Darion Smith Receives the Mark Ryder Original Choreography Award

On Friday, September 13, 2019, Janusphere Artistic Director Darion Smith received the Mark Ryder Original Choreography Award.

howard county arts grant winner darion smith choreography.jpg

Awarded by the Howard County Arts Council and the Community Council of Howard County, the Mark Ryder Original Choreography Award “recognizes individual creative expression” for choreographers creating a new work.. Additionally, according to the Howard County Arts Council, the award “broadens opportunities for artists and encourage[s] and sustain[s] their pursuit of artistic excellence.”

darion smith grant winner.jpg

We congratulate Darion Smith on his receipt of the award. Stay tuned here on the blog for updates and sneak peeks as the work develops!

Heading West in August

This August, Janusphere Dance Company Artistic Director Darion Smith begins a creative residency in Eugene, OR, working on the ongoing collaboration Lizard Project/Every Word Was Once an Animal.

An intimate showing of the project will take place August 16th, and the work will be developed further over the next year, including more showings and interactive exhibits.

As we prepare for the creative residency in Eugene, we're sharing with you a roundup of some of our stories highlighting the project and its progress since its inception back in 2017.

It all started with a simple question...

Can I Make Art that is Felt as Much as it is Seen?

In dance making and in art, I am noticing that conventional approaches are good in small doses but too much keeps you stuck in one place. To be honest, I am sort of scared of changing perspectives... that's actually what makes it fun. It is meaningful (despite how scary it can feel) to use these skills and knowledge to go where I haven't been by following my intuition and then to use those same devices again to make intentional choices.

Source: by   Biodiversity Heritage Library     is licensed under  CC BY 2.0

Source: by Biodiversity Heritage Library is licensed under CC BY 2.0

This creative approach keeps me (and my collaborators, and my artistic inspirations) from being crushed by externally driven expectations that are somehow less and less appealing to me...

Changes and growth throughout the project…

Lizard Finds a Home

A collaborative project between art, dance, science, and the humanities, Lizard is a multi-media installation and interactive dance performance that will be welcomed by museum goers of all ages and interests.


The project, which is the product of the ongoing creative explorations of Smith and Bengtson, promises to deliver an immersive experience on how lizards and humans communicate, the process of learning a physical language, and how we learn to see and understand movement in a new environment.

The next phase brings us to Eugene in August. We invite you to continue on this journey with us.

In Upcoming Residency, Darion Smith Aims to Teach Dancers to Experience Own Voices

We spoke with Darion Smith about his upcoming artist residency at Pacific Lutheran University.

Smith says that the spring residency at the campus in Tacoma, Washington, will enable him to teach and to create new work with dancers from PLU. As Smith puts it, "[m]y aim is to make it a powerful experience for the students at PLU by integrating their creative abilities into my studio classes and during rehearsals for the new work I am creating."

Many of these creative opportunities will come through improvisation and compositional tasks.  To that end, Smith plans to offer PLU student dancers "new ways to experience dance and develop their own voices."

It is the quest to find an artist's voice and to use dance as a mode of storytelling that propels Smith's choreography.  "One of the main reasons why I fell in love with dance is its ability to tell a story," says Smith, who believes that as a choreographer and a dancer he is "a story teller too."  This is why he looks forward to guiding the students in class and rehearsals, by helping them to discover more about themselves as creative individuals.     

Stay tuned to  the Janusphere Dance Company Blog for more on the work Smith plans to develop with Pacific Lutheran University students this spring, and where and when it will debut.