shelbi-Nicole, artist Marian Szczepanski, novelist Jonathan Blake, fashion designer Doni Langlois, interior designer Kat Denson, dancer Blame the Comic, comedian Margaret Menchaca Alvarez, artist Jacquelyne Jay Boe, dancer Rene Fernandez, painter Teresa Chapman, choreographer and dancer