We had the good fortune of connecting with Caitlin Brozna-Smith and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Caitlin, what matters most to you?
Family. I was fortunate enough to grow up with a very supportive and encouraging family that really set the stage for how I valued human relationships through my life. Relationships are one value I place very high in how I conduct business and develop a sense of community at our dance studio. Families foster a sense of belonging to something greater than oneself. When life gets hard, people need support. Feeling accepted and understood is a basic need for people and families – whether traditional or chosen – can provide that. Our studio’s mission is to provide a fun and inclusive atmosphere that embraces the ethos “Dance is for every BODY”, no matter your age, size, background, orientation orientation. Families also foster a sense of belonging to something greater than oneself. Many families carry on traditions through the years by sharing stories from the past, celebrating milestones and carrying on family rituals. This creates connections, much like we do with our relationship to intercultural experiences at the studio since we are in international dance school. Much of our learning is deeply connected to the roots and oral traditions of different world cultures, and we keep the stories alive and honor them by continuing to bring to life their movement and music through dance. At Bella Diva we learn what it means to be a global citizen.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I was fortunate and privileged enough to travel the globe in my early 20s, studying overseas and living on a ship through a program called Semester at Sea. It was during that time my eyes were opened and I realized the vast world we are part of. It was during those travels I decided to continue my study of international and intercultural communications at the University of Denver and finally deciding to open a dance studio dedicated to the proliferation and experience of world dance.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
At this time I really need to thank a mentor who came into my life at the start of the pandemic and quarantine. It is an unlikely story of connection and influence across oceans. Sashya Jay is an accomplished artist, instructor, passista, and dance academy owner in Sydney Australia who teaches Brazilian Samba and is renowned in her field. Because of her mentorship and encouragement, my love for a dance and culture that is not originally my own, was reignited. I have been studying nonstop with Sashya through zoom and her online dance escola (school) and it has completely transformed my dance and perception of myself within the context of being a performing artist & instructor. I feel a deep connection to and responsibility in representing Samba with integrity and passion, while preserving the history and social context from where it has come from and how continues to evolve.
Matt W. Smith