A Look Back: Sarita Smith Childs’ First Semester at Loyola
Loyola University Chicago’s Dance Program had the honor of welcoming Sarita Smith Childs as the newest member of its dance faculty this year. Sarita joined the program with over 20 years of dance, choreography, and teaching experience and has been a fantastic addition to the growing program.
Sarita began dancing in Chicago and moved to New York while in high school to continue pursuing her professional dance career. She then attended Sarah Lawrence College where she graduated with a B.A. in Liberal Arts with concentrations in Dance and Economics.
Throughout her career, Sarita has enjoyed dancing professionally as well as training future generations. She has served as dance faculty at DePaul University, Lou Conte Dance Studio, and Gus Giordano Dance Center. She currently teaches at Visceral Dance Center and the Joffrey Academy of Dance while also being a Joffrey Ballet Community Engagement teaching artist. Sarita holds these appointments in addition to her faculty position in Loyola’s Dance program!
Sarita took on two Dance Major courses during her first semester: Intermediate Ballet IV and Pointe I. The dancers in her classes were thankful to have a new, accomplished teacher as well as a change of pace.
Junior Dance Major Abby Darrow reflected on her semester in Sarita's ballet class:
When pursuing dance in college, you find yourself in a comfort zone because you’re getting to know your faculty more every year. With Sarita coming in this semester, none of us knew what to expect. I admire the way she speaks to us as athletes. She is always reminding us how important it is to be in constant training and to take care of ourselves physically. I appreciate her love for dance and her willingness to guide every individual.
Sarita has been excited since the day she was hired to have the opportunity to work with pre-professional dancers in a much deeper process. She likes to shape her classes so there is time to, “deeply explore theory, apply it kinetically in the studio and cultivate it further artistically to lead up to a performance.”
Her classes hugely impacted the dancers’ preparations for the Annual Dance Concert, as she pushes instruction one step further and truly ignites knowledge and passion into every student she teaches.
When asked what it meant to be teaching at a Jesuit institution, where ideologies of faith and commitments to social justice exude from every classroom, Sarita couldn’t have been more excited. “It is incredibly fulfilling to be able to teach in an institution that puts Faith at the core of its foundational mission and allows me to integrate it into my curriculum,” said Sarita.
As far as social justice, Sarita spoke of diversity and representation in the classroom. She said:
It can be life changing for young and emerging dance artists...to work with artists that look like them or have shared experiences successfully working in their field. While there may be trailblazing qualities deep within us, it is sometimes hard to understand how we will make our way in the world if we do not see examples of success.
Dancers in the program are happy to see that the newest faculty member brings diversity to the program, both in mind and spirit. Loyola Dance celebrates and welcomes each unique piece of the program that makes it what it is, and Sarita has been a wonderful addition. She is thrilled to continue working with the talented Loyola University Chicago faculty, as well as its developing artists, future educators, and global citizens.
If you would like to read more about Sarita, you can check out her bio on our faculty page. To view descriptions of the classes she teaches, visit our course offerings page. As always, stay updated on all things Loyola Dance by following @lucdanceprogram on Instagram and Facebook.