Bobbi Jene Smith and Maxine Doyle Talk Instinct and Trust in Collaboration
Martha Graham Dance Company in rehearsal for a new work by Bobbi Jene Smith and Maxine Doyle. PC Kelsey Grills.
In a sun-soaked studio in Manhattan, members of the Martha Graham Dance Company (all women) lie on the floor with their feet and heads hovering off the ground. Choreographer Bobbi Jene Smith encourages the dancers to be unapologetic about being looked at as their bodies begin to tremble with exhaustion and they move into a new formation.
Bobbi Jene Smith with MGDC dancers. PC Kelsey Grills.
Smith and co-choreographer Maxine Doyle have been working with the company on a new piece that premieres during the company's season at The Joyce Theater, April 2–14. It is part of The EVE Project, an initiative started by the Graham company that honors the progress of women over the last 100 years and shines a spotlight on today's most compelling conversations about gender and power. We peeked into a rehearsal and heard from Doyle and Smith about their collaborative process.
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The majestic entrance into Sky-Mind Hall, an exquisite 3,000-square foot floor-to-ceiling-windowed studio with breathtaking views of the Playa Guiones along the Pacific Ocean, at Blue Spirit Retreat Center in Nosara, Costa Rica, recently introduced me to the practice.
PNB principal Elizabeth Murphy prepping her shoes. Photo by Lindsay Thomas, courtesy PNB
Preparing pointe shoes is a highly personal process. Each pair requires seemingly contradictory qualities—that they be supportive yet soft, that they be strong yet quiet, that they show off the foot while providing enough structure for balances. So it's no surprise that the quest to get it right is an ongoing experiment.
Three professional ballet dancers shared the secrets of their own prep routines, mistakes and challenges with Dance Magazine.