We had the good fortune of connecting with Stephanie Sorosiak and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Stephanie, what led you to pursuing a creative path professionally?
Creativity has run parallel in my life since I was a child. Everything I surrounded myself with involved being creative and thinking with an open mind. I’m fortunate enough that my parents encouraged creativity, so it only made sense to me to pursue it as a career. I knew from my teenage years that I would do something artistic whether that be with dance or another field. Now at age 25 I am doing a multitude of things creative and it’s awesome! I follow my passions where monetary success has never been at the forefront. My happiness, and the happiness that resonates with others, comes first. If I can bring a smile to someone’s face from a sweet treat or move someone emotionally with dance, then I know I’ve done my “job”.
Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
My artistic life is in two parts that run alongside each other – my dance career and my baking. I began dancing at age three like many other children. It’s hard for me to remember the exact moment that I knew dance was “it” for me, but it just felt right. I tried multiple other sports and activities – soccer, tennis, horseback riding, swimming, sewing, visual art – and nothing stuck as much as dance does. The world of dance is a vast and challenging one, but there is something magical that happens when I get in front of an audience. It’s like my shy, quiet self dissipates and I become the most confident person. I had the privilege of attending a private all-girls boarding school with a strong performing arts program. There I met my “second mother”, also known as my modern dance teacher, and she is the one who pushed me to pursue dance in college. I got accepted into the Dance program at Hofstra University in New York where I stayed for three semesters. Unfortunately that school wasn’t the best fit so I transferred to Arizona State University/Herberger Institute in January 2015 to complete my bachelor of fine art’s degree in Dance. I graduated magna cum laude in 2018 with a BFA in Dance and minor in Psychology. I cherished my time in school; I met incredible artists, worked on some amazing projects, and discovered that my career path is not a linear one. I have an open mind to lots of possible fields, which makes it hard for me to settle on just one job! I have worked in administrative roles and artistic ones. I’m currently the company manager and dancer with Kraken Still & Film, a contemporary dance company based out of Phoenix. We are an interdisciplinary company that creates work for stage, film, galleries, and public installations. I’m so grateful to have found a group of artists out of school that support one another and am excited to see where this current journey takes me. Now on the other side of things is baking. Being in the kitchen has always been integrated in my daily life. Whenever I wasn’t at dance rehearsal I was in the kitchen! Much like dance I don’t remember the exact moment when I knew that baking brought me joy, but I’m sure my mother can attest to my love for it based on how many dirty dishes I created. Food is it’s own creative outlet. It not only allows me to create beautiful food, but for me to share it with people I love. Unlike dance, I do not have a degree to prove for it, but I have 15+ years of being in a kitchen and experimenting. I absorb every piece of knowledge I can get from the culinary world. I decided that I wanted to turn my hobby into a business in the middle of the 2020 pandemic. It may not have been the “best” time, but I knew I had to try. I currently run a custom order shop, Sweets by Stephanie, out of my home where I make cakes, cupcakes, and other various treats for friends and family. I also focus on allergen friendly orders such as vegan and gluten free so everyone can enjoy my sweets. My Instagram page, although newly created, showcases my baking creations and (hopefully) brings a little more joy to those around me. My dream is to run my own professional kitchen where I can bake and create whenever I please. Both the dance and culinary worlds are not easy ones. I’ve experienced challenges in every aspect, from people questioning my ability, to society deeming my career as irrelevant. Each step of the way has had it’s own setbacks, but what continues to push me through is my passion for it. I would simply not be doing any of this if I didn’t love it! I’ve learned to keep trekking onward. When it gets tough you have to keep going. I want the world to know that artists deserve not only recognition but appreciation. You don’t want to live in a society without art!
Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
One of the best parts of Arizona is the outdoors. There are some incredible areas to explore! I would show them the local beauties like Camelback Mountain, Saguaro Lake, and the McDowell Mountains, and do a couple day trips to Flagstaff, Prescott, and of course the Grand Canyon! I love showing off what this beautiful state has to offer. There are so many amazing restaurants in Arizona that it’s hard to pick a few. I’d have to show them breweries and bars like Goldwater Brewery, Superstition Meadery, Angel’s Trumpet, Sleepy Wale, and Melinda’s Alley. Some of my favorite restaurants are Cornish Pasty, The Perch, Breadfruit & Rum Bar, The Mission, and Zu Izakaya sushi bar. I like to support local art whenever possible, so we could see a show at Valley Bar or the Van Buren, or see if there are any pop-up dance/theater performances. We could walk through the Phoenix Art Museum and see a performance at Ballet Arizona. Arizona has such a dense list of things to do, it’s hard to settle on a handful!
The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
My mother! She has always been my biggest fan and supporter. (Is it lame to still dedicate things to your mom in your 20’s?) But in all seriousness, my mom is the foundation of my personal and social success. She has stood by my side through everything and encouraged me to “just go for it”. There is never a challenge too far to reach; she just wants to see me aim for the stars. Obviously there are plenty of other people who have influenced my artistic career throughout the years, like my high school modern dance teacher, my peers in college, and my current dance company partner. But my mom has been with me since the beginning. She drove me to all my dance classes, bought my leotards and pointe shoes, and attends all my shows (virtually or in person). And now with my baking business, she is helping me promote myself, buys me kitchen gadgets, and sends me encouraging texts whenever she can. I love my mom; she deserves so much credit!
Facebook: Sweets by Stephanie AZ
Dance photos (staircase and church door) – Kraken Still & Film
(levitating and window) – Justin Villalobos