Bobbi Jene Smith, photographed by Jayme Thornton

Exclusive Playlist: Listen to the Songs that Give Bobbi Jene Smith the "Power to Express" Herself

At our cover shoot for the November issue, Bobbi Jene Smith curated one of the best lineups of YouTube music videos that I've heard in a long time. From Bob Dylan to Tom Waits, they felt like such perfect choices for her earthy, visceral movement and soulful approach to dance.


A few hours into the shoot, Smith put on Laurie Anderson's "O Superman," and started telling us about how much she loved Anderson. We got inspired to do an homage to the music video by putting Smith in a spotlight while listening to "O Superman" on repeat. That setup turned out to create the very image that we chose for the cover.

Laurie Anderson - O Superman [Official Music Video]

Later, Smith told me that actually, each of her dances weaves in an homage to Anderson: two little kicks that she once saw her do while playing a concert in Tel Aviv. "She was on the violin and in the middle of playing she walked sideways and did two little delicate kicks and then continued to play. I could see her dancing as a little girl. I started crying. Those small things can just move your heart all of a sudden."

Since Smith has such an intimate and intense connection to the music that inspires her, I wanted to know more of the songs she listens to. So we asked her to create a playlist for Dance Magazine. She put together songs that, as she puts it, "have been carrying me and giving me power to express through the years."

Latest Posts


TaraMarie Perri in tree pose at Storm King Art Center. Photo by Sophie Kuller, Courtesy Perri

5 Self-Soothing Exercises You Can Do to Calm Your Anxiety

Physical stillness can be one of the hardest things to master in dance. But stillness in the bigger sense—like when your career and life are on hold—goes against every dancers' natural instincts.

"Dancers are less comfortable with stillness and change than most," says TaraMarie Perri, founder and director of Perri Institute for Mind and Body and Mind Body Dancer. "Through daily discipline, we are trained to move through space and are attracted to forward momentum. Simply put, dancers are far more comfortable when they have a sense of control over the movements and when life is 'in action.' "

To regain that sense of control, and soothe some of the anxiety most of us are feeling right now, it helps to do what we know best: Get back into our bodies. Certain movements and shapes can help ground us, calm our nervous system and bring us into the present.

GO DEEPER SHOW LESS