Jessie Smith

Invited by Dayna Hanson
Author: Jessie Smith
Credits: Photo by Ben Kasulke

Jessie Smith is a Seattle-based choreographer, performer, filmmaker, designer, and musician. She is the Artistic/Administrative Director of Dead Bird Movement, a modern dance and film production company. Since being founded in 2005, Dead Bird Movement has earned acclaim as an ambitious, exciting, young company. It has presented numerous live dance/music works and screened its experimental short films across the United States, Canada, Europe, and Japan. Its most recent work, "Thrashoholic," was performed at MassArt (Boston, MA), West Street Market (Reno, NV), 21 Grand (Oakland, CA), eighteen-thirty (Los Angeles, CA), The Underground (Reno, NV), 85 South Hanford (Seattle, WA), K.D. Japon (Nagoya, Japan), Village (Kyoto, Japan), Organ's Melody (Yamaguchi, Japan), Café Flying Teapot (Tokyo, Japan), and Artland (Tokyo, Japan.)


Smith mainly works in solos and duets. She creates focused and intensely charged performances that contrast themes of vulnerability and sexuality with darkness, power, and strength. Her shows are endurance battles that teeter in the place where cohesion crumbles to decay. They feature choreography that is sharp and fast, raw and precise.


Smith also plays guitar in the punk/metal band The Gargle Blasters and piano in the country band Rollin' Hazard. She dances and plays guitar in Dayna Hanson's show "Gloria's Cause." She is a movement collaborator and performer in Saint Genet, an experimental performance/visual art company. She was a founding member of Implied Violence and was their choreographer and an ensemble member from 2003-2009. She also danced for Amy O'Neal and Zeke Keeble's company locust from 2006-2010.


Smith has received funding from 4Culture (2008), Artist Trust (2008 & 2005), Bossak/Heilbron Charitable Foundation (2008 & 2006), Washington State Arts Commission (2007), Seattle Office of Arts & Cultural Affairs (2007 & 2005), and Art Patch (2007).  She has had artistic residencies at PROJECT: Space Available, The Watermill Center, and 911 Media Arts Center. She has received such prestigious awards as The Stranger Genius Award and The Impulstanz International Dance Festival DanceWEB Scholarship. Smith attended Cornish College of the Arts, as a dance major, from 2001-2003.