Lauren Blair Smith (Class of 2016) jumped at the unique opportunity to return to her alma mater after the global pandemic shifted her plans. “I originally started dancing in middle school at Singapore American School, so it feels good to reconnect with the program that encouraged me to pursue the arts professionally and teach the students, some of whom I had taught years ago,” she mentions. She has been working at SAS as a guest dancer, choreographer, and teacher for the middle school dance club. She also conducts some technique classes for high school dancers.
Middle school dance teacher Heather Rodocker shares how valuable it has been for her and the middle school dancers to be working with an amazing role model like Smith, “What an honor to witness our alumni giving back and supporting our dancers. It is especially meaningful for me as I remember many of our alumni when they were in middle school.”
The talented dancer and choreographer recently opened her own international dance company, Lauren Blair Smith Dance Company, a multidisciplinary, coming-of-age contemporary dance company based in Singapore with plans to expand to New York City and San Francisco. Their motto, “let’s break standards” epitomizes their goal to revolutionize and destabilize typical approaches towards the conventional modern dance industry—both on stage and in the studios. Nurturing through educating the next generation is a tremendous aspect of that process.
After graduating from SAS in 2016, Smith pursued her passion for dance at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. She followed in the footsteps of her professors at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts and became an American Ballet Theatre® certified teacher in the summer of 2020. She was also a finalist in multiple categories in the International Online Dance Competition and won an Excellence in Choreography Award for a solo she choreographed for an SAS dancer in the Star Dance Alliance Global Star Search.
Smith was selected as a 2020 William R. Kenan-Lincoln Center Fellow but the fellowship has now been postponed to mid-2021 due to the pandemic. As a senior at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts, her on-campus learning had to move to online learning shortly after students went on spring break in March. “I was visiting family in San Francisco when it became apparent that I would spend my last months in college online. Zoom dance classes from my living room and digital academic work became the new normal,” she recalls.
While Smith was initially disappointed that her senior showcase, "The Pluck Project", in New York City was canceled due to the pandemic, it also gave her the unique opportunity to create, choreograph, and film her senior solo showcase remotely. Watch her stunning video here.
Smith reflects on her year, “I have learned how to adapt, creatively problem-solve, and persevere due to the sudden adjustments in situations and environments. The change in circumstances also presented gifts and experiences I would not have received otherwise.”
Catch the upcoming dance show, “Recollection”. Get your tickets here.
RECOLLECTION features a wide range of creative works carefully designed and arranged by Lauren in collaboration with talented artists. This performance is a swift sift through once-mere ideas scribbled on lined sheets, transformed into fully-realized dance pieces. RECOLLECTION, the company’s debut performance, is a medley of the bright and bubbly, the determined and athletic, the leisurely and pure, the dark and intense. All four pieces were conceptualized over the past two years, never leaving the pages of extensive journals and the forefront of mind – until now...
The first two pieces, "Sprightly" and "Ablaze", were created for the pre-professional dance immersion program dancers; "Sprightly" features two talented, hardworking middle school dancers and "Ablaze" features three stellar, tenacious high school dancers. These two pieces will also be shared in their respective division dance shows (April 15 for high school and May 7 for middle school).
The third piece, "Polaroids", is a brand new, five movement work performed by professional dancers with highly-esteemed training backgrounds, including Taipei National University of the Arts, NAFA, New Zealand School of Dance, and Juilliard. The final piece, "Intruder", is a restaging of a piece she made while earning her bachelor’s degree in contemporary dance with an arts entrepreneurship minor at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. Smith shares, “It has been accepted to numerous dance festivals and I'm ecstatic to share it with Singapore audiences.”
Check out Smith’s website and follow her on Instagram (@laurenblairsmith) for updates.
- Class of 2016
- Lauren Blair Smith
- dance company
- performing arts