Sofia Engelman and Em Papineau are dance artists who live and work primarily on Canarsie and Munsee Lenape land in Brooklyn, NY. Their first collaborative work, 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, and Dancing Queerly Boston; music/DIY venues such as 10 Forward and Flywheel; and other spaces they love dearly such as 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 and they are both on staff at Contact Quarterly. Sofia and Em are co-founders of freeskewl, an experimental, donation-based platform for online pedagogy, performances, and community during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And learn more about Sofia and Em below...
photo © Alexander Engelman
Sofia Engelman 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, 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--and danced in work by artists including 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, and holds administrative hats at School for Contemporary Dance and Thought and The School of Classical Ballet.
Em says: Sofia is also a damn good writer.
View Sofia's Little High Maintenance here.
photo © Em Papineau
Em Papineau is a dance artist, musician, athlete, and nonpracticing barista who 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. Em is the Youth Programs Coordinator at School for Contemporary Dance and Thought and the Shipping Manager at Contact Quarterly.
Sofia says: Em plays over a dozen instruments!
View Em's With Pulp here!
photo © Sofia Engelman