Carol Foster
Carol Foster • The Reach at Kennedy Center Culture Caucus



Special Programs Associate, International Association of Blacks in Dance

Find her on LinkedIn

Full Biography | Joy of Motion News

Q: Welcome to the board, Ms. Foster! Why did you choose to join Joy of Motion’s Board of Directors?

A: I saw a need and decided to fill it. I’ve known of the organization since its inception and was concerned about the issues that were surfacing. I felt this is not what Michelle Ava and her co-founders envisioned and decided to see how I could assist. The work now centers on bringing the original mission back in focus and crafting a sustainable future.

Q: What type of experience or expertise do you bring to the Board?

A: I bring 50 years of experience working in numerous capacities within the arts. I am incredibly grateful to have had rich experiences throughout my life. These now shape the expertise that I offer. I am a continuous learner that thrives on experiences that strengthen my expertise.

Q: Where did you study? What certifications do you hold? 

A: I have an Undergraduate degree in Visual Arts Education from Hampton University, a Graduate degree in Dance Education from George Washington University, and a certification from Emergency Preparedness for Performing Arts’ Performing Arts Readiness Project.

Q: Are you a dancer? Are you a dancer? If so, what styles have you taken and how many years of experience do you have?

A: Yes, ballet, modern, African, tap. Member of the Capital Ballet Company, Jones Haywood School of Ballet, which pre-dated the Dance Theatre of Harlem as one of the first Black ballet companies.

Q: What was your first experience with dance or what drew you to dance initially?

A: I was an artistic child that loved performing and started at the age of 5.

Q: What are you passionate about working towards as a Board member? What do you see as an exciting or strategic goal during your term?

A: We have set three main goals; 1) increase awareness 2) improve community relations 3) sustain the organization. However, I am passionate about returning the JOY to Joy of Motion and focusing on the true mission of the organization that “Dance is for Everyone.”

Q: What do you do outside of your work with Joy of Motion?

A: I am also an Emergency Preparedness for the Performing Arts consultant. I assist our member (IABD) organizations throughout the DMV and nationally develop emergency plans, recovery & reopening plans, and I advise organizations on business continuity, succession planning, and preservation/conservation of archival materials. I offer numerous presentations and workshops throughout the year on these topics and more to keep orgs afloat in times of crisis.

On the life side, a little known fact is that I am a visual artist as well!


About Carol Foster:

Carol Foster is currently a Special Programs Associate for the INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF BLACKS IN DANCE (IABD) and is working in the capacity as a PERFORMING ARTS READINESS (PAR) Emergency Preparedness Consultant for the performing arts (one of four in the country). More recently, she has been selected to be on the inaugural Culture Caucus for the Kennedy Center’s new wing, “The REACH.” This honor affords her a two-year residency to work and present at the new wing. She is a founding member of IABD and served on its board for many years until stepping down to take a staff position. Ms. Foster has successfully raised funds via grants and contributions throughout her arts career.

She assisted in writing IABD’s first significant grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, awarding IABD a half-million dollars. Carol Foster has committed over forty-five years of dedicated service to the arts and arts education in the District, Maryland, and Virginia area. She founded and was the artistic director of the DC Youth Ensemble, a thirty-seven-year-old young people’s performing company which performed nationally and later internationally at the “Fringe” in Edinburgh, Scotland. She was director of the Arlington Youth Street Theater, worked as Dean of Arts at the Duke Ellington School of the Arts, taught visual arts in DC Public Schools, and was on staff as Adjunct Professor of Dance at the University of the District of Columbia.

Ms. Foster has personally worked as a choreographer, performer, writer, director, arts administrator, and visual artist. She has been involved with many special projects/programs related to the arts and arts education funded by the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities, the Rockefeller Foundation, the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities, and more. Ms. Foster worked closely and tirelessly with the President’s Committee on the Arts’ Turnaround Arts Initiative during President Barak Obama’s administration. Through this effort, she was invited to bring students she trained to perform at the White House on ten occasions. She has worked with noted artists, including YoYo Ma, Kerry Washington, Alfre Woodard, Misty Copland, and Damien Woetzel (President of Julliard). She is the recipient of the DC Commission on the Arts and Humanities Mayor’s Art Award, the highest honor afforded artists in the District of Columbia.

Ms. Foster was also recognized in the United States Congressional Record for her outstanding work with young people and the arts. Ms. Foster was an artistic consultant for the Turnaround Arts National office housed as an affiliate program of The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts. Foster has countless hours in community service and has provided advice and support to aspiring arts students, instructors, future company directors, arts organizations, studios, etc. Her network and resource in the Black dance community expand from coast to coast.

Her favorite quote is an old African proverb stating, “you must always proceed as though you cannot fail.”


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