BIODANCE at UR Diversity Conference

BIODANCE performed as plenary guest artists at University of Rochester’s “Creative Innovation: Building Synergy through the Arts, Sciences and Diversity” on November 13, 2015.  Sharing Smith’s choreography from the BIO/DANCE & Social Justice series, the company performed In/Difference at the Memorial Art Gallery at the Creative Innovation Performance and Reception.  Smith also served on a panel:  INVESTIGATE Breakout Session that examined methods for trans-disciplinary research and its connection to diversity with a panel of scholars led by AnnMarie White, EdD.


Compartmented at Lyric Theatre Dec. 4-5, 2015



Multimedia site-specific art happenings

Co-curated by Missy Pfohl Smith and Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge

At ‘The Sunday School’

Rochester Lyric Opera

440 East Avenue, Rochester, NY 14607

December 4 & 5, 2015, 6–9pm, $5 at the door

For images and souvenirs from the show, visit Compartmented’s Website:


Seventeen artists will occupy ‘The Sunday School’ located in the back of the Lyric Opera Theatre for two evenings of site-specific installations and performances in December. The audience will be invited to wander through a unique curiosity cabinet and explore the architectural structure transformed by the artists’ interventions. Independent artists and faculty from University of Rochester, RIT, Alfred University, Alfred State College and Hobart and William Smith Colleges were invited by the organizers/curators to imagine and present work in response to this fascinating space.

Missy Pfohl Smith happened upon the space when considering venues for The Fringe, and immediately thought it would make for fascinating site-specific art and performance. Smith contacted colleague Evelyne Leblanc-Roberge, suspecting she too would be inspired by the space. Smith says, “I was thrilled when Sue Cotroneo and Lyric Opera were willing to let us play in this curious space. Lyric Opera’s plans to renovate the space into a cabaret hall were scheduled to begin in January – I felt an urgency to give these fascinating vestiges from the former Christian Scientist Church one last life through art, dance and media.” Luckily, Evelyne wholeheartedly agreed, and the two invited multi-disciplinary artists from the region to explore and create in and for the space. Leblanc-Roberge writes, “One could see Bentham’s Panopticon, strange biblical reading rooms, a compartmented symmetrical cabaret, fascinating surfaces and corners, rounded walls, hypnotic wallpaper, one could hear the sound of a lost memory, imagine a dress as big as a room, a play of differences and repetitions, the smell and texture of a worn red carpet, typographic wonders of ancient blue prints, a place of worship, or perhaps a surveillance device.” The curators and the dozen artists involved in the project are curious to know, “What will you find here?”

This project would not be possible without the Rochester Lyric Theater, thank you!

BIODANCE performs in Past, Present, Future at UR

Past, present Future


BIODANCE shared two works from the BIO/DANCE & Social Justice Series on Oct. 11, 2015 in Spurrier Dance Theatre at University of Rochester.  In/Difference choreographed by Missy Pfohl Smith and (drowning) choreographed by Lev Earle were performed by Jeanne Schickler Compisi, Kathy Diehl, Lev Earle, Maureen Gorman, Alaina Olivieri, Laura Regna, Julie Schlafer Rossette, Missy Pfohl Smith, Stuart Tsubota and Kaitley Wozer.

UR Rush Rhees Library Performance Oct. 16

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On Friday, Oct. 16, there will be a FREE dance performance at Rush Rhees Library, Q&I Area, First Floor (inside the front/main entrance off the quad) at 12:00noon of BIO/DANCE & Social Justice. This performance will feature work by BIODANCE, students from DAN378 Choreographic Voice: Dance & Social Justice, and special guest artists.  Work will include (drowning) by Lev Earle, Lined Up for Injustice by Donna Davenport, In the Palm of Our Hands by Kelly Johnson,  Rickshaw-See-Saw by Allen C. Topolski, and more.  Join us!

This performance is made possible with support from Kinections and with funds from the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York State Legislature and administered by Livingston Arts, a member supported organization.

Please consider supporting this project and helping us match our grant by making a tax-deductible contribution online at this website through our Contributions page!


Juneteenth Social Justice Performance – June 19 at Community Place

On Friday, June 19, BIO/DANCE and Social Justice will be presented at Community Place of Greater Rochester (145 Parsells Ave., Rochester, NY) in a free, public performance at 12:30pm.  On this day, we commemorate Juneteenth, the ending of slavery in the United States.  But we also mourn on this day, the nine victims of the atrocious Charleston Church shooting – nine innocent African American citizens of our country.  While we struggle to understand how it is possible for this type of hate crime, and so many other losses where race, difference, religion and fear play a main role, to continue in 2015, we offer our work as a way to open a dialogue about these issues, as way to share the beauty of difference, and as a way to honor justice and equality and humanity.

SJS June 19

BIODANCE and Social Justice Starts May 29 Press Release 1

May 29 Monroe Community Hospital Performance

Join us on Friday, May 29 at Monroe Community Hospital for the first of the BIO/DANCE and Social Justice Series Performances. All of these shows are free and open to the public. Community engagement can take many forms. On May 29, your help is needed to bring hospital residents down from their rooms to the auditorium (and then back afterwards). If you are interested in attending and willing and able to push a wheelchair, please plan on arrive at 10am to help. The dances will reflect themes of social justice and equality, and this is one way to provide access to the arts for those who may not otherwise have the experience. Please rsvp for planning purposes to [email protected] Thank you for taking part and we look forward to beginning to share this work with you!

SJS Poster

BIODANCE previews Social Justice Series at NU Movement

On May 1st, BIODANCE previewed their BIO/DANCE & SOCIAL JUSTICE SERIES at NU Movement with presentations by Coalesce, Smon Cheewapansri, Donna Davenport, and Missy Pfohl Smith.

Lined Up for Injustice

Lined Up for Injustice, choreographed for BIODANCE by guest artist Donna Davenport

Lined up for Injustice

Lined Up for Injustice, choreographed for BIODANCE by guest artist Donna Davenport

Lined Up for Injustice

Lined Up for Injustice, choreographed for BIODANCE by guest artist Donna Davenport

BIODANCE reviews of Fringe 2014

Fringe 2014

“Casey reviews Biodance…” in City News

 | September 25, 2014, Click here for the live link, and see below for the text:

All of Rochester could have been lit by the energy Biodance exuded at GEVA’s Nextstage last night. The show reminded me of a collection of excellent short stories. Each unique piece vibrant and well-worked out — good enough to stand alone, but even better as a group.

Missy Pfohl Smith, Artistic Director of Biodance, seems to attract all kinds of dancers and choreographers from Rochester and beyond to contribute to her projects. Along with Smith, this one also includes choreography from Heidi Latksy, Bill Evans, Ivy Baldwin, Jeanne Schickler Compisi, Eran Hanlon, and Courtney World.

Several of the pieces — especially “Trapped at Tea,” choreographed by Compisi and Baldwin, and “Borderline,” choreographed by World — operated at almost frantic levels. The first featured Compisi and Smith at some sort of mad tea party. Enclosed in a stage-wide ring of plastic forks, spoons and knives, the two began next to each other sipping angrily out of tea cups. More dance theater than pure dance, the two began throwing cups, leaping onto the furniture, and, finally raining plastic utensils down at each other. Makes you wonder what’s supposed to be in that tea; I would have brought in a cup myself if I’d known. In any case, the choppy, truncated movement well-expressed a state of anxiety yet with plenty of humor thrown in.

“Borderline” was even more tumultuous. Performed by Laura M. Regna, I’m guessing the piece is about the horrific pushing and pulling you must experience if you have borderline personality disorder. Regna moved as if possessed, flailing her limbs and jerking backwards and forwards in a somewhat-marionette fashion. Regna is a lovely dancer and was able to maintain clean lines and a strong flow of movement in spite of the manic energy trying to control her.

“Coaptation” was different from any of Hanlon’s work I’ve seen so far. Faster and with more blatant outward energy, yet with a characteristic eerily beautiful quality, it featured dancers Compisi, Kathy Diehl, and Julie Schlafer Rossette as sweat-shirted, aggressively-moving women who seem distressed over something — perhaps, even hunted. I found the movement to have something of a martial arts type feel, yet there are respites of poignancy as well, for instance in the hovering birdlike-stances the dancers sometimes freeze into.

The darkness of the initial pieces was diffused by the premiere of Smith’s “A Moment of Silence,” danced by Allie Alletto. Created in Corfu, Greece, this past July, Smith describes the piece as a meditation of hope and peace. Indeed, its repetitive wavelike motion before an aqua background summons a sense of serenity and then, as physically expressed by the dancer, a start toward some sort of realization.

Also to be noted, “Scherzo,” by Evans, offered a lighthearted, large group work set to music by Johannes Brahms. The work combines rhythm, humor, and solid dancing and got the audience smiling along with the dancers.

“BioDadaDance for the last day of the Fringe” Jeff Spevak reviews BIODANCE in!

10:24 p.m. EDT September 27, 2014

For live link, click here, or see text below:

Each of Rochester’s dance troupes has its own personality. The marvelously entertaining Biodance is impressionistic body rhythm. Precise, synchronized movements and athletic, loose limbs. Often set to electronic grooves, but not always.

The black tuxedo shirt and white gloves of Bill Evans’Scherzo moved to the music of Johannes Brahms.

A solemn quiet accompanied A Moment of Silence, with Allie Alletto’s grace fighting the turbulent winds of a world in crisis. Indeed, the program noted that the premiere of the dance by the troupe’s artistic director, Missy Pfohl Smith, was dedicated to troubles from Rochester to Syria, from the Ukraine to Ferguson, Missouri.

The performance-opening Trapped at Tea offered Pfohl Smith and Jeanne Schickler Compisi presenting a dramatic, gymnastic afternoon of tea drinking. Somersaulting over a folding table, swimming though a floor lined with hundreds of white-plastic eating utensils, it was the most humorous piece of the program — and the most surrealistic, as the two women passed teacup saucers to each other by using their feet.

Watching the troupe sweep the plastic forks from the stage afterward was a dance in itself. Had we just witnessed Dance Dada: The Bourgeois Indifference to the Collapse of the Middle Class in the Midst of a World Food Crisis? By pure luck, I was sitting next to Schickler Compisi’s father, Jack Schickler.

I asked him: “What does it mean?”

“I have no idea,” he said.

[email protected]

August 11, 2014

Missy Pfohl Smith, [email protected], (585) 201-1002

BIODANCE appears in Fringe Festival at Geva Theatre Center’s Fielding Nextstage

ROCHESTER, NY – BIODANCE is back in the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival this year after its smash hit last year with ANOMALY. “…graceful and inventive. I was repeatedly surprised, delighted, and inspired,” reported City Newspaper. BIODANCE will appear on Sept. 24 at 7:30pm, Sept. 25 at 6pm, Sept. 27 at 4pm at Geva Theatre Center’s Fielding Nextstage, featuring the work of seven national and internationally known choreographers. This is the only time this collection of work will be performed together. All ages will be inspired by cutting edge choreography and expert performance.

“BIODANCE is honored to share the innovative work of these current dance icons,” says Artistic Director Missy Pfohl Smith. This is Rochester’s only contemporary dance repertory company bringing repertory from world-renowned choreographers Heidi Latsky, Bill Evans, Missy Pfohl Smith, Ivy Baldwin, Jeanne Schickler Compisi, Eran Hanlon and Courtney World all together in one show! Smith says “The work challenges the dancers’ versatility and virtuosity and it has been invigorating for us to embody such diverse voices. Our audiences, too, have been thrilled by the new direction the company has taken over the past couple of years.” It is through the support of The Rochester Community Foundation and the Decentralization Program, a regrant program of the New York State Council on the Arts with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and administered by the Arts and Cultural Council for Greater Rochester, that this is possible. Audiences will also witness the stunning artistry of BIODANCE performers Allie Alletto, Ellen Tomer Baker, Jeanne Schickler Compisi, Kathy Diehl, Christopher Morrison, Alaina Olivieri, Laura Regna, Julie Schlafer Rossette, Missy Pfohl Smith and Stuart Tsubota.

Smith will premiere a new work she created this summer in Corfu, Greece. Peace Offering is a solo for dancer Allie Alletto, shared as a wish for peace in the world. The work is an invitation to find an internal calm so that we can listen to and communicate with one another, crossing boundaries of place, race, socio-economic status and religion, and finding a quiet and honest celebration of difference.

Though Rochester said goodbye this summer to Rochester dance legend Bill Evans (he relocated to Rhode Island), his work will remain in the repertory of Rochester-based company BIODANCE. The company will reprise Scherzo, an original work created for the BIODANCE by Evans in 2012 to the music of Brahms.

“I am delighted that BIODANCE is reviving Scherzo. I had great fun capturing aspects of the unique and vibrant personalities of BIODANCE company members when I made this piece. I love the music, and I believe that we captured many of its special qualities in this physically vigorous and entertaining work.”
–William (Bill) Evans

Former Bill T. Jones soloist Heidi Latsky, known internationally for her work with differently abled dancers, also set excerpts of her critically acclaimed Solo Countersolo on the company. Heidi has garnered awards and commissions throughout the world and is the first choreographer selected to participate in the Dance for Film on Location at Montclair State University project, underwritten by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Ivy Baldwin and Jeanne Schickler Compisi created a wild duet, Trapped at Tea, which will be performed by Compisi and Missy Pfohl Smith. Baldwin was recently awarded a Guggenheim Fellowship for Choreography.

BIODANCE will perform in the First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival on Sept 24 at 7:30pm, Sept 25 at 6pm and Sept 27 at 4pm at Geva Theatre Center’s Nexstage, 75 Woodbury Blvd. Rochester, NY 14607. Tickets are available at
$12 General, $8 Students with ID
First Niagara Rochester Fringe Festival

Follow and learn more about BIODANCE and the choreographers:

For more information contact Missy Pfohl Smith at [email protected] or (585) 201-1002


BIODANCE performing for the Senior Center at Rochester Community Place on Sept. 5, 2014

BIODANCE is thrilled to hold a performance of repertory by internationally known choreographers on Friday, Sept. 5, 2014 at 12:30pm for the Senior Center at Community Place at 145 Parsells Ave in Rochester, NY. This concert, along with a dance workshop series for the seniors, is supported by the Rochester Community Foundation and the Decentralization Program of the New York State Council on the Arts, with the support of Governor Andrew Cuomo, and administered by the Arts and Cultural Council of Greater Rochester.