DanceSmith  Reviews and Press  Grissel Suhy

Selected Press Releases


Contact: Bob Smith
April 23, 2007 202-577-5366

DanceSmith Inaugural Performances at the
Atlas Performing Arts Center’s Lang Theatre
Three Performances May 18, 19 and 20, 2007

Five Contemporary Dance Works to Include Premieres of Three New Works
By Artistic Director Natalie Moffett Smith

Washington choreographer/performer Natalie Moffett Smith’s acclaimed contemporary ballet company, DanceSmith, takes the stage for the first time as the resident performing dance company of the Atlas Performing Arts Center next month.

Three performances Friday May 18, Saturday May 19 and Sunday May 20 will include five dance works choreographed by Moffett Smith, including the world premieres of three new works: one solo and two group works. Moffett Smith’s new group work for four women, Bach on the Run, is an uplifting quartet in which contemporary ballet is juxtaposed with a classical score by Johann Sebastian Bach. The shapes and floor patterns combine simple movements of walking and running with complex choreographic structures to create an energetic "contemporary classical" work.

The second premiere is a taut abstract work for five women set to the music of John Adams and John Donne’s poem, Negative Love. An emphasis on the strong use of the arms and a contrast between angularity and fluidity define the movement vocabulary of the work. The movement is tense, at times pulling against itself. Dualities run through the piece. The dancers are at times quite separate, in solitude and unconnected, while at other times they move in unison. Sharp movements bring clarity while more fluid movements reflect a search for that clarity.

Also on the program is Moffett Smith’s duet Arm’s Length. This work was\ described by the Washington Post as "an electrically charged pas de deux" following its premiere at the Kennedy Center last year. The two dancers co-exist in moments of dependency contrasted with moments where they are oblivious to each other. Theirs is a relationship of trust, yet restrained, reticent, at times resisted. There is a magnetic pull that brings them together; they know that they are each other’s safe haven, yet they show little emotion. The work begins and ends in silence, like the unspoken words between them.

Also on the program is Within, a striking trio that unveils three different states of internal introspection. Charlie Barnett’s original score for Within was awarded the 2004 Metro DC Dance Award for Original Composition. "[A]n extraordinarily penetrating look at three different states of human feeling, as danced by three women . . . The dancers created a taut, strained but emotionally authentic atmosphere, aided by Charlie Barnett’s intriguingly acid score." The Washington Post, November 20, 2004.

Following the success of her post-performance audience discussion at the Kennedy Center last year, Moffett Smith will again conduct a post-performance discussion with the audience following the performances at the Atlas on Saturday evening and Sunday afternoon.

DanceSmith’s Atlas performances take place Friday May 18th and Saturday May 19th at 8:00 p.m., and Sunday May 20th at 2:00 p.m. at the Lang Theatre of the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C. Admission is $25 and $35. Tickets are available from the Atlas Performing Arts Center Box Office at (202) 399-7993 and online at and

About DanceSmith. DanceSmith is a contemporary ballet company, rooted in classical technique informed by modern dance. Founded by Natalie Moffett Smith in 2002, DanceSmith makes ballet accessible to a wide range of audiences. The company redefines the experience of ballet by the innovative use of classical ballet technique combined with a more contemporary emotional component. The company’s style contrasts the flowing movement and extended lines of ballet with the angularity and weight of modern dance. DanceSmith is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization based in Washington, DC.

About the Atlas. The Atlas Performing Arts Center is the only community-based performing arts center in Washington. Located in a historic movie theatre complex on H Street in Near Northeast D.C., a once-vibrant corridor of the city that was devastated by riots in 1968, the Atlas formally opened its doors in November 2006 after four years of renovation. In addition to DanceSmith, the Atlas is home to a diverse group of outstanding resident arts organizations including theatre companies, symphony orchestras, choral groups and arts education programs.

Note to Editors: Photographs (electronic or camera- ready) available on request. .

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Previous Press Releases

March 19, 2007
DanceSmith to Become Resident Performing Dance Company
of the Atlas Performing Arts Center in Washington, D.C.

Inaugural program will include three performances May 18, 19 and 20, 2007

December 14, 2005
DanceSmith Returns to the Kennedy Center for Three Performances January 13 and 14, 2006

Six Contemporary Dance Works to Include Premieres of Two New Works by Artistic Director Natalie Moffett Smith

November 18, 2004
DanceSmith's Kennedy Center Debut November 18, 2004

Contemporary Dance Works to Include the Premier of a New Work by Artistic Director Natalie Moffett Smith


On-Line Reviews

Washington Post – January 16, 2006

Washington Post - November 19, 2004

Washington Post - March 7, 2005

Excerpts from Reviews and Other Press Coverage

DanceSmith Hot & Cool
Lisa Traiger, TheWashington Post, January 16, 2006, C5

"Moffett Smith, who founded her highly trained, finely tuned DanceSmith just four years ago, knows her way around a choreographic challenge."

". . . the world premiere of Natalie Moffett Smith's ‘Arm's Length,’ an electrically charged pas de deux on the Kennedy Center's Terrace Theater . . . Windom displayed an agitated sensibility, steely attack and coolly detached regard for her partner, Florian Rouiller, who couldn't hide his heartfelt regard for this unyielding partner."

". . . ‘Interior Lining,’ a smartly designed piece apportioned out to a vivacious score by Charlie Barnett. Here those women snapped to attention, with military heel-thrusting walks, sharply timed kicks, dashed out leaps and a tightfisted restraint that lent a mid-20th-century feel."

" ‘Disquiet’ also suggested an edgy alienated mien and, underscored by a lushly baroque Handel composition, the dancers seethed through the work, ready to pounce."

Palisades Resident's Dance Company Is On The Move
Andrea Rouda, The Current, April 27, 2005, Page 15

""In this day of instant gratification, it’s no secret that dance performances are somewhat of a hard sell to the movie-going public . . . Moffett Smith is grateful for supportive audiences that grow bigger with every performance . . . ""

In Rockville, Keeping Hampton's Legacy Alive
Kirsten Bodensteiner, The Washington Post, March 8, 2005, C3

""The choreographic gem of the evening was a reconstruction [by DanceSmith] of 'Fon Fon Odeon' (Tangos) by Eric Hampton. . . . The dancers . . . were in complete control of movement combining elements of the tango . . . with ballet's explosive leaps and pirouettes."

" . . . DanceSmith performed 'The Gift,' which, like Hampton's work, shows a strong musical sensibility. Also in the ballet idiom, the choreography is dense and complex . . . The work . . . combines ballet's vocabulary with modern dance's sense of weight and utilization of the floor."

Dancesmith: Extraordinarily Well-Armed
Sarah Kaufman, The Washington Post, November 20, 2004, C1

"Moffett Smith's company, though only two years old, looks more mature and polished than some of the area's established groups . . . "

" . . . her 'Within', for instance, [is] an extraordinarily penetrating look at three different states of human feeling, as danced by three women . . . The dancers created a taut, strained but emotionally authentic atmosphere, aided by Charlie Barnett's intriguingly acid score."

A Variety of Styles Keeps Dancesmith On Its Toes
Pamela Squires, The Washington Post, May 8, 2004, C8

"Multiple personalities in one person may qualify as a disorder in psychology circles. But in a choreographer developing a style, having multiple personalities is acceptable. . . . Moffett Smith's creations . . . for her excellent young troupe DanceSmith ran the personality gamut: from lyrical to hard-edged, pretty to stripped down."

"[In 'Together Alone'] she sprang into his arms like a lioness, all tension and force, and collided with him even in moments of tenderness."

"Likewise . . . ['Interior Lining'] was crisp and direct. . . . The work's tensile strength seemed to spring from the creator's true character."

DanceSmith's Debut: An Energetic Kickoff
Pamela Squires, The Washington Post, January 20, 2003

" . . .Smith is indeed a dance smith. . . . [she] choreographs both ballet and modern dance competently . . . "

" . . . [present in] Smith's new abstract ensemble . . . was the legacy of [Eric Hampton's] solid sense of dancers' placement on the stage, deft ensemble work and ability to keep things moving . . . Yet if this quirky, angular 'Interior Lining' is any indication, Smith seems driven to go her own way."

"Lynn Joslin's dramatic lighting design for Smith's 1999 modern dance trio 'Melange Separe' . . . was instrumental in setting mood (cold and impersonal . . . ) . . . Melange bred tension, . . .the dancers constantly moved into and through positions . . . "

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