aerial dance choreography and teaching
Master of Fine Arts in Dance,
PMA-Certified Pilates Instructor, GYROKINESIS® Instructor
a queer female post-modern aerial dancer. I choreograph, collaborate, perform
and teach aerial dance and modern dance that is heavily influenced by contact
improvisation, post modern and release techniques as a means to more fully
inhabit my own skin. Teaching, performing and choreographing are equally
weighted in my work as a performing artist, each providing different, essential
opportunities for researching the body as central ground of lived experience.
I am excited by creating movement for theater productions such as the award winning Aerial Choreography for UC Boulder's production of Metamorphoses, as well as aerial choreography for Berkeley Playhouse’s Cinderella Enchanted
and Peter Pan.
I created ground-based movement for Vanguardian production's Truce
and Crowded Fire’s Forever Never Comes.
My choreography and collaborations with Courtney Moreno have been seen at ODC/Fresh Meat, Dance Mission Theater/SKYDANCERS: women who fly through the air, Jon Sims Center for the Arts, CounterPULSE
and 848 Community Space. In the spring of 2006 I was awarded a residency from the Jon Sims Center for the Arts to create innovative, site specific aerial dance work. In 2007 I returned to my hometown to set the piece "Groundbirds" on Kansas City’s City in Motion dance company.
embodied power of the physical body, particularly the female dancing body, shows
the fluid possibilities of the body and identity in live performance and is
central to my research. In particular, I focus on training and performing
aerial dance that is rooted in a post modern, contact improvisation-inspired
aesthetic; an aesthetic spectacular in its sensitivity to dancing partners,
human and apparatus. This challenging physical research heavily influences the
themes and subjects of my choreography, resulting in abstract choreography that
captures essential experiences of being human in relationship and expressing a
fullness of identity through the body. My evening length work Beneath the Text. an aerial dance. with
books. combined an explicit questioning of the absence of powerful, queer
female images in aerial performance and literature alike. Athletic movement, a
suspended chain employed as an aerial apparatus, and a variety of relationships
between the five dancers offered a richly realized female presence on stage.
creative process often involves collaboration, through necessity and
choice. I prefer to work with musicians,
dancers, riggers, video and set designers in transforming space to create a
complete environment and experience for the audience. My work is always site specific, even in
traditional theatrical environments. The rigging demands of aerial dance
heighten both dancer and audience sensitivity to the entirety of the space, a
sensitivity and openness essential to my performances on the ground as well.
Often I begin with an evocative image that holds some physical urgency such as
dancing on a spiral staircase, outside on a fire escape, or suspended in an elevator
shaft. Through the various collaborations with dancers and designers this image
then becomes the heart of a piece infusing the multiple layers with a coherence
and richness. By physically returning to the essence of this image, the work
retains a storytelling integrity that is rarely narrative, but ultimately
In 2015 Smith was awarded her Master's of Fine Arts in Dance with an emphasis in Aerial Dance, the first person to complete the Aerial Dance Track of the MFA program at the University of Colorado Boulder. While in Boulder she had the privilege of working with Michelle Ellsworth
, Gesel Mason
and Kim Olson/SWEETEDGE
. Prior to returning for an MFA Smith obtained a BA in Biology, with a minor in dance, and
began dancing professionally in Minneapolis, Portland, and the Bay Area.
Since arriving in San Francisco in 2001. As a
performer she has been honored to work with incredible Bay Area artists
including, Rapt Performance Group, Dance Ceres
, Kim Epifano/Epiphany Productions
, Eat Cake Productions,
Great Liberation Upon Hearing
’s productions of Peter
Pan, Singin’ in the Rain
and a guest appearance in Cinderella Enchanted
From 2002-2005 Smith worked as the
facilities manager and core member of the group managing 848 Community
Space and CounterPULSE. As a member of the Board of Directors, she
coordinated construction of CounterPULSE
’s new theater space in the
SOMA district of San Francisco. Her work continues to be a fiscally sponsored project of CounterPULSE.