Jan 19, 2021
This week on 5.6.7.EIGHT, Aleksandra interviews Kia Smith, founding Executive Artistic Director at the South Chicago Dance Theatre. Kia, a Chicago native, trained at various notable Chicago institutions such as Story Catchers Theatre, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, Hyde Park School of Dance, and the Joel Hall Dancers and Center. Her training launched her into national and international tours, including runs with the Lula Washington Dance Theatre and the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company. And, of course, she has a wide variety of dance credits with Chicago-based dance companies.
Considering her extremely accomplished career, Kia has ample room to boast; however, her drive to succeed isn’t about self-glory but is, rather, about revitalizing communities through the arts. For nearly two decades, Kia has been using her art to bridge gaps between history, cultures, and people groups through movement. On the podcast, Smith discusses how her life’s ambitions are now being met through her dance company, not only on the south side of Chicago but also nationally and even internationally.
"I don't think there's anything that sets me apart [from other entrepreneurs]. I just follow through. I'm not anything special — we all have the ability to create and execute a dream. I just follow through."
"When it comes to 'success,' you never really get there. I mean... I have a 75-year vision for South Chicago Dance Company."
Bullet Points (w/ timestamps) - Highlighting key topics discussed:
3:17: Kia talks about her dance company — South Chicago Dance Theatre — and the three pillars that her company stands on.
5:51: Kia discusses South Chicago Dance’s cultural diplomacy program, where her company has partnered with a company in South Korea to produce a new work.
9:20: Kia speaks to her relationship with the Chicago Urban League and her work in the Chicago African American community through that organization.
11:54: Smith explains what she believes is the “x factor” that has made her successful in her entrepreneurial endeavors.
13:03: Smith describes her company’s mentorship program and how that program quantifies success.
15:40: Kia discusses how “success” is different for every individual person and can address both short- and long-term goals.
19:44: Smith, whose business has been thriving in the pandemic era, sheds some light on how her company has had to adjust to the “new normal.”
22:18: Kia retells her own dance journey and how she knew from a young age that she wanted to run her own dance company.
24:38: Kia shares some thoughts around why she believes there are so few women leaders in the dance world and how we can all work to curb this trend.
26:42: Kia looks to the future and shares what’s next for the South Chicago Dance Theatre.
Bullet List of Resources –
South Chicago Dance Theatre