Nancy Stark Smith

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Nancy Stark Smith, in a Contact improvisation duet with Steve Paxton (1980). Photograph by Stephen Petegorsky.

Nancy Stark Smith (born 1952 in Brooklyn, New York) is a dancer and founding participant in Contact Improvisation.[1]

An alumna of Oberlin College, Smith initially trained as an athlete and gymnast.[2] She studied and performed in modern dance and postmodern dance performances in the early 1970s. She danced in the first contact improvisation performances in 1972, and has since worked as a dancer, performer, instructor, author, and organizer. She has travelled the world to teach and present performances of contact and improvised dance.

She has collaborated with numerous partners including Steve Paxton, Julyen Hamilton, Karen Nelson, and, recently, the musician Mike Vargas.

In 1975, she founded Contact Quarterly, an international journal of dance and improvisation, which she continues to co-edit and produce.[3]


  1. ^ Paxton, Steve (1993-01-01). "Review of Sharing the Dance. Contact Improvisation and American Culture". Dance Research: The Journal of the Society for Dance Research. 11 (1): 84–87. doi:10.2307/1290606. JSTOR 1290606.
  2. ^ "Alumna Nancy Stark Smith Talk". Oberlin College. Retrieved 2011-01-13.
  3. ^ Cheryl Pallant (July 2006). Contact improvisation: an introduction to a vitalizing dance form. McFarland. p. 153. ISBN 978-0-7864-2647-8. Retrieved 13 January 2011.

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