Laura Thurston studied dance at Northern Dance Theatre of Northern Illinois University and at the Dance Center of Columbia College Chicago where she graduated with a BA in Dance Performance.  She began performing professionally in 2004 with Chicago Dance Crash, and went on to perform with Cerqua Rivera Dance Theatre & Piel Morena Contemporary Dance among other independent works. She’s performed throughout the Midwest, NYC, and Mexico. During her professional performance career, Laura had the opportunity to learn works by Elijah Gibson, Doris Humphrey, Tony Powell, Wilfredo Rivera, & Jaime Sierra to name a few.

Laura also began her work in arts administration in 2009 when she co-founded Piel Morena Contemporary Dance and become the CFO, Executive Director, and Outreach Coordinator between the years of 2009-2013. During this time she learned all about the “behind the scenes” efforts of running a Not-For-Profit in the Chicago Dance Community and has experience in public relations, grant writing, data management, accounting & fundraising.  

While Laura wasn’t rehearsing, performing, or working “behind the scenes,” She was teaching dance, and has taught children and teens for over 17 years. 

She currently teaches at Virtuoso Performing Arts in Morton Grove, IL where she is also the Director of Virtuoso Performing Arts Dance Company. She thoroughly enjoys working with students, and loves sharing in their experiences of growth and success in dance!

Laura is also thrilled to share her artistic visions as a choreographer with Still Inspired(?). She independently co-produces Still Inspired(?) and is honored to produce the show’s fourth installment in the beautiful City of Chicago, where she can share artistic visions with other dance and visual creators AND provide opportunities to artists and dancers alike through this incredible project. It is a dream come true!

Laura is so very grateful for her husband Andrew and the best parents in the world, Dennis and Marianne Tomlinson. She credits much of her successes to their ongoing support. She is also over the moon for her little two-year-old boy, Parker who has taught her more about life than anyone else in this world!

  1. I've learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.
    Maya Angelou