Sofia Engelman and Em Papineau are life partners and choreographic collaborators who live and work primarily on Canarsie and Munsee Lenape land in Brooklyn, NY. Their first collaborative project, Where the air is light and clear, was presented at the National College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts while they were students at Smith College. Since then, they have held choreographic residencies at The Living Room, Ponderosa (Germany), The Dance Complex, and School for Contemporary Dance and Thought. In addition to presenting their work at these spaces, the pair have performed at festivals including FRESH Festival, EstroGenius Festival, AS220's Providence Movement Festival, Queer Spectra, Post/Future Performance Festival, and Dancing Queerly Boston; music/DIY venues such as 10 Forward and Flywheel; and other spaces they love dearly including Judson Church, Green Street Studios, and Smith College. Their work has been supported by the New England Foundation for the Arts and the Northampton Arts Council. Sofia and Em are co-initiators of freeskewl, an experimental platform for pedagogy, performance, conversation, and community.

Read their writing and catch an interview or two!

And learn more about Sofia and Em below... 

photo © Alexander Engelman


Sofia Engelman is a white, queer, Jewish, non-disabled femme who was born in Cambridge, MA (land of the Massachusett people) to an art therapist + mixed media artist mom and (professional) wine buyer dad. As a 14 year old, Sofia's early choreography involved tasks such as eating a tomato like an apple and shaking to Kelis' Milkshake. Since then, Sofia has presented works, including ongoing High Maintenance studies, at venues such as Institute of Contemporary Art/Boston, School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, Denmark Arts Center, The Dance Complex, Green Street Studios, and Harvard University. Sofia has danced in projects directed by Michael Figueroa, Kathleen Hermesdorf, Tyler Rai, and Alice Gosti. Sofia received a BA with highest honors in Dance and an award in Excellence in Dance Studies from Smith College. At Smith, Sofia wrote a thesis--Queering Judson: Re-membering the Early Postmodern Dance Movement--and performed in work by David Dorfman, Angie Hauser, Chris Aiken, Dante Brown, Xan Burley + Alex Springer, and Jenna Riegel. Sofia also teaches choreography, Modern/Contemporary technique, and dance fitness classes regularly to young people and adults. Sofia is the Communications Manager and a Contributing Editor at Contact Quarterly.

Em says: Sofia is also a damn good writer.

View Sofia's Little High Maintenance here.

photo © Em Papineau

Em Papineau, a white, queer, disabled, Québécois femme, is a dance artist, musician, athlete, and full-time baker. Em grew up dancing to music videos by pop stars and memorizing and inventing television ad jingles. After moving to Portland, ME (land of the Wabanaki) at age 8, Em danced at Casco Bay Movers under the direction of Kate Marchessault and performed in works by Dante Brown, Meredith Lyons, and Allie James through Portland Youth Dance. Em's solo, With Pulp, has been presented at Queerly Contemporary Festival at Manhattan's 14th Street Y, as well as Smith College. Em received a BA in Dance and Religion at Smith. Through the Five College Dance Department, Em performed in works by David Dorfman, Chris Aiken, Doug Varone, Xan Burley + Alex Springer, Jenna Riegel, and Dante Brown and was a recipient of the Five College Dance Department's Virginia J. Wagner Scholarship.

Sofia says: Em plays over a dozen instruments!

View Em's With Pulp here!

photo © Sofia Engelman