Today we’d like to introduce you to Joshua Grant Smith.
Joshua, before we jump into specific questions about your work, why don’t you give us some details about you and your story.
My name is Joshua Grant Smith a small town boy with big dreams, born and raised in Durham, NC. Throughout my youth, I was very active, playing football, baseball, basketball and soccer. I lived in a full household of two parents, an older brother and my twin brother. With such a rambunctious group, my parents were strict on all of us about what we did with our time. They consistently made sure to put us in things to keep us pre-occupied and out of trouble. That seemed to be a non-negotiable for my parents. They knew a young boy with too much time on his hands never led to anything good. From playing sports to playing in the band, or joining my school fraternity and dance team, they made sure I was a part of it. But the one thing that seemed to stick with me most was, you guessed it, DANCE.
Dance became a big part of my life early on, without me even realizing how much of an impact it would later have. I took my 1st dance class when I was 13 years old, at a local dance studio in my hometown; “Walltown Children’s theater”. Despite its small, unassuming nature, it had a rawness to it that drew me in. I continued to dance through my middle & high school years, which were the more pivotal moments in choosing this as a career. I had two extremely great, influential women, who believed in me even when I didn’t believe in myself- Ms.Pope & Ms. Fields. Ms. Pope was my middle school dance teacher, and Ms. Fields was my high school dance teacher. I’m still, to this day, thankful to have had them be a part of my life at such a young age. These two women guided me through all those tumultuous years. They showed me how to work hard and train… How to push past limits, and beat self doubt. I am forever grateful for the energy they put forward.
After high school, I moved to Atlanta, GA, where my life would change forever. Moving to Atlanta was like a movie for me. I didn’t know the city- now a young man with a lot of ambition and drive, ready for life’s journey. Atlanta fed my soul. To know I entered a community of people who love and share the same passion while still residing in the south was as mind blowing as it was terrifying. Atlanta is where I booked my first job, met life long friends, business partners- all extremely talented beings! Atlanta is also where I created my heart in human form; my son JAIDYN SMITH! Becoming a father is the biggest thing I’ve gained from moving to ATL. It has taught me patience and unconditional love and for that, I thank GOD every single day.
Shortly after my move to Atlanta, I met Collizion crew. Collizion was already an established crew, but they adopted me as one of there own. A bunch of young black men in one group, making something of themselves through the artistry of dance. Aside from their kindness, their talent alone pushed me to become great. We went on to do “MTV ABDC season 7”. We did not win but the exposure catapulted many things to come.
Thereafter, I went on to book my first world tour with the pop star, Austin Mahone. I toured with Austin for three to four years where we became as close as a family over time. I then got an unexpected call that would, yet again, remain another pivotal moment in my career. I was asked to dance with Usher on his upcoming tour URX. I then transitioned to the Usher camp, led by the only Creative Director/Choreographer, Jamaica Craft! Through the process, I grew a mentor/mentee relationship with Jamaica. She believed and took a chance on me despite how green I was to the industry. I gained so much knowledge about any and everything within both the industry and life. Yes, the dance training was INSANE- the best training I’ve could have asked for. But beyond dance, the mentality I grew would change me forever. I felt reborn, like I was in the matrix, unlocking all the codes and life hacks. I could finally see. I went on to become an assistant choreographer for the Usher camp. I assisted videos like “No Limit” and “Party”.
During the Chris Brown “Party” video, where I also danced, I finally met Chris in rehearsal. Shortly after the release of the video, he reached out to Jamaica for my information, to be his main choreographer, and the rest is history. We went on to start our working relationship through Party Tour, and from there have continued with countless videos and three major tours. Since then, I’ve also worked with the likes of Neyo, Ciara, Kelly Rowland, choreographed BET social awards, and won the 2019 Soul Train Award for the best dance performance for Chris Browns “No Guidance” music video. This journey continues to challenge me, but through every obstacle, I learn how to better my craft, not only for myself but for the culture. I’m looking forward to what 2020 has in store for me!
Has it been a smooth road?
It has, most definitely, not been a smooth road, but without challenges and obstacles, the story wouldn’t be much of a story at all. I had a lot of ups and downs coming into this career. Self doubt, shame and self deprecation all came into play in my head, even when I was in a good place and level in my career. It all starts with your mind and the way you train yourself to think. Once you switch the way you think, things tend to get easier. You learn how to react and deal with your feelings and circumstances in other ways that produce a positive outcome. My father always said, “It’s not what happens to you, but how you react to it”. Experience is the best lesson of life’s struggles. You must go through something significant to live and tell about it.
We’d love to hear more about your work.
I look at myself as a walking business/company. I like to display rawness, honesty, love, positivity and most of all FUN. I live by these things on a daily. It helps me spread light to all types of jobs and people in the world. I strive for greatness in whatever I do. I love to give back to the community and plan on doing a big event in my hometown in Durham, NC. I want to show my people back home that no dream is too BIG. Each one, teach one- something that needs to be a constant reminder. You’re only great as the people you lead.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
Los Angeles is a great place to start as a dancer. While having so many options can sometimes hinder you, with purpose and direction, you have more opportunities at your fingertips. You have to make sure you maintain a sense of identity and culture during your training.
- Email: Chyna@weentertain.biz
- Instagram: Dancer_boysmith
(Black and white photo: Mark Griffin Champion)