Karen Smith is the Operations Manager for Montana Ballet Company and a faculty member of the Academy. She began her dance studies in Arizona before moving to Bozeman at age 10, when she began studying with Ann Bates and saw the inception of Montana Ballet Company. As a student she studied on scholarship at schools around the country including the Pacific Northwest Ballet School and the Milwaukee Ballet School and with teachers including Nicole Sowinska, Joy and Conrad Ludlow, Georges Golovine, Lynda Yourth and Yves DeBoutier among others.
In 1995 she became a teacher at and manager of Montana Ballet School, under the direction of Ann Bates. In her five years with the school she taught classes in classical ballet, pre-ballet and conditioning for students age three to adult and choreographed and coordinated student performances and a summer dance camp for children. During this time she also danced with Montana Ballet Company and served as assistant choreographer and rehearsal assistant for the Company’s productions, including The Nutcracker. She also provided management support for the Company’s other productions, workshops and master classes. In addition, during the summer of 1999, she served as substitute teacher, rehearsal assistant and stage manager for The Joffrey Workshop summer dance program and performance in San Antonio, TX under the direction of Buddy and Susan Trevino. At this time Karen also got her B.A. in English from Montana State University (Go Cats!) graduating with the class of ’93.
In 2000 Karen moved to CA where she did some work with the Channel Islands Ballet in Ventura County. After moving to Dallas/Fort Worth, TX five years later, Karen taught ballet at the Ballet Academy of Texas and ballroom dance to public school children as part of the renowned Dancing Classrooms program. She is also a certified fitness instructor and has taught indoor cycling and kickboxing at gyms in both California and Texas. After spending four years in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia and Geneva, Switzerland with her husband and kids Karen is delighted to be back home, both in Bozeman and at Montana Ballet.