Passionate performances

Name: Brittany Smith
Major: Health and kinesiology (movement and sport science) with a minor in dance
Year: Junior
Hometown: Elmhurst, Illinois

Childhood dreams: At age six, dancing came naturally to Brittany. Then she saw the Broadway production, Riverdance. “I was just in complete awe.” Her passion for Irish dance continued through high school, when she performed on television and competed worldwide, including in Canada, Ireland and Scotland. In 2007, Brittany was ranked 11th regionally, 14th nationally and 36th internationally.

An important audition: When it came time for college, Brittany thought that she wanted to major in dance. After auditioning all around the Midwest, she came to Purdue. “I fell in love with the campus, and committed to the University after finding out I had been selected for the Goldusters Dance Team.”

Pivotal moment: Brittany shattered her hip bone just before her freshman year of high school, was unable to dance, and was in rehab for a year. “Many people told me to retire and hang up my shoes. Those comments made me work really hard to achieve my goals. They made me stronger in the end.”

Personal connection: “A dancer’s body is very delicate. I wanted to learn about the body and staying healthy.” Brittany is taking science classes beyond what is required by her health and kinesiology major. “I want the option of attending a professional school, to possibly become a physician’s assistant. Medicine runs in my family.”

Lessons from dance: “Irish dance has shaped me as a person. In order to really excel at it, you have to be so disciplined and it really pushes your limits. You see what you can take and what you can’t take—how much it’s up to you.”

Choreography: Golduster routines are often collaborative. Brittany likes to incorporate sassy or eye-appealing moves. At the student dance organization, Higher Ground, she and a friend created a hip-hop piece and did a jazz/Irish “tap-off.”

Sharing her passion: Brittany enjoys teaching as much as performing. At Golden Steps Dance Studio in West Lafayette, she has the chance to introduce young students to both Irish dance steps and to some of the culture behind their rich traditions.

Graduation dreams: Brittany’s international ranking qualifies her to audition for Riverdance, but she’s unsure whether her future lies in further study or with a professional dance company.

By Susan Ferringer