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Will Smith

Manassas Ballet Theatre’s Will Smith Receives Virginia Commission of the Arts Grant

Contributed by Manassas Ballet Theatre

Will Smith
Will Smith

Piece to be showcased March 8-9 at the Hylton Performing Arts Center

MANASSAS, VA…Manassas Ballet Theatre company dancer Will Smith sees dance in his head whenever he hears music – and that’s a good thing. “We didn’t have much money growing up, so I didn’t see any ballets,” says Smith. “I would tune in to the classical radio station, turn the lights out and create my own ballets in my head – it was hard at first but now it’s second nature.”  He cultivated a love of choreography, and now Smith has received the Virginia Commission of the Arts Fellowship in Choreography for a new ballet he will debut March 8-9, as part of MBT’s A Night At The Paris Opera and More!

A Syracuse, NY native, Smith applied for the grant by sending video of his piece Tractus, created last year for MBT after receiving encouragement from Artistic Director Amy Grant Wolfe. “She asked the company dancers if anyone would like to choreograph for our March 2013 show –and I was in her office in two seconds flat!” says Smith.

Smith’s new ballet, titled Laboro (Latin for “work together”) is a collaboration with Washington, DC artist Katya Krupko, who will help create the dancer’s costumes, the backdrop and actually paint onstage during the ballet. The grant will help to offset costs for her supplies, costumes and soloist musicians. Krupko will create a canvas on stage that will be sold after the ballet, with proceeds going to charity.

Smith’s ballet training began at the age of 11 to better his karate. Ballet made him strong and flexible, and after breaking a competitor’s nose at a meet, he decided to stick with ballet. He didn’t see a professional ballet company perform until his college years, on scholarship at University of Missouri-Kansas City, where he graduated with a B.F.A. in dance, ballet emphasis.  Smith has danced with the Kansas City Ballet, Montgomery Ballet, Albany Berkshire Ballet, Richmond Ballet, and Ballet Theater of Maryland.  This is his second season with MBT.

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About Manassas Ballet Theatre

Manassas Ballet Theatre is a 501c(3) nonprofit corporation founded in 1983. Our mission is to enhance the quality of life in Northern Virginia by providing accessible and affordable professional ballet performances, educational outreach to the community and the highest level of training to the serious student. MBT is a National Endowment of the Arts 2013 Grant Recipient.

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