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Laura Stein is the co-founder and executive director of Dancing Grounds (DG), a nonprofit arts organization that brings inclusive and accessible dance education programs to New Orleans residents of all ages and backgrounds. DG uses dance as a vehicle for developing young leaders, inspiring health and wellness, and promoting social justice. As executive director, Stein leads program development, fundraising and staff management. She also teaches an original weekly adult dance fitness class, Work It Out, which has been a flagship class at DG for seven years. She was featured on The Gambit Magazine’s 40 Under 40 list in 2018. Prior to founding DG, Stein worked for Community Works of Louisiana as an afterschool and summer site director and teaching artist.
In 2012, Stein moved to New Orleans from New York City, where she worked in education policy and management. She was director of education and production at Dancewave (2010-2011), New York City executive director of RISE: Resources for Indispensable Schools and Educators (2007-2009), education pioneers fellow (2007), policy associate at New Visions for Public Schools (2005-2007) and program assistant at the Social Science Research Council (2003-2005). In 2010, she lived in Phnom Penh, Cambodia, where she helped create a girls’ Hip Hop program for Tiny Toones. She holds an MPA from New York University’s Wagner School of Public Service and a BA from the College of Social Studies at Wesleyan University. Originally from Philadelphia, Stein cultivated and developed her love of dance at Wesleyan, where she studied hip hop, modern, contemporary, West African dance and ballet. She subsequently studied hip hop and street jazz in New York, Los Angeles and London.