Our DC NEXT students have been hard at work designing, promoting, and running their own show this summer! They have taken master classes from guest artists such a Otis Salid, taken a “swing” at aerial silk ropes, became live art at Dance Canvas fundraiser “Cocktails and Choreography” and more! They successfully showcased their show Thursday night, the 28th and Friday morning, the 29th. We would like to give you a backstage look at a piece they performed at their show by guest artist Christa Smutek. You may remember her as one of our 2015-16 Dance Canvas choreographers when she brought her piece “Architect of the Mind” for our showcase. She is back again, this time setting this same work and bringing it to life again on our DC Next students. Read our interview with her below as she shares her experience working with the DC NEXTERS!
How would you describe your time with the DC Next students? What did you teach them?
I had a great time with the DC Next students! I thought they had really good energy and were open to learning a new style of choreography. I taught them a contemporary class, jazz class, and I set my company’s repertory piece Architect of the Mind.
Do you have a favorite moment from your days with DC NEXT?
My favorite moment was just seeing the improvement of each individual dancer as they successfully figured out the musicality and intricacies in the choreography.
What is the biggest piece of advice you gave to the DC next students and that you would offer to young dancers and choreographers?
The biggest piece of advice would be to take responsibility of the movement/choreography given to you and clean/perfect it yourself when given free time so when the choreographer comes back to it, the dancer is prepared to move forward, which helps keep the rehearsal process efficient. My advice to young choreographers is to be original!
Describe your work, “Architect of the Mind” and how did you modify it for the DC NEXT students?
My work contains very intricate and isolated movements with contemporary, ballet, and hip hop influence. I only modified some of the technique and partnering sections to help with cleanliness. I was proud of the dancers for doing the original choreography in the big unison sections that were definitely very challenging!
What’s next on the horizon for you?
Right now I’m preparing to perform and choreograph my next big piece for the SueMo Dance Company Summer Show. I hope to continue choreographing and submitting to larger dance festivals and competitions to further my choreography career.
Christa Smutek, SueMo Dance Company
Picture Credit: Heather Mrotek
Follow Christa on Facebook and on Instagram @cgsmutek
Picture Credit: Steve Ragland
Christa studied at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor and received her B.S. in Movement Science from the School of Kinesiology graduating with distinction and University Honors. Christa has danced with companies including ArtLab J Dance, Next Level Dance Company, SueMo Dance Company, and Danceworks Performance Company, Milwaukee. In addition to dancing, Christa has been teaching and choreographing throughout the past 9 years. She has taught numerous master classes, intensives, and provided guest choreography for studios across the United States and Canada. Her contemporary choreography was selected and showcased at the Michigan Youth Arts Festival 2014, 2015, Detroit Dance City Festival 2015, Detroit Dance Film Festival 2015, 2016, Motor City Choreographer Collective 2015, Brighton Dance Festival 2015, Dance Canvas 2016, and RADfest Midwest 2016. She is currently the Associate Artistic Director of SueMo Dance Company in Milwaukee, WI as well as the pre-professional Co-Director at Studio One Dance Company.