Corey Smith

Dyersburg, Tenn.


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Corey Smith discovered his passion for dance in high school and after learning about the dance education program at UT Martin, the stars began to align as he contemplated his future college plans and career goals.


After seeing the movie You Got Served, Smith took an interest in hip-hop dance. He said, "It was one of the first major hip-hop dance movies that I had ever seen. After I saw it, it opened my eyes to dance and I learned all the (movie's) dance choreography." He continued, "I was playing football at the time and I ended up taking a ballet class. After I took ballet and contemporary class, it opened my eyes." Dyersburg High School also began offering a dance class, and it was there that Smith discovered that he wanted dance to be a part of his future career.


The UT Martin dance ensemble performed at Dyersburg High School during Smith's senior year, and when he learned about the dance education program at UT Martin, he took immediate action. He recalled, "That next day, I filled out my application."


As he pursues his dance education degree, Smith is paying close attention to detail as he continues to hone his skills. "Ms. Sarah McCormick (assistant professor of visual and theater arts and instructor of dance), she is extremely inspiring, not just because of her skill because she is an amazing dancer, but more because of her passion," Smith said. "We forget about the small things. She makes the smallest things, the most intricate things, so beautiful."


Before becoming a dance enthusiast, Smith was actively involved in his high school's athletic teams. He said, "I played football my sophomore, junior and senior year. I was really very, very athletic because I liked that competitive side as well. I played track, soccer and football. Those were the three sports I played while I was in high school."


Smith still feels deeply connected to football and has volunteered with the Fulton middle school and high school football teams. This summer, Smith was offered a position to be an assistant coach for both teams.


Thanks to his experience in both dance and sports, Smith has big plans for his future career. He said, "I want to teach at a college or private school with dance and I want to teach hip-hop and contemporary. And if I'm blessed enough, maybe I can get an assistant coaching job as well because that's what I do now in Fulton. So, if I can get to a college or private school or somewhere where I can teach dance and be an assistant football coach, I'm not really worried about the money because I'd be in heaven. Those are my long-term goals."

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