June 13, 2024


Life is art

2020 alumna Lauren Blair Smith launches dance company in Singapore during pandemic

After graduating in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, College of Dance alumna Lauren Blair Smith had to pivot from her authentic options of transferring to New York
Metropolis. From taking part in on the internet dance competitions to educating and choreographing
in Singapore, Smith, a graduate of the up to date dance program, continued to pursue her goals in any way that she could over the past year.

A person desire that happened faster than envisioned was founding the Lauren Blair Smith Dance Enterprise, which she describes as a “multidisciplinary, coming-of-age up to date dance company
dependent in Singapore.” 

We caught up with Smith to obtain out what she has been up to given that graduating previous
spring and to understand about her ideas for the potential. 

What has stored you fast paced in the course of the past 12 months? What are you doing now?

I followed in the footsteps of lots of of my UNCSA college/instructors and turned an
American Ballet Theatre Licensed Trainer very last summer time. I was a finalist in numerous
groups in the Intercontinental Online Dance Competitiveness and gained an Excellence in
Choreography Award for a solo I designed for the Star Dance Alliance World wide Star Look for.
I was a single of five students to receive the prestigious Artpreneur Grant Award in 2020 to help my creative endeavors write-up-graduation. 

My major concentration more than the earlier number of months has been starting Lauren Blair Smith Dance
Firm, as well as the Company’s inaugural live general performance and a Pre-Qualified
Dance Immersion Software in Singapore. 

The pandemic had a massive effect on the conclude of your time at UNCSA and the earlier yr.
How have you worked all over the issues that offered? What have you figured out from
that experience?

I at first prepared to transfer to New York City instantly right after graduation to pursue
my Kenan Fellowship at the Lincoln Centre, nonetheless it was postponed right up until later this
year. Following residing in California for a couple of months of virtual understanding/graduation,
I returned to Singapore in July 2020 and commenced dancing, choreographing, acting and
training all around the island. The largest challenge of the past yr was overcoming
my own anticipations of what my lifetime was “meant” to look like and studying to embrace
all of the twists and turns together the way.  

Just one of the finest surprises was returning to the Singapore American College, where I
attended Pre-K through large university, and serving as a guest artist all through the past
faculty calendar year I have gained so significantly really like and assist from the local community and it’s been
a gift to do the job with the learners/school users. There had been a lot of full-circle times,
the place I was now at the entrance of the classroom passing down understanding gained from experiences
at UNCSA and over and above.

How do you locate your self applying what you acquired at UNCSA in your get the job done?

Techniques I acquired at UNCSA, this kind of as time-administration, self-motivation, corporation,
collaboration and resourceful dilemma-resolving persistently impression my each day interactions.
When I am producing a new choreographic function, I listen to my professors’ voices in my head
and their priceless lessons guiding me as a result of the inventive method. UNCSA taught
me how to make the most out of each and every condition, whether or not perfect or significantly less than, and to
hold providing my very best energy even when moments may possibly seem to be bleak. I uncovered the elegance of
perseverance in the facial area of adversity, to look for the light in circumstances and how
to properly operate with my peers to make do the job that we can be proud of.  

UNCSA was section of my instruction floor for the skilled globe. It was the location
I could make faults, find out from them and go forward much more proficient than ahead of.
I regularly acted in shorter films, worked with the School of Drama, modeled for Wig
& Makeup tasks, choreographed to parts by the Faculty of Music and crafted function
of my personal. It was a put to safely phase outside of my convenience zone and dive headfirst
into new artistic territory. In reality, I collaborated and used music by Algernon Robinson
(B.M. Composition ’20), a fellow UNCSA alum, for a piece entitled “Polaroids” in my Company’s inaugural
overall performance.

"Bite Size"

Check out Smith’s 2020 Pluck Undertaking solo, filmed from property ahead of her UNCSA graduation.

What would you consider your greatest accomplishment more than the previous 12 months?

I never dreamed I would get started my possess dance organization so young, not to mention directly
soon after graduating from UNCSA! It’s been a thrilling experience, studying much more not only
about the inventive facet but also the organization facet. I’m energized that we were being equipped
to safely and securely present our first reside overall performance in Singapore throughout a globe-large pandemic
and keep on to maintain the arts alive and flourishing. I was fortunate sufficient to work with
beautiful, intelligent artists from an array of renowned instruction backgrounds, this sort of
as Taipei Countrywide College of the Arts, Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (Singapore),
New Zealand Faculty of Dance and Juilliard. I cannot wait around to see what the Enterprise will
execute once it is safe to journey internationally and dwell performances can host
larger sized audiences once more!

What is your best job or inventive intention?

I would love to complete and choreograph is effective for a broad-wide variety of inventive media
internationally. Irrespective of whether that be for renowned dance businesses, for film/animation
or musicals, I aim to regularly artistically challenge myself and to craft get the job done
that holds which means for men and women of many backgrounds. Though I was born in San Francisco,
I grew up in a melting pot of cultures in Singapore. All of individuals viewpoints carry on
to effects my movement vocabulary and own fashion. Some aspiration companies to choreograph
for consist of Nederlands Dans Theater, Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater and Ballet
BC. Collaborating with an artist as monumental and of these kinds of a substantial-caliber as Crystal
Pite would be an immense honor as effectively.

I’m also really passionate about doing the job with artists in training, so I would appreciate
to create perform for college students learning the arts in various college packages. All
of this, as well as continuing to establish my personal company’s repertory and artistry! 

This pandemic offered quite a few issues, but the arts will continue to persevere and
so will you. Onwards and upwards.

Modern Dance alumna Lauren Blair Smith

If you could say thank you to 1 individual at UNCSA, who would it be? Why?

I have been fortunate sufficient to have a lot of superb academics guideline me along the way. Brenda Daniels helped me solidify my technological foundation, as properly as taught me how to properly
and kindly guide many others. Her belief in my probable permitted me to locate confidence in
my one of a kind motion style and get complete possession of my artistry. Ming-Lung Yang mentored me during my choreographic journey in college and his classes proceed
to assistance me make informed, effective choices about my function. My friends also graciously
permitted me the flexibility to create in several contexts and were energized to collaborate
on initiatives – for that, I learnt the most and am eternally grateful.

With the gain of a year’s well worth of reflection, what is a piece of suggestions you would
give by yourself (or other graduating learners) at the close of your senior yr?

Each day is a new mastering expertise, and having a person step at a time can be a lot more
important than by becoming confused by the entire “anticipated” trajectory of your
journey. Having time to mirror before responding might help in generating the appropriate decisions
for you. This pandemic introduced numerous difficulties, but the arts will continue to persevere
and so will you. Onwards and upwards.

by Melissa Upton-Julio

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