HWS faculty and students explore environmental, political, and social change through dance
On Friday, Sept. 25 and Saturday, Sept. 26, Assistant Professor of Dance Missy Pfohl Smith and her company, BIODANCE, will perform at Calkins Middle School Auditorium, a new state-of-the-art theater in Pittsford, N.Y., with several students and faculty members.
The innovative work of BIODANCE often explores human interaction with the environment, politics, and current social issues-always through dance, sometimes with text, film, music and ice cream.
Smith, who is the founder, artistic director and choreographer for BIODANCE, says she “is committed to artistic excellence in the creation and performance of new dances, dance theater and dance films through collaboration with multi-disciplinary artists and dancers.”
This BIODANCE event will feature HWS Dance faculty, Professor Donna Davenport and Associate Professor Cadence Whittier, as well as performances by Smith and a diverse array of professional dancers. One work will also feature students Kathryn Bowering ’12 and Caitlyn Schrader ’10, highlighting the longstanding interaction between the HWS dance faculty and students.
In a formal concert on Friday evening at 8 p.m., BIODANCE will share new works Replay, I.T., Takes in Air (with guest performer Davenport) and On the Surface, as well as a screen dance called Act II (created with filmmaker Susannah Newman) and new, live music from Mark Olivieri and friends.
On Saturday afternoon at 2 p.m., BIODANCE will have an interactive family matinee, designed to get the audience dancing in their seats, promote dance literacy and shed light on some of the mystery of modern dance and dance-making. The matinee will also feature special guests Akoma Ntoaso African Dance and Drum Ensemble. Bring the kids, they’re free!
Smith received her M.F.A. in choreography and performance from Sarah Lawrence College and graduated summa cum laude with a B.S. in dance from SUNY Brockport. Having joined the HWS faculty in 2007, she has taught numerous schools, including the University of Rochester, the College at Brockport, Alfred University, Mason Gross School of the Arts/Rutgers, Sarah Lawrence College, Skidmore College, Raritan Valley Community College and Queensborough Community College. She was a guest artist at the 7th Annual Int’l Contemporary Dance Conference & Performance Festival in Bytom, Poland.
In addition to founding BIODANCE, Smith has worked with Randy James Dance and Paul Mosley Dance. She recently published an article in Shared Space, the University of Rochester Program Of Movement and Dance Journal, and a member of Eastwest Somatic Network, the National Dance Education Organization, and is treasurer and board member of the Rochester Contemporary Dance Collective.
Davenport has taught dance at Hobart and William Smith Colleges since 1990. She received her B.A. in psychology and her B.F.A. in dance at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, her M.Ed. and Ed.D. at Temple University, and pursued post-doctoral study in dance science, composition, and technique at the American Dance Festival for three summers. Prior to her tenure at the Colleges she taught modern dance, ballet, and jazz dance technique at Temple University.
She has written for several journals, including Education, Journal of Dance Education (JODE), and Impulse. She has conducted conference workshops on interdisciplinary teaching and on composition at several conferences, and served for five years as Book Review Editor for JODE. She also sits on the JODE editorial board and served on the Board of Directors of the American College Dance Festival Association.
Davenport is currently serving as the Associate Dean of Faculty in the Provost’s Office.
Whittier joined the faculty in 2000. She received a B.F.A. and M.F.A. in ballet: teaching and performance, from the University of Utah, and a CLMA Certification in Laban/Bartenieff Movement Analysis, Integrated Movement Studies. She has taught at the Ballet West Conservatory, Interlochen School of the Arts, the American College Dance Festival American Dance Center and the University of Utah. She has also done Dance Educational Outreach for fifth-graders in the Geneva, N.Y. School District and taught in the ICANDO Ballet West Dance program for fifth-graders in the Salt Lake City, Utah School District.
She has performed with the Bill Evans Dance Company, the BIODANCE Company, the Present Tense Dance Company, the Utah Ballet Company, and the Kansas Regional Ballet. She has choreographed and performed numerous pieces over the past few years, in locations from Brooklyn to Brockport, and has published work in the Journal of Dance Education. She is a member of the Faculty Member of National Dance Education Organization and the Integrated Movement Studies Laban/Bartenieff Certification Program.
The photo above features a Biodance performance featuring Assistant Professor of Dance Missy Pfohl Smith.