Local Motion Project, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, is dedicated to the belief that all people benefit from moving their bodies and having the opportunity to partake in creative experiences. Our participants are diverse in age, race, ethnicity, income, body type, gender, and sexual orientation. Their relationship to dance ranges from dance appreciator to student to professional. Our work is not limited to a specific audience, but rather geared to bring all types of people together.
We believe we have a responsibility as educators and artists to increase understanding of dance and its physical, cognitive, emotional, and social benefits. We see a need in communities for an expanded definition of dance, one that does not limit access, but rather offers and educates its population in the many ways to engage with dance. This means addressing systemic oppression in the dance field, increasing offerings of varied dance styles, contextualizing the dance we teach within the broader world of dance, and increasing the understanding of dance beyond performative and Western dance forms.
FACULTY & STAFF
Founder, Executive and Co-Artistic Director, Teacher
Sara Lavan is the founder of Local Motion Project where she serves as Executive and Co-Artistic Director. She co-creates, co-curates, and co-facilitates programming including movement classes, continuing education, youth dance school, creative community workshops, and school residencies. Her dance training began in Sandy Hook/Newtown Connecticut studying ballet with Marsah Ismailoff Mark. Her experience was creative, positive and encouraged artistry. These beginnings set her on a dance path that was dynamic and never felt limited. Sara received her BA from New York University. In New York she studied with many with Igal Perry and Deborah Damast being the most influential on her journey, and showing up in her teaching and creating to this day. Now in Alexandria VA, she has been fortunate to learn from, dance with, and choreograph for Choreographers Collaboration Project which has been an essential part of her growth as a dancer. Sara received her Pilates training at the Kane School of Core Integration. She has continuing education from Kinected Pilates Center, Balanced Body University, Franklin Method with Eric Franklin, BrainDance developed by Anne Green Gilbert, Pregnancy and Postpartum fitness with Debora Goodman, MSPT, arts integration from the University of Delaware, Language of Dance (LOD) from 92nd Street Y, dance integration from Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts (CETA) program, and National Dance Education Organization (NDEO). Sara has been published in Dance Magazine, Dance Teacher, and Dance Studio Life. She has presented at NDEO conferences, facilitated professional development for Arena Stage and has served as commissioner with the Alexandria Arts Commission. She is currently a teaching artist with the Kennedy Center’s CETA program and Teaching Artists Present online library.
Co-Artistic Director, Chief Operating Officer, Teacher
Kylie Murray teaches pre-modern and creative dance and co-directs LMP Collective at Local Motion Project. She develops and facilitates continuing education workshop, and collaborates on new adult work that blends theatre and dance to share compelling stories. She co-created Alexandria’s first public school dance integration program for which she creates lessons, trains classroom teachers, and teaches students. Kylie is a teaching artist for the Kennedy Center’s Changing Education Through the Arts program and Teaching Artists Present series, a collaborator and teacher for arts integration programming with the Smithsonian Institution, and a two-time presenter at the National Dance Education Organization national conference. Previously, Kylie toured with Missoula Children’s Theatre and taught middle school theatre in Arizona and Virginia. She received her BFA in Theatre Performance from Chapman University and her M.Ed. in Secondary Education from Grand Canyon University. “When working with children and adults, my aim is to inspire curiosity and connection. I delight in the element of surprise that can come with generating new movement and guide those I work with to celebrate new discoveries.”
Administrative Associate, Aerial Programs Director
Sarah teaches aerial hammock at LMP. After discovering aerial at Local Motion in 2016, she was drawn to teaching to deepen her knowledge of the aerial art form and share the joy of aerial with everyone. Sarah has completed her Level 1 and Level 2 aerial training. She was co-owner of Local Motion Studio and is now a vital part of the operations at LMP.
Silvia teaches Adult Ballet at LMP. She was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, where she studied at the National School of Dance, obtaining her degree as National Teacher, and studied at the prestigious Teatro Colon where she obtained her Diploma as Professional Dancer. Ms. Burstein performed extensively in Canada with Le Ballet Classique de Montreal, Theatre Ballet of Canada, P.M. Ottawa Jazz and Le Groupe Lab (Le Groupe de la Place Royale). Ms. Burstein’s teaching experience includes Le Groupe de la Place Royale, Elaine Hunter Dance School, Le Petit Ballet, Dance Educators, Atelier de Dance Carole Brouard, and Ottawa University. She choreographs and performs with Choreographers Collaboration Project.
Ila teaches Adult Modern and Ballet at LMP. She holds BA in Dance from the University of Colorado at Boulder and MFA in Dance from New York University Tisch School of the Arts. Ila is a choreographer, instructor, and occasionally a performer. Ila has taught and been a guest choreographer at several institutions including Pikes Peak Community College, University of Texas El Paso, New Mexico State University, University of Kentucky, Savannah State University, The Moving Collective, and Ormao Dance Company. Ila choreographs concert dance, site-specific work, dance theatre, and community modern. She is faculty and chair of the dance department at The Kentucky Center Governor School for the Arts as well a freelance artist and director/choreographer of ICONography Dance.
Lauren teaches Hip-Hop at Local Motion Project. She is a certified life coach, trauma-informed wellness facilitator, dance educator, and choreographer dedicated to empowering others through movement, mindfulness, introspection, and self-care. She received her degree in Dance Performance and Communications from Old Dominion University and has been teaching professionally for 11 years. A distinguished thought leader in the arts community with performance and teaching credits including The Kennedy Center, Howard Theatre, Dance Place DC, Culture Shock DC, World of Dance, BET, CW Network, George Washington University, NPR, and Dept. of Energy. Combining her love for people and the arts, she created & founded The Lion’s Den, an inclusive community connecting through movement, wellness, and self-expression. A passionate self-care facilitator, Lauren thrives in hosting workshops and wellness events centered around connection, transformation, and living on purpose. She's the host and creator of the Thrive + Thread podcast, a sacred soul space for others to lean into healing, self-love, personal growth, and creativity. You can find her reading, writing, and drinking coffee in her free time. She is honored to be on the LMP staff and adores her students! (BA, RYT 200, CAPP, MSBR-T, CLC, MFT) Learn about Lauren's work with The Lion's Den.
Melody teachers dance residencies and camps for LMP. She graduated with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Ballet and Modern Dance from Belhaven University in Jackson, Mississippi. While at Belhaven, she studied under numerous experts in the field of dance including former professionals from The Royal Ballet and Houston Ballet. Melody has extensive training and experience in ballet, modern, and contemporary, and performed numerous roles both on stage and working in production. Melody has danced professionally with The Limelight Collective in Berlin, Germany and Todd Rosenlieb Dance in Norfolk, Virginia. In addition to performing, Melody has a heart for teaching and desires to walk alongside dancers of all ages to help them become the best dancers they can be. Melody is very excited to be teaching for Local Motion Project!
Tess teaches Mobility & Strength at LMP. She comes from a dance background with training in Pilates, Yoga and Barre. Her classes focus on mobility, functional movement, and full body awareness using breath and alignment. She received her Pilates training with Physical Mind, her yoga training at Tranquil Space and Barre training at Barre Body. Additionally, she studied ballet though college, has been teaching yoga and Pilates since 2003 and barre since 2014. Her classes draw from dance, Pilates, strength training and yoga.
Carissa has been a part of the LMP family since 2016 and loves working with some of our youngest dancers, teaching Dance with me and Creative Dance classes. She has been dancing since the age of four starting at a family-owned studio in Niagara Falls, NY. There she assisted teaching, which led to her deep love of teaching dance. She has been dancing and performing for over 20 years. Carissa has experience in tap, jazz, ballet, modern, hip-hop, pointe, and acro. Carissa has taught at both the elementary and middle school levels, and is currently working in instructional technology. A lifelong learner and educator, Carissa is a Reiki and Mind Body Spirit Release practitioner who also enjoys offering workshops and sharing her light with those around her.
Cameron teaches Creative Dance for LMP. Originally from Raleigh, NC, Cameron was quite literally ‘raised on a farm.’ Growing up as a participant and competitor in equine sports and activities, Cameron was introduced to movement at the age of fifteen through the marching arts. From there, her love for dance, movement, and color guard took off. While performing in the DCI and WGI circuits, Cameron also attended Western Carolina University earning a BA in Classics and a minor in dance. Since graduating, she has taught and performed with color guards across the country with groups such as First Flight World and Bluecoats Indoor. Cameron has a passion for introducing movement to young people; in addition to teaching at LMP, she brings color guard to local neighborhoods in the hopes of bringing opportunity to places that it wouldn’t otherwise be brought. She coaches and choreographs for local high school groups and enjoys performing when her schedule allows. Cameron always aims to be a light to her students in the hopes that movement can be the refuge for them that it always has been for her.
Teacher, Private Pilates Instructor
Christine teaches Mind-Body Ballet and Private Pilates at LMP. She grew up in Tucson, Arizona and since then has devoted 20+ years to the art of classical ballet as a dancer, choreographer, and teacher. In 2009 Christine was introduced to Pilates and found it provided strength and control in her dance technique, as well as a method to both prevent and rehabilitate injuries. Her desire to share this with her students led to continuing her studies of movement, anatomy, and kinesiology through a contemporary, anatomical approach to Pilates. She studied at Balance Pilates Training Center in Richmond, Virginia and obtained her full certification as a STOTT PILATES® Certified Instructor in 2011. This includes training in all levels of Matwork, Reformer, Cadillac, Stability Chair, and Barrels as well as training in the use of props and exercise modifications through the Injuries and Special Populations (ISP) course. Christine is a Merrithew™ Lead Instructor Trainer specializing in offering STOTT PILATES® certification courses to aspiring Pilates instructors. She is also an ACE Certified Personal Trainer. She currently teaches at multiple studios throughout NoVA, and is Owner/Operator of Breathe Pilates Place in La Plata, MD. She currently practices multiple aerial arts including: flying trapeze, lyra, acrobatic partner balancing, and dance trapeze. She has practiced yoga for 15 years and believes that the mind/body/spirit connection is at the core of all forms of movement. Learn about Christine's work with Breathe Pilates Place.
Katie teaches youth Ballet at LMP. Originally from Oregon, she started dancing at the age of four studying ballet, jazz, tap, modern, and hip hop throughout her childhood. She continued to study and perform dance in college and beyond, earning a BA in Dance from Chapman University where she performed throughout the southwest as part of their Dance Tour, was president of Chapman Dance Alliance that had a mission to educate the community on the power of dance, and performed at national conventions such as Jazz Dance World Congress. She knew from a young age that she wanted to share her love of dance by teaching and has taught dance to children and adults for over eight years. She has taught in California, Tennessee, and North Carolina, and currently works for the National Assembly of State Arts Agencies where they work to strengthen and empower state arts agencies to keep the arts accessible in every state.
Courtney teaches creative movement residencies and camps for LMP. She is an interdisciplinary artist, creative arts educator, and a social-entrepreneur that works with the mediums of dance, visual art, and film to create opportunities for recreational and pre-professional artists, curious individuals, and local communities to engage with expressive work. She received a BFA degree in Dance Performance from Chapman University in 2018 where she was the recipient of the “Outside of the Box” award for her dedication to authenticity, experimentation, and entrepreneurship. She has collaborated with visual artists, musicians, and international communities in Southern California, Chicago, San Francisco, Washington D.C., Italy, London, and Israel and formed a creative health initiative called Silent Movement to demonstrate ways to use the creative process to fuel willed change. Courtney strives to set an example for aspiring creatives to be bold in their actions, take calculated risks, and feel grounded in their artistry.
Rebecca teaches youth Modern and Ballet at LMP. She is a dancer, choreographer and educator in the Washington DC area. Rebecca received her Bachelor of Fine Arts in Dance and Choreography from Virginia Commonwealth University in 2015. During her time at VCU, Rebecca traveled to Noto, Sicily where she studied and trained at Consorzio Universitario Mediterraneo Orientale (CUMO) under the guidance of Melanie Richards. Since her graduation from VCU, Rebecca has interned with Dance Place under the guidance of Carla Perlo and Shannon Quinn. In 2016, she worked with ClancyWorks Dance Company, where she had the opportunity to perform at the American Dance Institute. She has also performed with Through the Fourth Wall Productions, where she starred in the immersive theatre production of, "A Dream Within A Dream: Madness." Most recently, Rebecca made her musical debut in the highly acclaimed performance of "Legally Blonde" at the Little Theatre of Alexandria. She is currently a company member, administrative assistant, and teaching artist for Jane Franklin Dance. Since joining the company in 2016, she has had the opportunity to perform throughout the District at VelocityDC Dance Festival, Atlas INTERSECTIONS Festival and Capital Fringe Festival.
Our work is highly collaborative and thrives on the belief that we can put any idea and any group of people into a room to create something new and exciting. The individual perspective that each dancer contributes holds a place of value in our creative process. Our performance ensemble embodies our commitment to hiring dancers who are diverse in age, gender, race and ethnicity, and at various stages of life, both personally and professionally, many of whom have put performance on hold for parenthood and/or other career choices. Often working with dancers over the age of 40, we work to expand the often-limiting definition of what dance is and who can do it.
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
Matthew Stensrud, President
Elizabeth Watson, Secretary
Meg Williams, Treasurer