Lauren has been our arts and culture contributor for quite some time and as an artist herself it was time to dedicate a post to all the great work she does. We are so thankful to have her our team!
What’s your name?
Lauren Humm Fakete.
What do you do?
I’m a Renaissance woman, I’m always doing something. Some of my work puts literal food on the table while some of it feeds my creativity. I have been a dancer my whole life and that has never left me. Primarily, I am President of a franchise company that supports small business owners across the US and Canada in opening and operating their own studios. I also have my own nonprofit, House of the Roses. We deliver free dance and creative movement classes to homeless and at-risk children across New York City and Jersey City. I teach, choreograph and perform occasionally. I’m also the Arts and Culture contributor here at ChicpeaJC. And in my free time I love to travel, write, read, and do yoga.
How did you get started?
I can’t remember a time when I didn’t dance! I started when I was three. I’ve been dancing ever since then. Now that I’m old (haha) I’m fortunate to have the opportunity to pass that love along to others who can benefit from learning a creative art.
Do you have any stories or experiences that stand out in your career?
Through House of the Roses, I have had so many amazing opportunities to connect with people that I otherwise would never have had the chance to meet. This past year I co-created a music video with a group of young men in a second-change program from the New York City criminal justice system. Over the course of a year, they got to express themselves and share their political and personal views, and I was privileged to get to be a creative facilitator in that process. I think as a society we all need to listen to each other more, and getting to co-collaborate on a creative work is a really beautiful opportunity to do that. I have a lot of memories like that one, and I’m really grateful.
This past year has been amazing for me professionally. It was an honor to receive an award from NDEO – the National Dance Education Organization. And earlier this year, House of the Roses was named “New Yorker of the Week” by NY1, collectively as an organization. And last week, I was featured as Skimm’r of the Week in The Skimm. And of course it’s a huge honor to be featured in Chicpea! It feels great that so many outlets are eager to recognize nonprofits, the arts, and work that is trying to make a positive difference.
And for my day job, I get to travel and meet incredible women from all over the country and world who are leaders, entrepreneurs, and positive forces in their communities. And it’s an incredible honor to get to hear their stories and experience their cities. This interview is making me realize how lucky I am to do what I do.
Do you have any influences/inspirations?
I’m inspired by the places I travel, things that happen to me personally, conversations with interesting people, and my friends and family. My mom is my idol. My grandmother and grandfather, who were married for 73 years (which is insane to me) give me so much inspiration to do life. I’m inspired by visual art, literature, music, film. Merce Cunningham is my favorite choreographer. Ernest Hemingway is my favorite author. He says so much between the lines and as a dancer, art to me is all about what is said without saying any words.
Are there any independent projects you’d like to start, or any dream pieces you’d love to be a part of one day?
I would love to one day expand my nonprofit into other cities or even countries. I believe in the power of the arts in community-building and I want to empower others to be artists and activists and leaders. I just want to continue to do the things that I’m good at in ways that make an impact in the world around me.
Apart from your experiences as a dancer, teacher, and choreographer, are there other subjects or professions people may not know you are passionate about?
Political activism. I think it’s important to stay involved in my community, and to keep myself educated and informed of current events, but still try to maintain a positive outlook. Sometimes it can seem like a full-time job protesting this administration. But it’s all of our responsibility, especially if we enjoy a place of privilege, to fight for our rights and for the people who aren’t able to speak up for themselves.
Is there anything else you’d like people to know about you and what you do?
We are always looking for volunteers at House of the Roses – dancers and musicians in particular, but anyone who has a desire to get involved is welcome to join! If you’d like to learn more check out our website: houseoftheroses.org
You can also follow my work and travels on social media: