Founder of Austin's Ballet Afrique featured in Oprah Magazine | KVUE News

Ashley Goudeau/KVUE News, December 19, 2012
"Tucked upstairs in Highland Mall is Ballet Afrique, China Smith's contemporary dance academy. "I've been teaching dance in East Austin for at least 15 years, and I just found limited access to African American Art," said Smith. "One day it occurred to me, 'Well instead of waiting for Alvin Ailey to come around once a year, why not start this company?'"..."

Local Hero: How China Smith is Changing the Face of Ballet | Oprah Magazine

Karen Valby, December 2012
“Her back quivering in the plank position, 17-year-old Danielle looks ready to give up. “Don’t you quit!” says China Smith, Danielle’s dance instructor and founder of the Austin dance studio Ballet Afrique. Smith’s youth company is nearing the end of its rigorous class warm-up of barre stretches and pliés. ...”

Yadira's Austin: Ballet Afrique |

Yadira Izquierdo, November 12, 2010
“In December 2009, I had the opportunity to see a performance by Ballet Afrique. I remember that I was so intrigued by their artistic proposal that I wanted to interview them but, for a bunch of different reasons and time constraints, I never got around to it. Almost a year after that first encounter, I met with China Smith, a dance teacher for a Charter School in East Austin and the Founder and Director of Ballet Afrique. ...” 

Ballet Afrique Brings a New Artistic Vision Austin |

Jeanne Claire van Ryzin, March 6, 2010
“In many ways, the audience of schoolchildren who gathered recently in the Boyd Vance Theatre at the Carver Cultural Center & Museum is exactly the one China Smith hoped for when she started Ballet Afrique a couple of years ago... ‘We are so under-represented [sic] in the arts (in Austin),’ she says. ‘I have to do this for my kids.’...”

Ballet Afrique: Austin's First Black Professional Dance Company |

Margaret Haule, May 2009
“China Smith had an idea. Having always had a passion for dance, she wanted something that went beyond the high school drill team or dance sequences of the cheerleading team. She wanted a dance company where different dance styles were taught with a focus on African originated styles as well as traditional styles of ballet, Afrojazz, liturgical dance, hip hop, tap dance, and most of all African dance incorporating all styles of the Diaspora. ...”