Lauren Ashlee Messina is a Big Easy Award-winning dance choreographer with a heart for community. Born in Springfield, Illinois, Messina has developed her career in the Greater New Orleans area in collaboration with the Marigny Opera Ballet, KM Dance Project, the New Orleans Opera, ELLEvate Dance Company, Dow-Dance Company’s Binge Dance Festival, and the CAC New Orleans as a 2022 Performing Artist-in-Residence. Her choreography has been performed at the New York Jazz Choreography Project, the 92nd Street Y, the Krannert Center for the Performing Arts, and the Mississippi Museum of Art. Messina received the Ailey School’s Oprah Winfrey Foundation Scholarship and participated in the pilot program Moving Toward Justice Open Workshop at Gibney Dance. She is a 2023 Platforms Fund grant recipient and founder of My Free Dance Class. Messina aims to create meaningful movement experiences that inspire empathy and transformation by collaborating with artists across disciplines in a thriving collective environment.