Sarita Smith Childs
Title/s: Instructor of Dance
Office #: Ralph Arnold Annex 206
A classically trained dancer, choreographer, and educator with over 20 years of dance experience, Sarita Smith Child's professional performance experiences span the genres of modern, jazz, ballet & contemporary dance. Sarita is a graduate of Sarah Lawrence College where she received a B.A. Liberal Arts degree with concentrations in Dance and Economics. It was here that she studied under Dance Department Director Viola Farber from Merce Cunningham Dance Company and Associate Professor William Adaire from Jennifer Muller | The Works. Although she danced professionally prior to college, she pursued an eight-year post-college career on the trading floor of a US affiliate of a Dutch Bank. She then returned to the dance community to finish her professional performance career while branching into choreography, dance education, fitness and coaching. After retiring from the stage, she resumed her business and non-profit management career, while maintaining roles in dance education and choreography.
As a choreographer, coach, master class instructor and répétiteur she conducts guest residencies at the high school and university levels, for professional dance companies, and private studios. She served on the faculty of the Dance Conservatory of Barat College of DePaul University, the Lou Conte Dance Studio (home of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago), Gus Giordano Dance Center, the Academy of Movement and Music, and directed the dance department and dance company of Whitney Young Magnet High School in Chicago. She is currently on faculty at Visceral Dance Center and Joffrey Academy of Dance, and is a teaching artist with Joffrey Ballet Community Engagement.
Sarita's choreography has been seen on the fashion, commercial and concert dance stages. TV, theater, and film credits include being a featured choreographer and performer in the 2006 Emmy Award Winning PBS Special "The Chicago Dance Project", choreography for The Congo Square Theater Company's, "King of Coons" directed by Harry Lennix (Matrix Reloaded, Matrix Revolution, Barber Shop 2) and as a Principal Ballet Dancer for Paramount Pictures Save the Last Dance, in which she was cast as one the six principal ballet dancers / stunt artists alongside Joffrey Ballet principal dancers.
Sarita was a 2017 nominee for the Chicago United Business Leaders of Color Award, and a 2016 nominee for the 3 Arts Grant Award in Dance/Choreography, a truly exciting honor after coming back to the role of choreographer in 2015 after an 8-year hiatus. Sarita received the Ruth Page Award for Dance Achievement (Chicago's highest dance honor for performance) and is a six-time nominee and a past winner of the Black Theater Alliance Award for Best Performance in a Music/Dance Program for Randy Duncan's "Shanequa's World".
Sarita serves as an advocate for Military and Veteran families, arts organizations and lupus awareness. She is a Volunteer Ambassador for the Lupus Research Alliance, former member of the Board of Directors of the USO of Illinois and Volunteers of America IL, and currently sits on the Board of Directors of the Oak Park Area Arts Council and the Advisory Board of Directors for Roosevelt University Chicago College of the Performing Arts.
Sarita is currently teaching Intermediate Ballet for Majors and Pointe I and is excited to be working with students at such a formative point in their career.
B.A., Sarah Lawrence College