Lauren Benjamin is a Bay Area native. Bred in the dynamic, multicultural melting pot, Lauren got her start as a multidisciplinary artist at the age of five. She studied visual and performing arts during formal elementary art programs as well as performing with the highly regarded, Children’s Musical Theatre of San Jose (CMT). Developing a passion for performance, she ventured into the dance world and has cultivated a thriving dance career over the last 25 years. She received her Bachelor of Fine Art degree in painting and photography from Memphis College of Art in 2004 and went on to obtain a Master’s degree in Education from the prestigious, Mills College in 2009. Lauren's dance training includes various disciplines, from the classics like Jazz, Modern, Lyrical/Contemporary, Tap, Ballet, and Lindy Hop/Swing Dance to Hip Hop, House, Boogaloo, Locking, Waacking, and Breaking. She has had the honor of receiving instruction from many notable choreographers, including Rennie Harris, Brian “Footwork” Green, Caleaf Sellers, Stefan “Mr. Wiggles” Clemente, Tyrone “The Bone” Proctor, Don “Campbellock” Campbell, Carlos Jones, Souix Lehner, and Chester Whitemore. Lauren has danced with Phoenix Dance Company, Basic Contemporary Jazz Collective, Embodiment Project, Loose Change and Starchild Dance Company, among other professional companies. She has presented her choreography at San Francisco Hip Hop Dance Festival, San Francisco Ethnic Dance Festival, as well as the MoAD (Museum of African Diaspora) in San Francisco. She has also been welcomed as a guest choreographer and teacher for several Bay Area youth performance organizations including Destiny Arts Youth Performance Company, Irvington High School Conservatory Theater, and Berkeley High School Dance Productions. Additionally, Lauren has taught and choreographed competitive dance teams for 10 years, and in doing so, has received several awards for outstanding choreography and has had many top overall scoring routines. Most recently, Lauren has been recognized for her teaching and curriculum development in visual and performing arts at Berkeley High School, where she has been an instructor for over five years.

Teaching Philosophy

"I am extremely passionate about teaching. I believe that approaching life through the artist process can allow one to experience a more well-rounded, holistic life. Throughout my academic career, I have closely studied theories and developed my own research on the benefits of art learning. I have come to know that art develops the mind in more complex and meaningful ways than people commonly are aware of. My primary philosophy as a teacher is to teach for deep and critical understanding. I believe that art is the means to developing the effective cognitive skills that apply to successful problem solving. I am interested in helping students not only develop techniques specific to the discipline, but also helping to bridge gaps in their thinking about art. I believe that art is reflected in everything, including math and science, and that the creative process can greatly magnify the dynamics of all scholastic disciplines. I strive to teach my students that being an artist is a state of mind and a skill that can be translated into any area of life."