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."

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Courtesy Ava Noble

Go Behind the Scenes of USC Kaufman’s Virtual Dance Festival

Now more than ever, the students of USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance are embodying their program's vision: "The New Movement."

As the coronavirus pandemic stretches on, the dance world continues to be faced with unprecedented challenges, but USC Kaufman's faculty and BFA students haven't shied away from them. While many schools have had to cancel events or scale them back to live-from-my-living-room streams, USC Kaufman has embraced the situation and taken on impressive endeavors, like expanding its online recruitment efforts.

November 1 to 13, USC Kaufman will present A/Part To/Gather, a virtual festival featuring world premieres from esteemed faculty and guest choreographers, student dance films and much more. All semester long, they've rehearsed via Zoom from their respective student apartments or hometowns. And they haven't solely been dancing. "You have a rehearsal process, and then a filming process, and a production process of putting it together," says assistant professor of practice Jennifer McQuiston Lott of the prerecorded and professionally edited festival.

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