Derrick Smith graduated from Brenau University in 2009 with a degree in Dance. He now dances professionally with the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, a contemporary modern dance company founded in 1976 by Ann Williams. The mission of Dallas Black Dance Theatre is to create and produce contemporary modern dance at its highest level of artistic excellence through performances and educational programs that bridge cultures and reach diverse communities. Smith is in his 3rd season as a company member but has been with the organization for 4 years, having served one year as a Dallas Black Dance Theatre II member.
Here, Derrick explains in his own words how a dance major from Brenau University prepared him for life after college and a fulfilling career in dance:
“Having a dance degree from Brenau University allowed me an edge over other dancers who didn’t have a college level of dance training and experience. Aside from my talents, one of the main components of me getting the job at Dance Black was because the director Ann Williams wanted to hire dancers with a college level degree. It means that her dancers are technically trained in both ballet or modern dance and have completed a program that prepares them for a professional working experience. It also showcases a dancer’s technical ability, performance quality, and commitment/work ethnic.
Brenau University totally helped me get to where I am now. They provided me with the tools and principles to help me grow and build on my weakness and increase my strengths as a dancer. I was challenged through all my courses within the dance program. I was given many opportunities to perform and create dance works. I was also a member of the Gainesville Ballet company that expanded my experience even more. I was coached and given great advice. I am considered lucky and happy to be graduated from Brenau University.”