Sofia Engelman and Em Papineau are dance artists who live and work primarily on Nipmuck and Pocumtuc land in the town known as Northampton, Massachusetts. 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. 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, and Dancing Queerly Boston; music/DIY venues such as 10 Forward and Flywheel; and other venues 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 teaching during the COVID-19 pandemic.
And learn more about Sofia and Em below...
photo © Alexander Engelman
Sofia Engelman grew up a poet, painter, and actress to an art therapist mom and 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. She received a BA with highest honors in Dance and an award in Excellence in Dance Studies from Smith College. As an undergraduate, Sofia danced in choreography by David Dorfman, Angie Hauser, Chris Aiken, Dante Brown, Xan Burley + Alex Springer, Jenna Riegel, and Bronwen MacArthur. Since graduating, Sofia has danced for Michael Figueroa, Tyler Rai, and Alice Gosti. She also teaches choreography, technique, and dance fitness classes regularly to children and adults at School for Contemporary Dance and Thought and The Center Dance and works as an administrator at Contact Quarterly dance journal, School for Contemporary Dance and Thought, and The School of Classical Ballet, her childhood dance studio.
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 blonde pop stars and memorizing and inventing television ad jingles. After moving to Portland, ME (unseated 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 14t Street Y, as well as Smith College. Em has performed in works by David Dorfman, Chris Aiken, Doug Varone, Xan Burley + Alex Springer, Jenna Riegel, Toni Craige, Nikki Lee, and Dante Brown through the Five College Dance Department and was a recipient of the Five College Dance Department's Virginia J. Wagner Scholarship. Em is the youth dance instructor 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