Bridging poetic dance, art, media and nature – safely at home!
Experience BIODANCE at Home from your own living room, backyard, or any comfortable spot from ANYWHERE IN THE WORLD!
Selling out live shows at Edinburgh and Rochester Fringe, Rochester, NY-based multi-disciplinary dance company BIODANCE makes its Cincy debut with this virtual show that brings the outdoors in! Join dancers, musicians, a poet and a media artist for this collection of dances shot in gorgeous settings both natural and conceived. 31 minutes of escape!
Purchase your $15 Love Your Artist Ticket, or $10 Regular Ticket here: https://cincyfringe.com/biodance-at-home/
BIODANCE appears in the 20th Anniversary Season of DUMBO Dance Festival (Virtual 2021) in Program 5 on June 12 at 6pm.
Tickets are $15 and can be purchased at https://www.whitewavedance.org
A private Live Stream video link will be forwarded to you 1 hour before the start time, and you will have 5 hours to watch the full performance at your own leisure.
BIODANCE will be sharing a new 2021 edit of “Pilgrimage,” created during the Pandemic in 2020, choreographed and directed by Missy Pfohl Smith, with video effects by W. Michelle Harris, poetry by Lauren K. Alleyne, and music by Michael Wall.
EDIT March 6, 2021: Due to unforeseen circumstances, we have had to make a difficult financial choice to end our participation in Adelaide Fringe a bit early. We are grateful to have brought our work to this amazing venue. If you were hoping to see it or have any questions, please contact us at [email protected]! We are happy to share our work directly with you.
“BIODANCE at Home” Adelaide Fringe 2021Choreographer/director Missy Pfohl Smith, media artist W. Michelle Harris and poet Lauren K. Alleyne collaborate to bring virtual BIODANCE show to Australian Fringe.
ROCHESTER, NY— The artistic duo that has brought sold-out shows to the Rochester Fringe Festival year after year is going international! This past September, BIODANCE choreographer/artistic director Missy Pfohl Smith, media artist W. Michelle Harris, and poet Lauren K. Alleyne of Trinidad and Tobago, premiered an onscreen dance for the 2020 KeyBank Rochester Fringe Festival. Success in Rochester inspired BIODANCE to bring the show to the international (virtual) stage through the 2021 annual Adelaide Fringe Festival. This virtual show will run daily from February 19 until March 28 accommodating audiences in all hemispheres. As in the Rochester premier, the presentation will include 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. Current BIODANCE member Natalia Lisina also contributes an original dance short entitled Lullaby.
The featured work “Pilgrimage” was created in 2020 during the pandemic, filmed on-location in a forgotten sculpture forest (exact location undisclosed), and inspired by the heart-jabbing poetry of Lauren K. Alleyne. In 2006, Alleyne and Pfohl Smith 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. “Bringing this art and performance to homes throughout the world is an honor, and one bit of silver lining in this worldwide pandemic.” 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 presented an unprecedented challenge for the performing arts, BIODANCE has always welcomed experimental forms of art and is thrilled to be part of the Adelaide Fringe.
Tickets are FREE plus a $2.70 AUD ($2.09 USD) processing fee that supports the Adelaide Fringe and can be reserved ed at https://adelaidefringe.com.au/…/biodance-at-home…. Choose any day between February 19th and March 28th to view the performance. Ticket Holders will have 48 hours from the date and time selected to utilize the link to the show. BIODANCE gratefully accepts donations through a link provided and invites comments and questions for the artists, who will respond on our Facebook and Instagram pages.
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. ###
Missy was excited to be able to participate as a choreographer in this year’s Artists Coalition for Change Together’s 2020 rendition of The Reckoning. Four October events in various locations with different multi-disciplinary artists came together with the intention of encouraging everyone to get out and vote! These are some low quality screenshots from the livestream. This piece is called “Toxic Sludge.” Created originally in 2018 to address toxicity in our waterways, this work is now adapted to address the mortal toxicity in the US government. Please get out and vote!
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!
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!
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!
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.
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.
““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.
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…”