EM PAPINEAU + SOFIA ENGELMAN 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:
And learn more about Sofia and Em below...
Image Description: Sofia and Em are seen standing with their bodies facing one another as they look outward. Em is wearing maroon pants, a bright red jacket, and a light blue hat, with brown boots. Sofia is wearing maroon pants, a shiny gold jacket, and a yellow mustard hat, with light grey boots. Em and Sofia are standing on an orange metal staircase with orange metal railings. The background shows a grey sky and roof overhang. photo © Alexander Engelman
Image Description: Sofia is seen in movement with her left leg extended in front of her, as if in the middle of a large step forward. Her right palm is flat against her right thigh. Sofia is wearing maroon pants with a maroon sleevless, knee-length jacket, showing part of their bare chest and stomach underneath. They have blue sneakers with yellow stripes on their feet. Behind them is a tan house with various trees and potted plants. They are standing on gray cement. photo © Em Papineau
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.
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!
Image Description: Em is seen from their waist up, facing the camera. They are wearing a red shag sweater with multicolored makeup haphazardly drawn on their face around their mouth and eyes. Em’s mouth is slightly open as they hold red, gold, and pink balloons attached to white string in front of themselves. photo © Sofia Engelman