Amy Smith

amy smith, philadelphia artist, life of the artist

Amy Smith (Co-Director and Faculty member) grew up in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she studied ballet, jazz and tap and got early professional experience with Jazz Dance Theater. Back then, she could do triple pirouettes and lay-outs. At Wesleyan University, she took full advantage of the amazing dance department, studying modern, composition, improvisational forms, ballet, Bharata Natyam, and Ghanaian dance. She also majored in Religion. After college, she spent a year at the Center for New Dance Development in Holland, where she soaked up European New Dance and learned from incredible people like Stephanie Skura, Ishmael Houston Jones and Steve Paxton. Other important teachers/mentors include Cynthia Novack and Richard Bull, Susan Foster, Deborah Hay, and Ann Trenka.

Besides Headlong, Amy has performed in the work of Deborah Hay (lamb, lamb, lamb…), Ishmael Houston Jones (Specimens), and other choreographers.  She has worked in theater and cabaret, as a director and performer.  She played Ivona in Theatre Exile’s Princess Ivona and Jane Fonda in their production of That Pretty Pretty.  She won an Ensemble Barrymore for her work in 1812 Productions’ Suburban Love Songs. She directed Chlamydia for Christmas and Herpes for Hannukah for Flashpoint Theater, and performed in the Lantern Theater’s production of A Child’s Christmas in Wales. She also choreographed The Cunning Little Vixen for the Opera Company of Philadelphia and Curtis Institute.

In addition to her artistic work, Amy is Finance Director for Headlong, and often works with individual artists and small companies in Philadelphia, leading workshops and helping them increase their financial literacy. She works with Creative Capital teaching financial management skills to other artists.  Amy chaired a committee that started Dance/USA Philadelphia, our local service organization for dance, and served 6 years on the Board of Dance/USA, including 2 years as Treasurer.  She lives in a geodesic dome in the woods of rural South Jersey, with her rock-star-turned-teacher husband and two awesome kids.

(Image by Kevin Monko: Headlong Dance Theater's Red Rovers)