Dance Theatre of Harlem Company Member Amanda Smith's Style Reflects Her Sunny California Roots

April 27, 2020

When she’s not representing Dance Theatre of Harlem onstage or in the studio, company member Amanda Smith sports a retro-inspired style. The Orange County, California, native loves a good thrift store, almost as much as she loves throwing pops of color into her look. “Outside of the studio, my style is a mix of the ’70s, ’80s and ’90s,” Smith says. “I’m inspired by people like Whitney Houston, Mariah Carey, Aaliyah, Brandy and Sade. I love the vibe of their music and who they are—they represent natural beauty, and I love that.”

Smith gravitates towards brighter colors for the studio. “It wakes me up and adds some fun to our rigorous rehearsal schedule,” she says. She also likes to play with different hairstyles, switching between a classic high bun and French twist to something more fun, like two buns or two twisted braids at the top of her head.

One studio staple for Smith is her Bloch Axiom pointe shoes, which she alters specifically for her feet. “Dance Theatre of Harlem is all about skin-colored shoes,” Smith says. “I like to paint my shoes the same day I sew them because the paint makes them shape differently. If I were to wear the shoes for a day and paint them after, they won’t feel the way I want them to.”