Kia Smith headshot

Kia Smith

Choreographer, Director, Educator, Organizer

A Chicago native, Kia Smith trained intensely on scholarship at The Hyde Park School of Dance, The Joel Hall Dance Center, ETA Creative Arts Foundation, and StoryCatchers Theatre, and received scholarships to attend the American Dance Festival in 2008 and 2009. She holds a BFA in Dance from Western Michigan University and an MFA from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, where she was an Advanced Opportunity Program Fellow.

Kia is the Founder and Executive Artistic Director of the South Chicago Dance Theatre, the company’s Resident Choreographer, and the founder of its signature programs: South Chicago Dance Festival, the Choreographic Diplomacy Program, Choreographic Fellowship, and Arts Administration Fellowship. In 2018, she received the inaugural Young and Ambitious Entrepreneurship Award from the Metropolitan Board of the Chicago Urban League and was chosen by the New York City based Stage Director’s and Choreographers Foundation as a member of the national Observership class.

In 2021, Kia received a 3Arts Make A Wave award and was an Ann & Weston Hicks Choreographic Fellow at the renowned Jacobs Pillow. She is 2022 Chicago Dancemakers Forum Lab Artist Awardee and a participant in the Artist in Residence (AIR) Program at the Cliff Dwellers Chicago. As a freelance choreographer, Kia has recent and upcoming commissions with Madison Ballet (2021), Chicago Repertory Ballet (2022), the Institute For Contemporary Dance at Houston Contemporary Dance Company (2022), Houston Contemporary Dance Company (2022), Chicago Opera Theater (2022), Ruth Page Civic Ballet Training Company (2022), University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2022), Giordano Dance Chicago (2023), Western Michigan University (2023), and a new evening-length work, Memoirs of Jazz in the Alley, for South Chicago Dance Theatre, scheduled to premirere at the Auditorium Theater of Chicago in June 2023.

Featured Artworks

  •  Kia Smith artwork
  •  Kia Smith artwork
  •  Kia Smith artwork

Kia Smith has crowd-funded a project with 3AP

    • $7,862 raised of $5,000 goal
    • 0 Days 0:00:00 LEFT
      • 3Arts matched
      • 157% funded

    For years, it has been my dream to create an interdisciplinary performance event that memorializes Chicago’s historic Jazz in the Alley movement. Told through a new dance opera artform that I’m developing, Memoirs of Jazz in the Alley will celebrate …

    Read more about Memoirs of Jazz in the Alley