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TrailblazHers: Ursula Smith

Ursula Smith, Founder and CEO of Ursula Smith Dance Company

Ursula Smith has developed a unique track record as a choreographer who infuses together styles from many continents. Traces of dance from all over make up the essence of her namesake dance company, Ursula Smith Dance. 

With more than two decades of dance experience, Ursula credits her diverse style to creative individuals who’ve come before her. Ursula Smith is both proud and humbled to have studied with amazing instructors during her creative and professional journey. 

A true visionary and modern renaissance woman, Ursula Smith is the creator and developer of Dance N2 Destiny, Ursula Smith Dance (formerly Quantum Leaps Dance Company), and Feet That Preach. Through these programs, Ursula organizes and conducts annual workshops, conferences, and productions. Additionally, she now hosts annual pro-bono dance classes through an inspiring virtual program called “Rise: Rhythm Inside Experience.” Ursula is a pioneer for her generation, a respected teacher to many, and an inspiration to those that she encounters.

Ursula is determined to continue to fulfill the principal goal—to empower, impact, inspire and cultivate the artistic capacities of individuals. She does so through the art of dance, dance education, motivational speaking, and professional development workshops.

Most recently, Ursula transcended the holiday culture in Birmingham by introducing a massive holiday musical to the city scene that features a primarily African-American ensemble in a whimsical re-imagining of Tchaikovsky’s holiday classic, The Nutcracker. Her now highly successful annual event is deemed “The Brown Sugar Nutcracker.” The production to date remains a sold-out favorite among audiences now for six years in a row.

Ursula is noted for quoting “To dance with destiny is to live in purpose,” a mantra that she resolves to embody in her daily living. A native of Birmingham, Ursula hails from a region of change-makers and innovators. This background coupled with her unrelenting faith fuels her overwhelming passion and pursuit to use dance as a source of inspiration, education, and communication for people of all ages. 

Best advice: The best piece of advice I ever received was by a man named Willie Oneal, Jr. He told me to A.I.M for all things concerning your destiny!

(A) analyze, seek what your gifts are 

(I) innovate create the platform for those gifts 

(M) market your gifts to the masses and forever strive to make room for those gifts. 

Greatest Influence My greatest influence is my mom. She taught me to do everything with excellence and if I cant give it 150 percent don’t do it all. And that everything in life is mind over matter.

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