Paige Smith is the ultimate high flier who has never been afraid to do things out of the ordinary. It is why she is a successful professional dancer and teacher, who loves every aspect of her career.
As a teenager, she had many dance titles to her name, including European Champion in Disco Freestyle and Rock and Roll, British Isles Champion and the all-England Champion. However, it was her college studies that helped her develop the professionalism and strong work ethic she continues to rely on today.
“My college course gave me much more structure and discipline that I’d ever experienced before,” said London-based Paige. “I learned everything from how to be punctual to understanding more about dance as a culture. The dance techniques I explored were also more in-depth, so I could really immerse myself in what I was doing.”
Everything Paige has turned her hand to, from appearing on the BBC show So you think you can dance at aged 18 to working in Germany in 2018 as a trapeze-flying dancer in Tarzan: The Musical has provided Paige with the opportunity to demonstrate her perseverance and self-belief.
“When you join the professional world of dance, it’s like getting on a rollercoaster,” said London-based Paige. “There are highs and good times when you’re in a show, working with great artists and receiving audience praise.
“Then you have what I call the ‘chill times’ when you’re resting in between jobs. Ideally, you don’t want the chill times to last too long. That said, if you aren’t performing for a few months then this is a chance for you to use it as a development of your artistry, with classes, workshop & programs to plan and aim for the next project you want to be involved in.”
With dance contracts of 6-12 months at a time, Paige has experienced what she describes as a good mix of work. And when those chill times arrive, she gets the chance to reflect and build on her experiences by teaching dance to children back home in Wolverhampton.
“I’ve often had to tell myself not to give up or walk away when something hasn’t worked out for me, such as a failed audition,” she explained. “Positive thinking can make a difference in the long run. You can’t be afraid to jump at an opportunity when it comes your way.”
One such opportunity was her role in Tarzan: The Musical – a role that she won after she auditioned for it three times.
“I loved the show and had always wanted to be in it,” said Paige. “But the audition process was intense. It involved two days of choreography, fitness and – most challenging of all – bungee aerial dance because the show calls for you to fly in the air towards the audience.
“It hurt when I missed out on the show the first two times, but I kept improving my fitness and stamina. The casting team must have seen how determined I was and how much I’d done to improve as a performer.”
She added: “Being in a show is always incredible. I experience an adrenalin rush when I’m ready to go on and then hear my cue. The audience reactions are always special too. I’ve had tears, laughter and people calling out my name. There’s no other feeling like it.”