Photo by Rachel Keane

Laila J. Franklin

2023-2024 Boston Dancemakers Resident | 2022-2023 Dance Lab Resident | 2022 Run of the Mills Resident

Laila J. Franklin is a multidisciplinary dance artist based in Massachusett and Pawtucket land | Boston, Massachusetts, by way of Nocotchotonk and Piscataway land | Washington, DC.


Her work explores kinetic imagination through the juxtaposition of virtuosic and intimate performances. She is interested in meta-commentary, deconstruction, and bits, approaching themes surrounding the human experience with complexity, nuance, curiosity, and humor. Her work extends from lineages of traditional and experimental Black, queer dance makers, with a particular interest in the collision of postmodernist creation frameworks and story ballet.

Laila’s work has been presented by Public Space One (IA), Loculus Collective Sideways Door II Festival (MA), and Movement Research at The Judson Church (NY), and commissioned by Brown University’s Department of Theater Arts and Performance Studies (RI) and the Boston Conservatory at Berklee’s Division of Contemporary Dance Performance (MA). She has been the recipient of a Boston Center for the Arts Run of the Mills Residency (2022), Dancemakers Laboratory Residency (2022/2023), and Boston Dancemakers Residency (2023/2024). While completing her master’s degree, Laila was an Iowa Arts Fellow (2019-2021), and post-grad, she served as a Dance/USA Archiving and Preservation Fellow (2023) to Jennifer Harge/HargeDanceStories in Detroit, MI.

As a performer, Laila’s credits include projects with Ruckus Dance (MA), Haus of Pvmnt (NY), Miguel Gutierrez, Dr. Christopher-Rasheem McMillan, Jennifer Kayle, Melinda Jean Myers, and Stephanie Miracle. While an undergraduate student, Laila had the opportunity to perform as a featured dancer in works by Keith Thompson, Aszure Barton, and Mark Morris.

Laila has been working as a teaching artist since 2018. She has taught community class series in the Greater Boston Area, most prominently with Midday Movement Series (MA) and VLA Dance (MA). She has served as a graduate teaching assistant at the University of Iowa and was a Visiting Lecturer in Music and Dance at Salem State University (MA). Expanding on her work in education, she also serves as a consultant and collaborator for social justice education projects and programming for Midday Movement Series.

Laila holds a Master of Fine Arts in Dance from the University of Iowa, a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance Performance from The Boston Conservatory, and she is a proud almuna of the dance department of Duke Ellington School of the Arts (DC), under the direction of Charles Augins. She has completed additional training through the Trinity Laban Conservatoire (LDN), the Lion’s Jaw Dance and Performance Festival (MA), Movement Research (NY), The Field Center (VT), and the Bates Dance Festival (ME).

When Laila is not making dances, she is making coffee. When she is not making coffee, she is hanging out with her cat, Roberta Blondell.