Author Archives: Missy Pfohl Smith

BIODANCE at Home – On-Demand Virtual Show – Tickets on sale now until Sept. 26

In our first-ever virtual show as part of the Rochester Virtual Fringe Festival, BIODANCE will present two premiere dances created for the camera, as well as our 2010 screendance “Thou Hast Trespast” and an excerpt from our acclaimed 2018 Fringe show, “Aria.” Tickets are only $5, and we will join you in your own home, anywhere in the world, to share the work of the collaborative and diverse BIODANCE artists! Your purchase of a ticket with support our artists during this challenging time for the performing arts. We are excited to share our work with you, bringing the outdoors in, and bringing the arts home.

Click link below to purchase!

https://www.rochesterfringe.com/tickets-and-shows/biodance-at-home

Join us for collaborative dance and art in this collection of video shorts by the artists that have brought you sold-out shows year after year at the Fringe! Premiering a new work with poetry by Lauren K. Alleyne, media by W. Michelle Harris and direction/choreography by Missy Pfohl Smith, with an additional premiere by Natalia Lisina, the cast includes:

Alex Alletto

Rose Pasquarello Beauchamp

Zachary Frazee

Natalia Lisina

Nanako Horikawa Mandrino

Alaina Olivieri

Laura Regna

Wynton Rice

Jean Michael Rubingu

Caitlyn Schrader

Missy Pfohl Smith

Donetta Tchoroleev

Stuart Tsubota

Cadence Whittier

Courtney World

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                 September 8, 2020

MEDIA CONTACT: Missy Pfohl Smith

Email: [email protected]

Phone: 585-201-1002

www.biodance.org

“BIODANCE at Home” Virtual Fringe 2020

Choreographer/director Missy Pfohl Smith and media artist W. Michelle Harris join with 

poet Lauren K. Alleyne to create a stunning new video as part of this 

first-ever virtual BIODANCE show. 

ROCHESTER, NY— The artistic duo that has brought sold-out shows to Rochester Fringe Festival year after year creates their first-ever virtual show. BIODANCE choreographer/artistic director Missy Pfohl Smith, media artist W. Michelle Harris and poet Lauren K. Alleyne, will premiere an onscreen dance for the 2020 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival, captured on video by Pfohl Smith during quarantine this past June. Viewers will also enjoy an excerpt from the stunning and renowned 2018 Fringe hit Aria, as well as an earlier BIODANCE short film Thou Hast Trespast (2010), a zany outdoor adventure featuring some of the original company members. BIODANCE member Natalia Lisina will premiere an all-new video dance short as well entitled Lullaby.

The featured premiere was filmed on-location in a forgotten sculpture forest (exact location undisclosed), inspired by the site and by the heart-jabbing poetry of Lauren K. Alleyne. Alleyne of Trinidad and Tabago, and Pfohl Smith met in 2006, when they first began experimenting with joining poetry and dance through an interdisciplinary workshop. “Since we first met, Lauren has gone on to publish award winning collections of her activist poetry that cuts right through you as a reader and witness to injustice” shares Pfohl Smith. “I was eager to introduce W. Michelle Harris to Laurena and her work, and to collaborate together.” Alleyne’s voiceover of her poem Red Pilgrimage provides a soundscape for this work that thoughtfully grieves and beautifully hopes for a world where we can exist together in harmony without hate, without violence and without fear.  

BIODANCE is known for its innovative multi-media performances, notably those in collaboration with media artist W. Michelle Harris. Creating three distinct evening length works designed for Rochester Museum and Science Center’s 4-story Strasenburgh Planetarium, BIODANCE now ventures into the virtual realm of art-making for the first time, keeping its dancers and multi-disciplinary artists in the creative process, and broadening its reach to homes all over the world. Although 2020 has presented an unprecedented challenge for the performing arts, BIODANCE has always welcomed experimental forms of art and is thrilled to be part of Rochester’s first Virtual Fringe. 

Tickets are $5, on sale at https://www.rochesterfringe.com/tickets-and-shows/biodance-at-home and can be purchased now through Sept. 26.  Once purchased, the show can be viewed anytime between Sept. 15 and October 10, 2020. BIODANCE invites comments and questions for the artists, who will respond on our Facebook and Instagram pages. 

Website: www.biodance.org

Phone: (585) 201-1002

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BIODANCE1/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/biodance1/

Vimeo: https://vimeo.com/biodance

YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BIODANCEChannel

NOTE TO MEDIA: Interviews and photos are available upon request.

BIODANCE is a non-profit contemporary dance company founded in 2002 that collaborates with multi-disciplinary artists and is the only true repertory company in Rochester, performing work by a roster of recognized choreographers including Missy Pfohl Smith, Bill Evans, Randy James, Ivy Baldwin, Heidi Latsky, Jeanne Schickler Compisi, D. Chase Angier, Laura Regna and Courtney World. BIODANCE explores social, political, and environmental issues through its works and has sold out numerous shows at the Rochester Fringe Festival.  BIODANCE interacts with and outreaches to its community members and across the country in a variety of ways through performances, workshops, benefit concerts, interactive lecture-demonstrations and classes at venues such as Geva’s Nextstage, Hochstein Concert Hall, the Strasenburgh Planetarium, MUCCC and more. Over the past ten years, BIODANCE has been providing free dance and movement workshops to the Senior Center at Community Place of Greater Rochester. Recent collaborators have included the musical artists of Sound ExChange, digital media artist W. Michelle Harris, visual artist Allen C. Topolski, and the leading choral/orchestral ensemble Rochester Oratorio Society. City News chose BIODANCE two years in a row for a Best of Fringe Award in the Rochester Fringe Festival. Missy earned her MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and her BS from SUNY Brockport. 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

Missy Pfohl Smith (Artistic Director/Choreographer, performer and collaborative artist) directs the Institute for the Performing Arts and the Program of Dance and Movement at University of Rochester and is artistic director for the contemporary repertory company, BIODANCE, based in Rochester, NY. Her work has continually sold out shows at Rochester Fringe, having been called “Gorgeous…astonishing…exceptional” and “a brilliantly crafted world of beauty, melody and calmness” by Rochester City News. 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 another sold-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 another in 2019 titled The Fragile Corridor, playing to thousands of audience members and critical acclaim. Her choreography, performance and teaching has spanned across the US and internationally, most recently in Berlin, Greece, Finland and Scotland. Smith also made her debut at the Edinburgh Fringe in August 2017 with collaborator and violist Bridget Kinneary to sold out houses. She is certified in Bill Evans Laban/Bartenieff-based pedagogy and also teaches choreography, dance on camera and contemporary dance and social justice. Before returning to Rochester in 2004, Smith was based in NYC for 12 years and performed and taught internationally with Randy James Dance Works and Paul Mosley, as well as apprenticing for the Erick Hawkins Dance Company.

W. Michelle Harris (Media Artist) is an associate professor teaching New Media Interactive Development at Rochester Institute of Technology. She is also a member of Rochester’s WOC Art Collaborative. 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, the Baobab Cultural Center, Community Folk Art Center, Schwienfurth Memorial, and Squeaky Wheel. She has done live-mixed visuals 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 BIODANCE since 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). 

Lauren K. Alleyne (poet) hails from the twin island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Her fiction, poetry and non-fiction have been widely published in journals and anthologies, including The Atlantic, Ms. Muse, Women’s Studies Quarterly, Interviewing the Caribbean, Crab Orchard Review, among many others. She is author of Difficult Fruit (Peepal Tree Press, 2014) and Honeyfish (New Issues (US) & Peepal Tree (UK), 2019). Her work has been awarded many honors, most recently, the Phillip Freund Alumni Prize for Excellence in Publishing from Cornell University (2017), the Green Rose Prize from New Issues Press (2017), the Split This Rock Poetry Prize (2016), the Picador Guest Professorship in Literature at the University of Leipzig, Germany (2015), and an Iowa Arts Council Fellowship (2014). In 2015, the journal IthacaLit named its annual prize the Lauren K. Alleyne/Difficult Fruit Poetry Prize. Alleyne currently resides in Virginia, USA, where she is an Associate Professor of English at James Madison University, Assistant Director of the Furious Flower Poetry Center and Editor-in-Chief of The Fight & The Fiddle.

Natalia Lisina was born in Kazan, Russia. She received her bachelor’s degree in dance at Kazan State University of Culture and the Arts (2004 – 2009). In addition to the American Dance Festival, with a subsequent performance at the Joyce SoHo in New York, Natalia has participated in training workshops and festivals internationally (Paris, Moscow, Vilnius). Natalia continued her dance education at North Karelia College, in Outokumpu, Finland, subsequently spending a year in the United States in an intensive English program. In 2014 Natalia completed the Professional Training Program at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre, working with teachers and choreographers such as Johanna Bergfelt, Susanna Hood, Patricia Miner, Sharon B. Moore, Darryl Tracy, and others, receiving the Kathryn Ash Scholarship during her final year. A post-graduation solo was created on her by choreographer Sharon B. Moore. In 2014-2015 she danced as a member of the chamber ballet Panther, in Kazan, Russia, under artistic director Nail Ibragimov. Currently she is working as a dance teacher in the Russian Centre “Sunshine,” is pursuing her MFA at The College at Brockport, and is a member of BIODANCE in Rochester, NY, USA. Natalia first began working with BIODANCE in 2012 during the creation of No Dancing Allowed under the direction of Missy Pfohl Smith.  She returned to the company after completing the professional training program at Toronto Dance Theatre in 2014.

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Dances, Distance and Dusk

How can we create dance while maintaining social distance? How can we bring dance outside of the theatre? Dances, Distance, & Dusk is a socially distant, in person, dance experience. Dance Artists have been challenged by creating art during a pandemic. BIODANCE is responding by creating a new work for eight dancers, inspired by the poet Lauren K. Alleyne and choreographed by Missy Pfohl Smith. Dancers maintain space from one another while still being able to dance together. Viewers are able to witness dance, while also practicing necessary safety measures. This includes masks, social distancing, & minimal surface contact. The audience will be seated in “pods” containing only members of one’s household. Pods will be placed at least 12 feet from each other.

ADDED SHOW ON JULY 31 at 6pm!

Due to covid restrictions, we can only allow a small crowd. RSVP here:
https://forms.gle/r84tBbzt6u51JU3q7

THINGS TO BRING:
1. Masks
2. Blankets
3. Phones for Virtual Playbills
4. Water

Dances Distance & Dusk is being held outdoors on the back lawn of the Memorial Art Gallery and is created in collaboration with:
Ethan Isaac Beckwith-Cohen//Sacathenia Dance Theatre, Loo Rich, MaryLee Miller, Casie McManus, Grace Myers, Gabrielle Samuel, Katherine Marino, Zanyla A. Penn, Solange Rodrigues, Neyda Colon-DiMaria, Janalyce Lane, Missy Pfohl Smith//BIODANCE, Zachary Frazee//Frazee Feet Dance, Laurie MacFarlane, Claire Spenard, & More! Dances Distance & Dusk is free with a suggested $10 donation. All money raised will be donated to The MOCHA Center: A community center specializing in the well-being of LGBTQ+ communities of color. (https://mochacenter.org)

SCHEDULE:
6pm – Seating Begins
6:10- Live music by local artists
6:20 – Dance performances
7:45 – Improv Jam

Photo by Bryant Mercedes 

This BIODANCE project is supported by a decentralization grant, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts, with support from Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature, administered by the Genesee Valley Council on the Arts and Livingston Arts, a member-supported organization.

Covid-19 Statement

BIODANCE is committed to the safety of the dancers, collaborative artists, theatre staff and audiences. We will not rehearse or perform in person if it compromises the health and safety of the artists and/or the public. We are currently developing quarantined ways to create, continue and share our work. Please visit us on social media (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BIODANCE1/) [Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/missypfohlsmith/ and #biodance1 and #b1odance] for updates.

Stay safe, stay home, keep moving, enjoy nature and your families, and be well!

Dances at MUCCC

BIODANCE is currently slated to provide a full evening of its original dances as part of the Dances at MUCCC Dance Festival, re-scheduled for July 22, 2020 at Multi-Use Community Cultural Center, 142 Atlantic Avenue, Rochester, NY. HOWEVER, we are committed to the safety of the dancers, artists, theatre staff and audiences. We will not perform in person if it compromises the health and safety of the artists and the public. We are currently developing quarantined ways to create, continue and share our work.

Please visit us on social media (Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BIODANCE1/) [Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/missypfohlsmith/ and #biodance1 and #b1odance] for updates.

“And Then We Danced” 4/8/20 Discussion Panel

Join ImageOut and The Little for a discussion of the beautiful, romantic film “And Then We Danced,” now screening at The Virtual Little: https://www.musicboxfilms.com/thelittle-streamlocal/

The discussion will be streamed though The Little Theatre Facebook page.

Discussion panelists are:
Michael Gamilla (ImageOut)
Thomas Warfield (NTID Dance)
Missy Pfohl Smith (UR Dance/BIODANCE)
Moderator: Matt DeTurck (The Little)

Trailer: thelittle.org/films/and-then-we-danced

Bridge to Paradise Feb. 27 and March 1

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.

For more information, visit www.biodance.org,
https://mag.rochester.edu/exhibitions/the-path-to-paradise-judith-schaechters-stained-glass-art/
and/or http://www.judithschaechter.com
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Activism and 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!

Frameless Symposium at Rochester Institute of Technology

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.

Rehearsal of The Fragile Corridor reprise at RIT

“Something Olde”, Cordancia and BIODANCE, Nov 10th, 2:30pm

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.

Tickets $20 ($15 student/senior) available online and at the door
www.cordancia.org/tickets