News

Arts in Mind Symposium, Hatch Hall, Nov 3rd, 12p-5p

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!

Galactic Get Down, July 26th, 8pm

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!

Sometimes we make serious art, but other times we play!

the fragile corridor – Rochester Fringe 9/19-21, 2019

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:                                          

June 17, 2019

MEDIA CONTACT: Missy Pfohl Smith

 Email:[email protected]

Phone: 585-201-1002

www.biodance.org

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 

Strasenburgh Planetarium

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.  

There will be only four performances with limited seating of “The Fragile Corridor,” Thursday, September 19 through Saturday, September 21 at 6:30pm, and Saturday, September 21 at 3pm. Tickets are $18, available at http://rochesterfringe.com/tickets-and-shows/thefragilecorridor

BIODANCE website: www.biodance.org, Phone: (585)-201-1002

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.

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New work premieres in Glendale, AZ

Missy Pfohl Smith created a new work in collaboration with the dancers at Glendale Community College. In a concert series entitled HUMAN on April 26-28, 2019, Smith’s Assumptions, Assertions, Ascensions premiered in Glendale, Arizona, performed by members of Verve Dance Company.

Photos by Nathan Pallace.

City News Reviews Aria

““Aria” opened on Sunday to a nearly full audience. This year’s iteration of what’s come to be an annual collaboration between BIODANCE choreographer Missy Pfohl Smith and digital media artist W. Michelle Harris, every bit of the performance was an absolute masterpiece. This year the collaborators were joined by soprano Kearstin Piper Brown and chamber ensemble fivebyfive, as well as several guest dancers. 

As in previous Fringe performances, a subtle prelude was performed while the audience settled in, featuring dancers moving almost trance-like about the space. This time, one white-clad performer perched in each of the tall stained glass windows, while all along the front pews BIODANCE members in rosy crimson satin and linen shifted slowly between holding graceful poses. 

RELATED ‘Labyrinth’ gives climate change a multi-sensory interpretation
RELATED Jake reviews ‘Anomaly’

The first piece, “Constant,” combined gentle music with almost martial arts-like movements where limbs became arrows, with shimmeringly vibrant projections and shadow play from the dancers falling against the stage’s gorgeous back wall.

The co-conceivers of this performance brilliantly puzzled together some seemingly disparate elements: Traditional opera, freeform interpretive dance, and Harris’s appropriately gentle-yet-turbulent digital media projections (that, by the way, never failed in making impressively clever use of the space’s unique quirks like the columns that frame the stage’s back wall). And each of the several times that Brown released the siren from her depths I forgot that I haven’t really cared about opera and just sat there, jaw dropped, entirely enthralled. 

My face started leaking during my favorite piece of the evening, “Parlour Games” — I have been waiting and waiting for something to crack me open during a particularly numb low I’ve been stuck in, and this did the trick. An absorbing red light fell on the dancers as they moved fluidly in time with urgent, flowing music. Their bodies became flames licking at the air, at once chaotic and restrained. All elegance, the work also seemed to convey a feeling of frustration in limitation, as though all of the wondrous world were set out for consuming, but just out of reach. As the music slowed and became both more deliberate and hesitant, each cautious piano note haltingly pounding and peeling out into the cavernous space, the dancers sped past one another in rapidly pivoting stops and starts. And then in resonant silence, they each made slow, sweeping, wonder-filled gestures skyward. 

In “Phantom Waltz,” Rose Paquarello Beauchamp and Nanako Horikawa Mandrino navigated the small stage and one other, while connected by a long red train that was tied around each of their waists. By turns, the draping fabric billowed and was tugged, formed shelter and swaddling. 

I sincerely hope there’s an opportunity for “Aria” to be presented in the coming year after Fringe closes…”

https://www.rochestercitynewspaper.com/rochester/rebecca-reviews-world-music-and-yoga-ballet-and-aria/Content?oid=8025452

ROC the Day for BIODANCE Nov. 27!

Happy Thanksgiving! This year’s #GivingTuesday is on November 27! Send some love our way this #ROCtheDay.  You can give any time here and 100% of your tax-deductible donation will go directly to BIODANCE!  Or you can give through ROCtheDay here and join 1000’s of community members supporting all of the not-for-profit organizations doing great work in the nine-county Greater Rochester area. ROCtheDay is a secure, 24 hour online giving platform, and on the odd hours during ROC the Day, one donor will be randomly selected to designate a gift of $500 to one organization of their choosing that will be in addition to their own contribution.  What a gift!

Please consider contributing to BIODANCE on #ROCtheDay on Tuesday, November 27.  And of course, we all really appreciate your generosity and support all year round!

With gratitude for our collaborators and audiences that keep us creating, dancing and innovating,

Missy and BIODANCE

 

 

Source of Light – VSW residency/First Friday Dec. 7

BIODANCE, fivebyfive and video artist Josh Thorson receive month-long artist residency at Visual Studies Workshop!

Residency will culminate in a public performance on First Friday, December 7

As a tribute to composer, vocalist, dancer, choreographer and filmmaker Meredith Monk, the quintet fivebyfive will pair up with artist Josh Thorson and choreographer Missy Pfohl Smith/BIODANCE to explore Monk’s music visually through movement and video. This collaboration will explore three mediums in which Monk herself actively works: music, film and choreography/dance.

Recognized as one of the most unique and influential artists of our time, Meredith Monk’s work thrives at weaving together new modes of perception. Accepting the Gish Prize, Monk said “art can be a healing force and a source of light during dark times.”

The project will combine music arranged for fivebyfive by the quintet’s bassist Eric Polenik, with visuals and movement that will be developed over the four-week residency, Nov. 5 – Dec. 8, 2018. The residency will culminate in a performance on December 7, 2018, and the group return to the collaborative work in future performances.

fivebyfive’s mission is to engage audiences in the collaborative spirit and creativity of modern chamber music by commissioning, arranging and performing a wide range of works for flute, clarinet, electric guitar, bass and piano.

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 Program of Dance and Movement. Smith enjoys collaborating with multi-disciplinary artists in music, visual art, sculpture, film and technology.

Josh Thorson is an artist, writer, and designer. In 2018, he will design the projections for a production of Oklahoma! at St Ann’s Warehouse in Brooklyn, and continue his collaboration on a new opera with composer Nick Hallett. Thorson is an Assistant Professor of Fine Art in the Photo School at RIT.

Source of Light by fivebyfive, Missy Pfohl Smith and Josh Thorson

ROC the Day for BIODANCE 11/28/17

ROC_banner_fb_2017On November 28, please consider ROCing the day for BIODANCE.

Make an online TAX-DEDUCTIBLE donation at:
www.biodance.org/contributions (proceeds go directly to BIODANCE without a service charge)
or at:
https://roctheday.org/Causes-to-Support/BIODANCE as part of a community-wide day of giving sponsored by the United Way.

All of us at BIODANCE truly appreciate your support. We would not be able to continue our work without it. 2018 is a big year for us as we celebrate our 12th Anniversary with “12 for 12” – 12 performances in the community celebrating 12 years of BIODANCE. THANK YOU FOR YOUR BELIEF IN OUR WORK!!

BIODANCE receives Decentralization Grant 2016

BIODANCE receives maximum award from Decentralization Community Arts Program in 2016 to continue its BIO/DANCE & Social Justice Series and its partnership with Community Place of Greater Rochester’s Senior Center! Thank you NYSCA, Governor Cuomo and Livingston Arts, a member supported organization, for supporting BIO/DANCE & Social Justice again!  We are honored to continue this work in our community.

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