Kia Smith- Ballet

Biography paraphrased heavily from, emphasis ours.

A Chicago native, Kia trained intensely on scholarship at Hyde Park School of Dance, The Joel Hall Dance Center, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, and StoryCatchers Theatre. She is a recipient of the American Dance Festivals tuition and staff assistant scholarships, and graduated in 2010 with a BFA in Dance from Western Michigan University.

Kia has worked and toured with The Dayton Contemporary Dance Company 2, The Lula Washington Dance Theatre where she assisted Tamica Washington-Miller, The Joel Hall Dancers, Tyego Dance Project, Red Clay Dance and Deeply Rooted Dance Theatre. She has performed works by a myriad of classical and contemporary choreographers including August Tye, Wilfredo Rivera, Shani Collins, Ursula Payne, Shonna Hickman Matlock, Crystal Perkins, Debbie Blunden-Diggs, William McClellan Jr., Marlayna Locklear, Robert Priore, Lula Washington, Tamica Washington-Miller, Dr. Sherrill Berryman-Johnson, Bonnie Story, Donald McKayle, Vincent Patterson, Christopher Huggins, Katherine Dunham, Rennie Harris, Bernard Brown, Joel Hall, William Gill, Duwayne Pendarvis, Harrison McEldowney, Eddy Ocampo, Vershawn Ward, Joshua Ishmon, Nejla Yatkin, Trisha Brown, William Forsythe and others.

 Kia’s collaborative and choreographic credits include Nike, Chicago Opera Theatre, the Association for the Advancement of Creative Musicians, actor Jack Black, world renowned visual artists Manuel Mendive and Nick Cave,  “Loving the Silent Tears” an original musical (director Vincent Patterson), the “Afterword” film (director Catherine Sullivan), Sons D’hiver Jazz Festival (Paris, France), Chicago Home Theatre Festival, the Jacob Caruthers Center for Inner City Studies, Englewood Jazz Festival, South Shore Opera Company, Chicago Fringe Opera and HBO.

As a recipient of the City of Chicago’s Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events Individual Artist Grant, Kia worked as a cultural ambassador for the city at Impulstanz Dance Festival in Vienna, Austria in the summer of 2016. Her work has been featured in the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun Times,, New City Magazine,, and the Parisian online publication She is a member of the International Association of Blacks in Dance where she received the Joan Myers Brown Artist Development Fund scholarship and was a 2018 invited panelist for “Women of Color Arts Leaders”.

Kia is the founding Executive Artistic Director of the South Chicago Dance Theatre, where she strategically planned and is implementing the company’s inaugural international diplomatic partnership. Taking place in South Korea, this three year project partners the SCDT with artists Joseph Kim and Dancers and Second Nature Dance Company for performative, educational and creative programming in both Chicago and Seoul, South Korea.

Kia uses a range of aesthetic values to cultivate versatile artists including the Lester Horton technique, the American Ballet Theatre’s National Training Curriculum where she is a Project Plie Partner teacher, Jazz, Improvisation, and Africanist principles of movement theory. She received the inaugural Entrepreneurship Award from the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League and is an Advanced Opportunity Program Fellow at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee holding candidacy for a Master of Fine Arts in Dance.