Interview with Dancer/Photographer Brittany Smith!

I've had this interview with Brittany Smith prepared for a while, so happy to finally share it!

Hello! My name is Britt C. Smith. I graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance, a BBA in Finance, and a minor in business administration. I was a member of the Kaleidoscope Dance Company in college, and have participated in several dance festivals, including ACDF, Oklahoma Contemporary Dance Festival, UDA, local dance performances, as well as choreographed for local dance studios, dance teams, & college showcases. Currently, I work with several universities and dance companies as a photographer.

How old were you when you started dance and what made you start?

I started dancing when I was three at a church dance program. We performed at nursing homes and church productions instead of traditional dance recitals. My first ballet instructor had a great background in ballet training.

Can you please describe what it is like to photograph dance and how your dance experience helps with this?

Timing. Both dance and photography are all about the timing. Photographing performances, studio work, or outdoor portraits each have different timing in execution for the dancer and time to capture the moment for me. Being able to observe the dancer and match the timing of their peak execution point with the timing of my shutter delay is a tricky task and made much easier with my background.

How did you realize you had an interest in photography?

When I was little, I asked for a Kodak camera every Christmas, and wasted a lot of film taking sunset pictures on my childhood fort. During college, we didn't have a photographer for our student showcases, so often when it wasn't my turn to perform, I'd sneak out into the audience to take as many photographs as I can. I think I got very lucky, in that, I learned how to operate a digital camera shooting dance performances in a fast-movement, low-light situation. I learned a lot, and quickly.

Do you dance with any companies?

Currently, I only take classes with local professional companies. But, I have performed in the past, and I will again in the future.

What is your favorite thing about dance?

Being able to lose yourself in a dance class. That's exhilarating.

Did you study dance in college? If so, where and how did you select to program, and how beneficial was it?

Yes, I graduated with a BFA in Dance Performance at the University of Central Oklahoma. I selected the program, first, because it was in-state. But also, it was a diverse program. They had specialized training in modern, jazz, ballet, hip-hop, aerial, and pointe. Many dancers from their program work in Las Vegas, California, and NYC now. We all get to fangirl over our fellow alumni's accomplishments all around the U.S..

What advice would you offer to students studying dance?

Listen to your instructors, and believe in yourself.

What is your favorite style of dance and why?

Right now, my favorite style is modern. After having a baby, your body changes ... modern is such a great way to work the movement back into your body.

Your photography has been featured in many magazines, what was that experience like?

Surreal! I always get so excited when I see my photography in wedding or dance magazines. I'm very honored to have the opportunities and experiences to learn from and work with such amazing artists.

Do you take/ Have you taken any photography classes? How did you become a professional photographer?

My last semester of college, I began taking photography classes from UCO's acclaimed photography department. It was such a blast to use my fellow classmates as models for the photography assignments. Since then, I've taken several workshops, classes in-person and online, and listen to Creative Live & YouTube while I edit. As I learn more, both in photography and dance, I realize how much more I need to know. The lovely thing about knowledge is that it makes you hungry for wisdom.

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