In Bridge to Paradise, BIODANCE reflects on the magnificent and haunting stained glass work or Judith Schaechter. In two free performances directed by dance artist Missy Pfohl Smith in collaboration with digital media artist W. Michelle Harris, composer Peiyao Wang and costume designer Jennifer Rubens, performers Megan May, Alaina Olivieri, Sarah Johnson, Jean Michael Rubingu, Donetta Tchoroleev and Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp will create a movement installation for two performances:
Thursday, Feb. 27 at 7pm Sunday, March 1 at 2pm M&T Bank Ballroom, Memorial Art Gallery Free and open to the public!
With visual elements inspired by the 40 work visiting stained glass exhibit by artist Judith Schaechter, this immersive, hour long experience invites viewers into a dark world of paradoxical paradises. A commissioned score will be performed by Eastman musicians. This multi-disciplinary work is supported by the Memorial Art Gallery and the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Genesee Valley Council on the Arts.
Missy Pfohl Smith moderated a panel of some of the most inspiring artist activists in Rochester including Mara Ahmed, Calvin Eaton, Reenah Oshun Golden, Amanda Rampe and Carl Wager on Jan. 30, 2020. Free and open to the public, this event was presented by the University of Rochester’s Greene Center!
BIODANCE shared a very special performance on January 16, 2019 for Rammerman Leadership Group, with generous and amazing participants, poetry and dance. We shared an excerpt from Aria choreographed by Missy Pfohl Smith and a solo choreographed and performed by Jean Michael Rubingu.
BIODANCE presented a concert version of The Fragile Corridor as part of RIT’s Frameless Symposium as the culminating event on Friday, Nov. 29, 2019 at the Magic Studios at 6:30pm. Featuring projected imagery by W. Michelle Harris, choreography and direction by Missy Pfohl Smith, this work was a reprise from the sold-out concerts with Michael Burritt and the Eastman Percussion Ensemble during the Rochester Fringe Festival 2019. Performers included Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp, Hettie Barnhill, Zach Frazee, W, Michell Harris, Sarah Johnson, Natalia Lisina, Julie Schlafer Rossette, Jean Michael Rubingu and Missy Pfohl Smith.
Join us as we perform with Rochester’s own Cordancia Chamber Orchestra, celebrating their 10-year anniversary. BIODANCE will be featured in Cordancia’s performance of Milhaud’s “La Création du Monde.” The program also features composer anniversaries and includes “Dreams” by George Antheil, “The Sleepers” by David Liptak with soprano soloist Tyler Cassidy-Heacock, and “Champagne Galop” by H. C. Lumbye. This performance took place at the Memorial Art Gallery Ballroom, with a second performance at Hochstein Recital Hall.
In collaboration with the Institute for the Performing Arts, the Institute for Music Leadership, and the Program of Dance and Movement, The Arts in Mind Project will host a symposium on “Humpback Whales and Their Extraordinary Mystery of Song,” on November 3, from noon to 5 p.m. at Hatch Recital Hall, Eastman School of Music. The symposium will explore ecology and threats to our environment, social behavior to art images, and behavior of humpbacks and their musical communications. Speakers include National Geographic photographer Flip Nicklin and marine biologist Jim Darling. There will be a performance of the piece “Unsoftly, to the Night” composed by Matt Curlee at the Eastman School of Music, and accompanied performances from BIODANCE and faculty and students from the Program of Dance and Movement. Event is free with light reception to follow. For more information, click here!
Zach and Missy are performing “Thwack Boom” in Ithaca at CRS Barn this coming weekend, be sung live by Steve Stull! Join us and our wonderful friends/hosts Jeanne Goddard and Steve Stull for Moving Landscapes!
We had a blast performing at the Rochester Museum & Science Center as part of the RMSC After Dark Event: Galactic Get Down, which featured more than 200 interactive exhibits! Check out our awesome photo from the night!
Special free performance coming up next Tuesday, July 30 at 6pm! Join BIODANCE and the Rochester Philharmonic Orchestra Partnering with the City of Rochester in collaboration with the Joseph Avenue Arts and Cultural Alliance. This outdoor concert boasts the highest attendance of any of the seven Around the Town concerts! Audiences will delight in this electrifying performance of multiple percussionists and marimbas on stage, played by some of the world’s leading musicians from our local award-winning orchestra, followed by the astonishing dancers of BIODANCE, who will share recent choreography and a sneak peek into their upcoming Fringe show at the Strasenburgh Planetarium, “The Fragile Corridor!” The performance will take place at the corner of Joseph and Clifford Avenues. Free outdoor picnic to follow.
BIODANCE/Missy Pfohl Smith, W. Michelle Harris and Michael Burritt and the Eastman Percussion Ensemble Premiere All-New Show
“The Fragile Corridor” at Rochester Museum and Science Center’s
ROCHESTER, NY— Choreographer Missy Pfohl Smith, director of BIODANCE, and media artist W. Michelle Harris return to the Rochester Museum & Science Center’s newly renovated Strasenburgh Planetarium for an all new work, “The Fragile Corridor,” created for the 2019 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. The same artistic collaboration who produced the sold-out phenomenons “Anomaly” and “Labyrinth” presented at the Planetarium as part of the Fringe Festival in 2013, 2016 and 2017, will be joined by one of the world’s leading percussion soloists and director of the Eastman Percussion Ensemble, Michael Burritt. The “Fragile Corridor” is not your typical dance or music concert, nor is it your typical visit to the planetarium, it is something entirely new, imaginative, and immersive.
“Missy and Michelle consider the Planetarium environment with fresh eyes and ears and create work that makes the Star Theater’s unique capabilities an integral part of the artistic product,” says Steve Fentress, Planetarium Director at RMSC. “An innovative and highly professional production like this keeps Rochester’s Planetarium on the cutting edge. We are proud to be a part of this new creation.”
Missy Pfohl Smith, who also directs the University of Rochester’s Institute for the Performing Arts and Program of Dance and Movement, W. Michelle Harris, an Associate Professor of Interactive Games and Media at Rochester Institute for Technology, are no strangers to large scale multi-media collaborations in The Fringe. Their 2018 Fringe premiere was called “an absolute masterpiece” by Rochester City News. With live music from Michael Burritt and the Eastman Percussion Ensemble, dance by the performers of BIODANCE and technology from both Harris and the new capabilities of the Star Theater at the Strasenburgh Planetarium, “The Fragile Corridor” will mesmerize, energize and delight audiences.
BIODANCE Social Media: facebook.com/BIODANCE1 and Twitter: @BIODANCE1
NOTE TO MEDIA: Interviews and photos are available upon request.
BIODANCEis a Rochester-based repertory dance company under the direction of Missy Pfohl Smith, who also directs the University of Rochester Institute for the Performing Arts and the Program of Dance and Movement. BIODANCE collaborates with multi-disciplinary artists, such as W. Michelle Harris, an Associate Professor in Interactive Games and Media at RIT. BIODANCE made their debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2017 to sold out houses, and has shared its work nationally and internationally. Visit Biodance.org and connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Vimeo and Instagram.
Missy Pfohl Smith(Artistic Director/Choreographer/Performer) is the founder and Artistic Director of BIODANCE, a non-profit contemporary dance company based in Rochester, and the Director of the University of Rochester Institute for the Performing Arts and the Program of Dance and Movement. Smith enjoys collaborating with multi-disciplinary artists in music, visual art, sculpture, film and technology. She was selected for City News’ “The Rochester 10: Rochesterians doing great things behind the scenes” in 2015. BIODANCE’s Anomaly, in collaboration with Sound ExChange and media artist W. Michelle Harris at the Strasenburgh Planetarium, won a 2013 Best of Fringe Festival award for Best Use of Venue and enjoyed anothersold-out run in 2016. To follow up, Smith and Harris co-conceived a new work for the Planetarium in 2017 titled Labyrinth, which sold out 4 shows and nearly the fifth, playing to over 1000 audience members and critical acclaim. Based in NYC for 12 years, Smith performed and toured with Randy James Dance Works as a founding company member from 1993-2003, with Paul Mosley from 1997-2004, and with Philippa Kaye Company. She also worked as an apprentice for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company. Missy has performed and taught across the U.S. and in Greece, Finland, Poland, Germany, Estonia, Latvia & Japan. Missy earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and her BS from SUNY Brockport and she has recently developed various new courses including one called Choreographic Voice: Dance and Social Justice in the UR Program of Dance. She has received various grants from The New York State Council on the Arts and the New York State Legislature, administered by the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester and Livingston Arts, a member supported organization. Smith and/or BIODANCE have also received support from The Max and Marian Farash Foundation, the Rochester Community Foundation, Hobart and William Smith Colleges’ Center for Teaching and Learning, among others. www.biodance.org
W. Michelle Harris(Media Artist) is a media artist and aNew Mediaprofessor at Rochester Institute of Technology. She is also a member of Rochester’s WOC Art Collective. Her video installation work (solo and collaborative) has been shown at such diverse venues as the ACM SIGGRAPH, World Maker Faire, and INST-INT, as well as regional venues such as Gallery 74, Community Folk Art Center, Schwienfurth Memorial, and Squeaky Wheel. She has done live-mixedvisuals for performances in collaboration with Juanita Suarez, fivebyfive, Dave Rivello,Reenah Golden, Sound ExChange orchestra, and most prolifically, BIODANCE. Michelle has been an ongoing collaborator with Missy Pfohl Smith and BIODANCEsince 2013. She received her BS from Carnegie Mellon University, and a MPS from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts (where she had the honor of interning with Troika Ranch).
Michael Burrittis one of the World’s leading percussion soloists, having performed on four continents and more than forty states. He is in frequent demand performing concert tours and master classes throughout the United States, Europe, Asia, Australia and Canada. Burritt has been soloist with the United States Air Force Band, Dallas Wind Symphony, Omaha Symphony, Chautauqua Symphony Orchestra, Richmond Symphony Orchestra, Ju Percussion Group (Taiwan), Percussion Art Quartet (Germany), Amores Percussion Group (Spain), Nexus and the Third Coast Percussion. Mr. Burritt has three solo as well as numerous chamber recordings. In 2006 he recorded the Joseph Schwantner Percussion Concerto with the Calgary Wind Ensemble on the Albany label and is soon to release a new recording of solo and chamber works by Alejandro Viñao. Burritt released a recording project with the world renown percussion group Nexus titled Home featuring his new work Home Trilogy, commissioned by the group. He has been a featured artist at nine Percussive Arts Society International Conventions. In 1992 he presented his New York solo debut in Weill Hall at Carnegie Hall and in 1998 performed his London debut in the Purcell Room at Queen Elizabeth Hall. Burritt has extensive chamber and orchestral experience and has performed with the Chicago Chamber Musicians, The Chicago Symphony, Nexus, Third Coast Percussion and the The Peninsula Music Festival Orchestra. Burritt is also active as a composer, with three concertos to his credit as well as numerous solo and chamber works for marimba and percussion. His works for solo marimba have become standard repertoire for the instrument and are frequently required repertoire on international competitions. Commissions include The World Marimba Competition in Stuttgart Germany, The Paris International Marimba Competition, Nexus and the Paris Percussion Group. Mr. Burritt is published with Keyboard Percussion Publications, C. Allen, Masters Music and Innovative Percussion. Burritt is also an artist/clinician and product design/consultant for Malletech, where he has developed his own line of marimba mallets and the MJB Signature Marimba. He is an artist / educational clinician with the Zildjian Company and Evans Drum Heads and Yamaha Drums. Mr. Burritt is the President Elect of Percussive Arts Society, was a member of the Board of Directors from 1996 – 2008, a contributing editor for Percussive Notes Magazine from 1991 – 2006 and was chairman of the PAS Keyboard Committee from 2004 – 2010. Burritt is currently Professor of Percussion and head of the department at The Eastman School of Music where is only the third person in the history of the school to hold this position. Prior to his appointment at Eastman, Burritt was Professor of Percussion at Northwestern University from 1995-2008 where he developed a program of international distinction. Burritt received his Bachelor and Master of Music Degrees, as well as the prestigious Performers Certificate from the Eastman School of Music in Rochester, New York.
Rochester Museum & Science Center (RMSC) includes the Science Museum, Strasenburgh Planetarium and Cumming Nature Center. Offering experiences at the Museum with more than 200 interactive exhibits, a newly renovated Planetarium with a 65-foot dome and Nature Center on 900 acres, the RMSC stimulates community interest in exploration. In addition, the more than 1.2 million RMSC collection items tell the story of Rochester’s past including its rich history of innovation and invention. RMSC receives major funding from Monroe County, where it is one of the top three most visited attractions serving children and families. For more information about RMSC, visit RMSC.org. Connect with us on Facebook, Twitter, YouTubeand Instagram.