Richard Smith is the proud new owner and executive director of 360° Dance Festival. Richard’s approach to teaching and directing dance is focused on alignment, strength, coordination, manipulation of the body, and the origination of movement. He believes that the only way to grow as a dancer is to understand the fundamentals of movement and to constantly work on mastering technique. Only by working on fundamentals and technique, can the dancer begin to tap into the personal connection of the movement and the music. Only after making that connection, can the dancer generate a performance from a vulnerable place of truth, making the dancer’s connection to the audience real and pure. It is this philosophy of finding truth through personal connection, that keeps Richard passionate about teaching and helping dancers, dance teachers and choreographers reach their highest artistic potential. Richard has expertise in classical, lyrical and contemporary jazz, classical ballet and modern dance to dancers of all ages.
He shares a special connection with pre-teen/youth dancers. He believes he learns the most about his teaching methods in the pre-teen/youth age group because they are very receptive to learning new concepts and they enjoy being exposed to new ideas. Richard attended East Carolina University in North Carolina, where he earned a BFA in Dance Performance, with a concentration in Jazz Dance and Dance Education in 2000.
After college, he moved to Chicago to train with Gus Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago. Richard was fortunate to have the opportunity to work and travel with the late Gus Giordano and he now teaches the Giordano Technique in Chicago, IL. The Gus Giordano Dance School named Richard a master jazz dance teacher and he is currently a summer faculty member at the Gus Giordano Dance School. From 2009 until 2017, Richard was the artistic director for the non-profit dance company, Inaside and doubled their budget during a recession. In addition, between 2008 to 2012, Richard had the opportunity to be an artist-in-residence at his alma mater, East Carolina University, as well as at Western Michigan University, Elon University and Duke University. In 2012, Richard was a judge for the Ms. America of North Carolina. He is also a regional and national adjudicator and teacher for Applause Talent Presentations, Kids Artistic Revue, Dance Masters of Michigan, Dance Masters of Wisconsin, Bravo Dance Competition and Rainbow Connection, in addition to teaching and choreographing for workshops, studios and companies throughout the US. As a certified Comprehensive Pilates Instructor and a certified personal trainer, he can enhance the artistry of any dancer.
Richard’s former students can be Richard also teaches classical, lyrical and contemporary jazz, classical ballet and modern dance to dancers of all ages. He shares a special connection with pre-teen/youth dancers. He believes he learns the most about his teaching methods in the pre-teen/youth age group because they are very receptive to learning new concepts and exposure to new ideas.
Richard’s former students can be found in dance programs around the country including: Loyola Marymount; Suny Purchase; the University of Buffalo, NY; Hofstra University in NY; Fordham University; University of Arizona at Tucson; Oklahoma City University; and Point Park University. One of Richard’s former students has toured with Selena Gomez, and has danced on stage with Lady Gaga, Katy Perry, Jennifer Lopez, and Pitbull. He also recently performed on “The Voice” and just completed another international tour with Justin Beiber. Recently,, one of Richard’s students won a Jeff Award in 2015 for his leading roll as Billy in “Billy Elliot.” Richard is excited to be leader in the movement to promote the health and wellness of the whole dancer at the 360* Dance Festival.