Bobbi Jene Smith and Maxine Doyle Talk Instinct and Trust in Collaboration

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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How Do You Make a Theater Safe Again?

Last summer, months before the word "coronavirus" became part of our daily lexicon, American Repertory Theater artistic director Diane Paulus started working with an unexpected expert: Joseph Allen, an assistant professor of exposure assessment science at Harvard's H.T. Chan School of Public Health and head of the university's Healthy Buildings Program. According to Boston Magazine, Paulus was starting to plan out A.R.T.'s new venue at Harvard, and wanted to design a "healthy" theater.

So when COVID-19 began shutting everything down, the team had already put in months of work considering how to make a performing arts venue safe. To share their ideas with other theaters, A.R.T. published a blueprint online that will be continually updated. Although the "Roadmap for Recovery and Resilience for Theater" is not meant to be comprehensive or prescriptive, it offers several insightful factors to consider:

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