Laila J. Franklin (b. 1997) is a dance artist and movement researcher from the Washington, DC area. She is currently based in Iowa City, IA, where she is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in Choreography at the University of Iowa as an Iowa Arts Fellow. Her academic and artistic research is in body histories, embodied archives, and citational practices, the phenomenology of the self and the multiplicity of being, and compositional world-building, centered around black performance modalities and technologies.
Her early years of training included studies through the Dance Theater of Harlem Pre-Professional Residency Program at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts, as well as the Maryland Youth Ballet. She is a graduate of the Duke Ellington School of the Arts.
Laila holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Contemporary Dance Performance, with an emphasis in composition, from The Boston Conservatory, where she studied as an annual Anne Cuervo and Philip Ponelli Scholarship student. While attending the Conservatory, Laila performed work by artists such as Aszure Barton, Keith A. Thompson, Mark Morris, and Zoe Scofield. She has worked as a collaborator with Ruckus Dance, founded by Michael Figueroa. She has served as a Shuffle Cohort Teacher and Administrative intern for Midday Movement Series, founded by Marissa Molinar, She has also worked as a collaborator with Pavement Dance, founded by Christopher Kinsey and Maggie Costales. Her additional summer studies have included the Ailey School Summer Intensive (2013, 2014), the American Ballet Theatre Collegiate Intensive (2016), and the Trinity Laban Conservatoire Dance Summer School in London (2018).