Zoja Smutny: Today’s Notable Young Professional

Today’s Notable Young Professional is choreographer, director, and performer Zoja Smutny, who Toronto young professionals will get a chance to see tonight and tomorrow as part of the SummerWorks Performance Festival…

Elevator Pitch: Describe your job in a nutshell.
I am a choreographer, director, and performer. I create both live and video work. My next performance is a 45-minute solo called this I LOVE YOU thing on Thursday, August 14 (today), and Friday, August 15 at Toronto’s SummerWorks Performance Festival.

Why did you start working at your company? What was the inspiration for this career route?
I’ve been making dances and collaborating with others since I was eight years old. I don’t feel like I had much choice in the matter!

What is the best part of what you do on a day-to-day basis? The most challenging part?
The best part of what I do is working with people with whom I want to work. The most challenging part is financing the work.

What is one sign that you’ve seen over the years to suggest that your work/life balance is off?
I know my work/life balance is off whenever I find myself questioning what I’m doing instead of trusting what I’m doing.

Where do you see yourself in 5 years?
In a studio on a Greek island.

What is one major challenge that you’ve had to overcome in your career? How did you overcome it?
Rejection. Patience and good friends.

What does success look like to you? Does Money = Happiness?
For me, success is being able to enjoy what you already have and money is a means to create more.

What is the most memorable milestone in your career?
One of the most memorable milestones was attending the Cannes Film Festival, where my short film Between Time, which I created with photographer Guntar Kravis, screened as part of the Court Métrage.

Do you have any advice for other young professionals?
Keep your friends very close! 

Where is your favourite place to wine/dine in your city and why?
I love Toronto bars and eating pho on Ossington, but if I had to choose a favourite place to wine and dine, I would say my friend’s garden on Crawford Street.

When you’re not working how do you love to spend your “Me” time?
I am a big loner and I can spend a lot of time staring into space.

Where is your favourite place to travel? Why?
Greece. If you’ve been, no explanation is necessary!

If you had to choose a theme song, what would it be?
I love songs and what I like changes all the time, but right now Simple Things by Miguel is still on repeat.

If you weren’t doing what you’re doing, what would you be doing?
I ask myself this question a lot, but I still haven’t come up with an answer.

Do you support any charities? If so, which one(s) and why is that important to you?
The Imagination Library, which sends free books to children from the time they’re born until they’re five years old. My friends made a short documentary (The Book Lady) about it.

What to you is notable?
Family, friendship, taking care of each other, and style!

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