Behind the Scenes With MOVE Inclusive Dance Founder, Lauren Beasley
A lifelong dancer, the dance studio was practically Lauren Beasley's second home growing up. She enjoyed dancing so much that she earned a degree in Dance Education from the University of Southern Mississippi. To Lauren, dance is more than just a form of movement - it's her passion.
And she wants to share that passion with others who love to dance. So when she got the idea to start a summer dance camp for people with special needs, a seed was planted. Called "The Project," Lauren was able to raise $5,000 through a crowdfunding campaign to host 13 people between the ages of 13-29 for this week long event. It had such a profound effect on the participants and their families, that Lauren was able to subsequently raise another $100,000 to open a full-time dance studio.
That is how the MOVE Inclusive Dance studio was born.
Located in Bellevue, MOVE offers-year round dance programs that are geared toward people with physical and/or intellectual disabilities. And although the goal is to give the special needs community a place to feel included, those without special needs are welcomed with open arms. Lauren has seen firsthand the powerful impact that the studio has already had on her students and their loved ones. She has developed meaningful friendships with many of the people who attend classes at MOVE, making the experience just as rewarding for her. MOVE classes provide more than just dancing; they offer an opportunity to foster friendships and build confidence.
One challenge that Lauren did face when opening MOVE was learning how to teach people with special needs. That's when she reached out to Megan Jayroe, a friend who also has a background in dance but additionally earned a Master's degree in Special Education. Megan now serves at MOVE's Program Director.
Between the two of them, Lauren and Megan have created an inclusive dance program that is changing the lives of Nashville area people living with disabilities. MOVE has truly become a place for many to feel that same connection to dance - and to others like them - that Lauren does. The students at MOVE might consider this place their second home the same way Lauren did with her childhood dance studio.
In the video below, Lauren talks more about MOVE Inclusive Dance and how it has been embraced by the Nashville special needs community.
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