Delving into Dance with Judith Smith

Our founder Judith Smith sat down recently with Alex Randall to discuss 

AR: What does being Artistic Director at AXIS encompass for you right now? What, what are your main responsibilities?

JS: Well, it’s changing. Up until this last year, I’ve been basically the Executive Director and the Artistic Director. So, my responsibilities have been fairly enormous and probably way too enormous. I now have a Managing Director who is as much or more responsible for some of the stuff that I was doing. At this point, I’ve been in this field of physically integrated contemporary dance for 27 years. I’ve seen the field grow and develop, and I would really like to be able to focus my energy on moving AXIS forward and moving the field forward and doing less of the everyday management.

Up until last year, almost everything was on me. I was the one responsible for developing the budgets, checking the books, and making sure things are getting entered right. Doing the HR, dealing with the visas, dealing with the contracts for consultants and finding the choreographers and dancers. It was mind-boggling, and now that I don’t have to do all of that, I kind of wonder how the hell I did all of that.

AR: Are there aspects of being an executive director that you’ve held onto because you really liked it?

JS: The things that I am focusing on are developing the artistic projects and grant language that goes around with those. And I definitely have to keep aware of the budget and finances, but it’s not on me to do it all. I don’t enjoy HR, and I don’t really enjoy that nitty-gritty management, so it’s nice to be able to let go of that. It’s nice to have someone else’s mind and voice and ideas on the development aspect and the communications aspect.

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