ATHLEISURE MAG: What goes into becoming a top choreographer?
CRAIG SMITH: Talent, creativity, artistry, vision, discipline, fortitude, and hard work.
AM: Do you have any fun stories to share from iconic music videos or tours you were part of through the years?
CS: When I danced for Rihanna on a short Japan spot date tour for Nike, the audience was silent every number of our performance until the very end of each song. It was funny to me at the time because I had never experienced that before.
AM: Tell us about Hard Candy Fitness.
CS: Hard Candy Fitness is an international luxury gym brand inspired by Madonna - the artist, athlete, and icon. Our signature and exclusive premiere programs are created and inspired by daily workouts I create and do with Madonna, her worldwide tours, music videos, music, and fitness philosophies. We’ve had great success with the brand since 2010 with club locations in amazing places like: Italy, Chile, Russia, Germany, Mexico, and more. I have the awesome roles of Creative Director, and head master trainer of the Hard Candy Fitness Sweat Crew (a team of professional dancers & fitness coaches).
AM: As Creative Director and a Master Trainer at HCF, give us the scoop on where things are headed.
CS: We are launching a variety of incredible new programs to add to our current premiere programming roster and are opening locations in more amazing regions around the globe!
AM: How did you come to work with Madonna and what's it like to train/work with her on tour and personally?
CS: Madonna extended a personal invitation for me to work with her personally 2 1⁄2 years ago after having already worked with Hard Candy Fitness as both a Master Trainer and consultant for 1 year prior. Working with Madonna both personally and on tour is demanding, fun, chill, educational, and more all at the same time.
AM: What's it like to balance being a multi-faceted creative and coaching others at the highest level?
CS: I've always been a person of variety and multi-faceted. To maintain balance, I do my best not to overwhelm myself by taking on too much of a workload nowadays. I’m not afraid to say ‘no’ to things, or say ‘yes’ to things that inspire me.
AM: You have a wicked sense of style, first off what makes a good cap?
CS: Style, fit, versatility, comfort, construction, and functionality are things that make an excellent hat to me.
AM: How would you define your style?
CS: Urban, high fashion, classic, modern, edgy, conservative, funky, and everything else in-between.
AM: We know you love kicks too, what details do you like on them?
CS: Color, high top, edgy, and fashionable are all details that describe most of the kicks I own.
AM: You have a pretty busy schedule, what are your top 3 places to eat in NY and some of your favorite international destinations that we should add to our list?
CS: My top 3 places to eat in NYC: Peacefood Café, Candle 79 and/or Café, & Hangawi Restaurant. One of my favorite international spots I love is Mae’s Deli in London.
AM: How has vegan life helped shaped you?
CS: Vegan life has literally helped save and change my entire life for the better.
AM: We know you’re super reflective, how often do you jot thoughts and ideas down? What's being in the zone for you?
CS: I jot down thoughts and ideas every single day. Being in the zone is usually when I’m listening to instrumental jazz music; which helps me maintain incredible focus and concentration while I download all concepts/ideas.
AM: How big is organization in your day? Walk us through some typical routines.
CS: I’m a Capricorn; which means organization is everything! Typical daily routines range from prayer/meditation, emails, conference calls, reading, quality time with family & friends, personal workouts, planning workouts for clients, creating some form of art, and more.
AM: What’s next for Craig Smith after moving forward with HCF?
CS: Jumping back into music, dance, fitness, and some new & exciting entrepreneurial endeavors!
AM: What kinds of things do you like to do to have fun?
CS: I love watching documentaries, supporting live creative arts performances & shows, dining out, traveling, reading, writing, museums, sports, and much more.
AM: What are your must-haves for a dance, workout and chill playlist?
CS: My must-haves: comfortable stylish gear & footwear, awesome workout spaces, and my personal music playlists I create for my workouts and/or classes.
Photoshoot taken at Modern Arts Loft - NY, NY