Lauren Elizabeth Carmen

Costume Designer & Dancer​

Number of Years in Industry

25 years

Links & Socials


Lauren Carmen is a costume designer, maker, craftsperson, ballet dancer, artist in NYC. She comes to the performing arts first and foremost through a life of dancing, having worked as a professional ballet dancer, dance & pilates instructor, before diving more fully into the world of costume. Originally from Iowa City, IA, Lauren trained at Nolte Academy & across the country at prestigious ballet academies like Houston Ballet, before joining the Joffrey Ballet Academy in Chicago, and ultimately attending the University of Oklahoma, where she received her BFA in Ballet Pedagogy, Minor in French, Emphasis in Costume Design. Upon graduation, she danced professionally, choreographed on the company, and taught ballet at companies and schools in the Midwest, all the while designing &/or constructing costumes for companies like Central Illinois Ballet, Houston Ballet, before being invited to pursue her MFA in Costume Design from NYU’s Tisch School of the Arts, Department of Design for Stage and Film, which she completed this past May.

Since moving to NYC, Lauren has been working as a freelance costume designer and dancer. Projects of particular excitement include teaching costume courses to Undergraduate students at NYU, working with dancers of American Ballet Theatre and New York City Ballet, Sarasota Ballet in various capacities as Costume Designer, Assistant Costume Designer, Draper, etc, at places like Vail International Dance Festival, with Jillian Lewis on Lincoln Center & Joyce Theatre premieres of Jessica Lang pieces, or unique venue like iHeartDance NYC while the theaters were closed due to COVID, etc,; designing for choreographers/companies such as Gabrielle Lamb, PeiJu Chien-Pott, Skyla Schreter, New Chamber Ballet, Wo.Man in Motion, Dance Kaleidoscope, AY Dancers, NYU Tisch Dance Department, and more.

Though Lauren gravitates most toward dance-centric projects, she has also worked as Assistant Costume Designer in Off-Broadway and LORT productions, as well as currently working as resident Draper at Pace University’s Costume Shop. At present, Lauren is a company dancer with Dances Patrelle, as they mount their annual Nutcracker, and finds that the deep understanding of, and getting to work in both art forms enriches what she can bring to each of them– with special nod to using her experience and understanding of dance aesthetics and costume construction techniques to create comfortable, beautiful, costumes that move with and enhance the dancers’ performances, rather than work against their efforts. Lauren thrives to infuse all her work with not only a collaborative spirit and an understanding of art forms’ traditions while looking to expand those definitions, but also a sense of beauty, whimsy, and joie de vivre whenever possible.

About their role in ICON...

Though a New Yorker at present, I'm still forever an Iowan, and I'm so excited to see the area gain a quality arts academy, which I would've so dearly loved to attend growing up, instead of waiting to move away or go to college to get to train most of the day intensively with like-minded, passionate artists my own age. I deeply believe changing the shape of the arts industries begins with how you treat and train those in your classroom, and I'm passionate about Iowa City fostering this positive change for both the community as well as the next generation of artists to shape the industry. Having been on both sides of the room as the "candidate" or person auditioning/interviewing for training programs, jobs, opportunities through the years, as well as the "auditioner" or person conducting audition classes, portfolio reviews, interviews, etc. for performances, professional jobs at companies, design presentations, and more, I'm most excited to help students further launch their artistic journey in whatever way possible.


Company Dancer: Dances Patrelle, Central Illinois Ballet, Ballet Quad Cities
Full-time and guest positions in roles ranging from corps de ballet to principal, as well as choreographer, rehearsal mistress, “auditioner” for new company members, etc.

Costume Designer
Dance works on dancers of NYCB, Kansas City Ballet, New Chamber Ballet, AY Dancers, Periapsis Music and Dance, Wo.Man in Motion, Dance Kaleidoscope, Central Illinois Ballet, and more for mainstage performances, and other venues such as iHeartDance NYC, Broadway Cares/DRA/Hudson Valley Dance Festival, Hudson Eye Festival, Mark Morris Dance Center, and more.

Taught variety of costume courses/skills at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, as well as Pace University, while working in their costumes shops.

Assistant Costume Designer
“Childrens Songs Dance” by Jessica Lang (Designer Jillian Lewis) on NYCB at Lincoln Center
“Shades of Spring” by Jessica Lang (Designer Jillian Lewis) for Sarasota Ballet at Joyce Theater
“New works” by Lauren Lovette (Designer Sarah Bahr) for Vail International Dance Festival
“On that Day in Amsterdam” (Designer Lux Haac) for Primary Stages
“53% of” (Designer Lux Haac) for Second Stage
“Our Town” (Designer Kindall Almond) for Baltimore Center Stage

Scholarship Graduate Design Student, MFA in Costume Design
NYU Tisch School of the Arts Dept. of Design for Stage and Film 2019-2022

National Merit Finalist Scholar, BFA in Ballet Pedagogy, Minor French, Emphasis Costume Design
University of Oklahoma– School of Dance

Outstanding Senior Award from Dean’s Council Advisory Committee
University of Oklahoma College of Fine Arts, 2016

Patricia “Coopie” Mason Award as Outstanding Artisan in Costume
University of Oklahoma– School of Drama

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