DANCE ‣ Dancer of the Month - November 2022, Sofia Baeta
Updated: Apr 1
November is typically a month of reflection and being grateful for what we have. That is why this month at HVU we would like to take some time to appreciate our dance administrators for all that they do behind the scenes. If you couldn’t have guessed already, this month we are featuring another dance administrator as our Dancer of the Month, Sofia Baeta!
Sofia Baeta was born in Belo Horizonte, Brazil, and moved to the US to pursue her dance education at age 17 to attend the University of North Carolina School of the Arts. After graduating with a BFA in Contemporary Dance in 2019, Sofia relocated to NYC as a recipient of the Kenan Fellowship at Lincoln Center Education(LCE). She has performed works from Martha Graham, Merce Cunnigham, Ton Simons, Austin McCornick, Charles Czarny, Douglas Dunn, Brenda Daniels, Mari Meade and Juel Lane among others. Her repertoire also includes highlighted roles in classical works such as La Bayadère and The Nutcracker. Sofia’s multidisciplinary piece, My Memory, Your Memory, Our Memory, which she created and directed, premiered at Lincoln Center Education’s Clark Studio Theater in 2020. Her self-choreographed solo, In the Eyes of Others, was performed at The Ailey Citigroup Theater in 2019. Sofia is also a teaching artist and has taught for organizations such as LCE, Dancing Classrooms and WR ARTS. Sofia is currently working at National Dance Institute, Helen Simoneau Danse, and DanceAction.
Sofia has been working full time with the National Dance Institute, a non-profit organization in New York City, since February 2020. “The NDI Collaborative for Teaching and Learning is a professional development program for teaching artists, dance educators, musicians, and organizations worldwide.” Here she has served as the Program Coordinator for the NDI Collaborative for Teaching Learning.
She has also been working part time with the dance company Helen Simoneau Danse since November 2019. She began as an intern, then moved up to a program manager, and in the beginning of 2021 became their General Manager. As someone who wears many hats, Sofia also works on various artistic projects with friends and is also still dancing for the company DanceAction!
When choosing who to work with, Sofia says, “Overall I think it is all about the people I get to work with, work environment, and the work I get to do. Work that motivates me, people that inspire me, and an environment that is fun, respectful and supportive.”
With each of Sofia’s current jobs she demonstrates how important it is to make connections with people. She went out of her comfort zone in order to meet people in her field and those connections eventually lead her to these jobs. In the case of NDI, she lived on the same block as the organization, then happened to be at a conference with their executive director. She took this opportunity to speak to her and even exchange emails. Towards the end of her semester as a fellow, the executive director invited her to come to NDI and in the end they created a position created specifically for her! “...I could’ve let that connection die, but I stayed in touch, and continued to keep them updated on what I was doing. Eventually things worked out!
I decided to work with NDI, because I also believe that every child should have access to learning in and through the arts, and it is wonderful to work in an organization that has been around for 46 years impacting the lives of children around the US and internationally.”
She discovered DanceAction during the pandemic through a friend who put her in contact with the choreographer, Carmen Caceres, an Argentinian choreographer who happened to be working a piece focused on immigration at the time. “She was seeking immigrant dancers to be a part of the process. I decided to accept her invitation to join the company to have the opportunity to work with Carmen and other immigrant dancers that had gone through similar life experiences as me.”
Her position with Helen Simoneau Danse, also came from a connection. Helen had taught one of her classes and also cast Sofia in her piece one semester at UNCSA. Sofia then reached back out to Helen a few years later, because she remembered that Helen is from Canada, and Sofia wanted to talk about her experience with immigration and visas. “A few weeks after we met she reached out asking if I would like to do an internship with her company. From there I became a project manager, and last December she offered me the general manager position.”
“In all my experiences I was very open to whatever came my way, and was more interested in the connection than the potential outcome of a job. Thinking about it now, both of my main current jobs are jobs that I got through just reaching out and being curious. I didn’t have to apply or go through a selection process. Once I was in the organization, I learned a lot and was able to grow and move up to my current positions.”
“I feel like over the past 3 years (since graduation) I have gone from entry level positions in the arts administration field to leadership positions. I have also narrowed down the number of organizations I work for. Gone from just saying yes to anything and being able to be more selective over what jobs I want to, and am willing to do. Things come with time, but staying in touch with people and creating the courage to reach out has proven to me to be one of the most important aspects of my career.”
Her advice for aspiring dance administrators is to, “Be open! Art administration is a huge field and it can include a lot of different things. If you don’t know what you want to do, or where you want to be. Research and just start somewhere. Someone once told me that every job you do will inform you of where you want to be and get you closer to it. Even when things don’t go as planned - you don’t enjoy the work, the people or the organization - you still gain something from the experience. You learn more about what you like and don’t like, about the type of work you enjoy doing, and what you are good at, and sometimes you also just learn what you DON’T want to do, and that sometimes is the most valuable thing you can learn.”
If you’d like to learn more about the organizations Sofia works for the links to each are below. Sofia has also mentioned that anyone with questions should feel free to reach out to her via her instagram, @sofbaeta