Principal & Artistic Director

Janet Smith MBE


Career History

Janet became Principal in February 2012.  Prior to this, she was Artistic Director of Scottish Dance Theatre, Scotland’s major contemporary dance company, for 14 years, creating works for the company and commissioning from both emerging and internationally established choreographers.  Under her leadership, the company gained international recognition and won awards, including the National Critic’s Circle Award for Best Contemporary Repertoire, and was recognised in Scotland for pioneering leadership in Arts and Disability.

Prior to her directorship of Scottish Dance Theatre, Janet held posts at Bretton Hall College, University of Leeds, as Lectured in Dance and at London Contemporary Dance School, where she directed the graduate performance company. She also worked widely as an independent dance artist, teaching, choreographing performing.  Choreographic credits include English National Ballet, Scottish Ballet, The Playhouse Company (SA), Batsheva (Israel), Frieberg Tanzteater, and in theatre the Royal Shakespeare Company and the National Theatre of Scotland.

Janet studied Dance and Drama at Dartington College of Arts and dance education and teaching at Rolle College (UK), and on graduation continued her studies independently in New York and at Washington University, St Louis. Initially she began work as a solo dance maker and performer before forming her own contemporary dance company, Janet Smith & Dancers The company toured nationally and internationally, with support from the Arts Council and British Council, developing residency programmes alongside performances, to widen participation for children and young people and encourage audience engagement.

Janet has served on the Boards of Dance UK and London Contemporary Dance Trust.  Janet is a recipient of the Jane Attenborough Dance UK Industry Award, honouring an individual working in dance who has made an outstanding contribution to the art form, and in 2015 was awarded an MBE for services to contemporary dance. She is an Honorary Fellow of Dartington College of Arts and holds an Honorary Doctorate from the University of Kent, awarded in November 2017.