We had the good fortune of connecting with Sammie Denham and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Sammie, what do you want your legacy to be?
If there’s one thing I want people to remember about me by – it’s that I inspired them. Whether it be because I’ve set the example for younger dancers that a career in the arts is achievable. Or that one of my performances inspires and sparks passion in the audience watching. Or one of my favorite moments – inspiring students through my teaching, in both classroom and professional settings, and witnessing the moment where the that fire comes alive in them and they go from student to artist. I pursued my career because of those who inspired me, and I hope throughout my journey in this industry to be that person for others.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
As a performer and a creative, I’ve learned over time that my path in this industry has and always will continue to unfold very uniquely to me. I think as artists we can get stuck in thinking that our careers need follow a similar path to the people before us. But as I’ve gotten older I’ve realized, no two artists have the exact same career and that’s the best part about it. If you have the patience to ride the wave of ups and downs of a long career in the arts and enjoy every part of it, you begin to realize it’s exciting to see it unfold in the unique way that it’s meant to for you. And that the journey is the best part of it all not the destination. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world for my job, take on multiple roles and work in all areas of my industry – tv, film, live theatre, choreography, directing, and instructing. As a performer I’ve been lucky to have opportunities to expand my skillset, like getting deep sea scuba certified and working as an aqua dancer in a water show or acquiring the strength and knowledge to perform as an aerialist on multiple aerial apparatuses. And in several instances, I’ve started out as performer with a company, and then later worked as a choreographer or director for them. Almost every opportunity I’ve had however, I could never have foreseen. So I’ve learned to trust the process more, especially during down times in my career. I’ve grown to be excited about the possibilities that lay ahead, even if I have no idea what they are yet.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
If someone came to visit me in Miami I would definitely take them to Wynwood. To me, Wynwood has two completely different vibes. The daytime is all about the local artists, whether it be the current art at wynwood walls, the delicious one of a kind restaurants, or the unique apparel you’ll find in the small shops along the way. But at night, the area comes alive in a completely different way! The vibrant interactions between people, the breweries and small bars with great atmosphere and delicious cocktails, and the sound of the live music that pulls you into each venue as you walk by. In my opinion, this is a very unique Miami experience. But of course, I would also take them to one of the many beautiful beaches along the coastline of Miami. You can’t beat that tropical blue water!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
There are so many people that have been a part of my journey. But those that have inspired me the most and contributed to my success, are the people that believed in me and pushed me to work harder, give more, and continuously grow as an artist. To name a few: my teachers growing up at the Coast Academy of Dance in Sechelt, BC Canada. My mentors at Harbour Dance Center and the Source Dance Company in Vancouver, BC. All of my fellow peers in every professional setting that inspired me with their artistry. And most recently, my Royal Caribbean Family in Miami, Florida – who continue to provide me with opportunities to grow firstly a performer, and now as an instructor, director and creator. On a personal level, I also have to mention my support system: my family, my husband and my closest friends, who have been there since day one. Without their continued support, I wouldn’t have had the courage and strength to pursue what lights me up most and ultimately achieve a career in the arts.
Laura Zeke Photography