Meet Lauren Banks: Communicating from the dance floor
By Lauren Highfill
As a dance minor and a communications major at Kennesaw State, Lauren Banks enjoys interacting with people. “I love the collaboration and teamwork that comes with dancing and with public relations,” she says. The relationships that result from this interaction have the potential to benefit everyone—whether a person is working with peers, teachers, companies or clients.
Lauren began her mutually beneficial relationship with KSU during her senior year of high school when she auditioned for the former KSU rhythmic dance team (the dance minor program was still in development at the time). Her acceptance onto the team sealed the deal on where she would go to school. “After I made the dance team I decided Kennesaw was where I wanted to be,” she says. “I really wanted to study dance in college.”
Now officially a dance minor, Lauren is a member of the KSU Dance Company and takes dance classes in Atlanta. When she’s not absorbed in dance, Lauren spends her time studying and participating in the business world of public relations. This summer she worked as an intern for a nonprofit company that organizes an annual sports festival. “I loved finding creative ways to accomplish certain projects,” she says. And this artistic flair carries over into dance.
Dance allows Lauren to express herself in a way that’s different from the business world’s definition of communication. To her, there’s another dimension to communication that can’t be expressed through words. But Lauren’s admiration of the dancers she has worked with speaks volumes.
Last year, Lauren worked with KSU guest artist Caitlin Trainor and was especially inspired by her. “Caitlin has an amazing ability to combine femininity and strength in her dancing.” Lauren also loves studying with dance faculty like Ivan Pulinkala, assistant professor of dance and director of the dance program, and Emily Volin, an instructor of dance who shares Lauren’s passion for jazz. “I’m learning a lot in the program because it doesn’t just emphasize performance, it also focuses on dance education,” she says.
Pulinkala sees the result of Lauren’s enthusiasm for dance. He says, “Lauren is constantly seeking out challenging ways to learn and has shown tremendous technical and artistic growth in dance.”In the future, Lauren plans to continue combining her two loves of dancing and public relations. “Communications and dance work so well together,” she says. “My dream job would be to work in the public relations department for a dance company.”