I design dance performances and facilitate collaborations as a means to examine human connections and to foster community. I have an endless appetite for biographies and personal stories. Along with my video work, my choreographic content borders on documentary material and in this way, I present portraits of people and communities, whether real or imagined, in non-linear, yet relatable movement compositions. My focus on human connection and community is not exclusive to the end product. I assemble dancers, musicians, visual artists, and designers who might not otherwise work together to bring into existence a communal creative process. This new "communal artist" then produces art that reflects not only its own communal voice and vision, but is also a reflection of the greater community in which the individual artists and audience members exist.

My background in network technologies coupled with my two degrees in dance has perpetuated my need to understand connections, what physical components make a connection and how these connections develop and are maintained and in some cases dissolved. Currently in my career, I make work that are either solo pieces or large ensembles of more than twenty performers. In both scenarios, the creative process is the same with the end goal of finding connections to self and


community. I begin with a loosely structured outline of movement sections as a beginning guide for which performers explore a dynamic spectrum of effort qualities ranging from sustained stillnesses, subtle gestures, and explosive traveling sequences. Through dialogue and rehearsals, performers reveal to me their strengths as well as the boundaries of what they think and what they know they can physically deliver. Together we discover a physicality that communicates personal, authentic energy for site-responsive pieces in venues such as proscenium stages, art galleries, neighborhood backyards, guest bedrooms, or the camera.

My latest work focuses on the effort of interface wherein I look at technology as a tool and examine its function as a point of interface, specifically with regards to the proximity of human connection. The amount of effort involves both a technological component and a human component - how convenient, how easy, how much honest effort do we allow ourselves in order to be connected? While, my recent work examines the instance of interface, I am in the broadest sense always questioning how accessible – as humans and as artists – we actually want to be to each other.

Fostering the unique talents of each student is as vital as teaching dance technique and theory. I believe in promoting student curiosity and independent thinking. I strive to create an environment where students are able to take calculated risks and be courageous, passionate dancers. Most importantly, I am committed to preparing students for a diverse range of performance and educational experiences in the dance field long after they participate in my classes.

My strength as an artist educator is in encouraging students to think outside the confines of their own habits and to grow beyond their own expectations. I cultivate a sense of community within the classroom to promote self-discovery and respectful communication among peers. I focus on the overall relevancy of dance as a means of speaking to the larger communities in which we live. 

My eclectic background in modern dance, jazz and ballet as well as improvisation, social dance, yoga, roller derby and boxing, undeniably informs the way in which I structure technique classes. My objective is to teach material that presents physical, creative and intellectual challenges in order to develop daring, athletic and dynamic performers. Essential elements in my technique classes are full-bodied warm-ups that connect breath to movement, exercises that explore the body’s relationship with gravity and the dynamics that this relationship produces, improvisational inquiry, rigorous movement combinations, individual investigations and questions from students, and peer feedback that engages a positive class dynamic while honing the technical and creative understanding and verbal skills of students. 




OSU Alumni Grants for Graduate Research and Scholarship, Coca Cola Critical Difference for Women Award, OSU Department of Dance - Chair's Discretionary Fund and the Vera J. Blaine Special Project Fund

Karen Bell, Vera J. Blaine, Dr. Melanye White Dixon, Andy Hensler, Matt Lewis, Bebe Miller, Jean Pitman, Susan Van Pelt Petry, Valarie Williams

Past Motor Dance Company Members:
Michelle DuBos, Megan Durell, Tessa Gerall, Britta Jo, Michelle Zdancewicz

Collaborative Freelance Performers:
Vicki Baggett, LaShe Black, Linda Choate, Noelle Chun, Dawn Festervan, Juanita Finkenberg, Heather Iovine, Leigh Lotocki, Mark Risinger, Lindsey Smith, Tom Truss

Organizations that participated in Portraiture and Perception:
Ohio Roller Girls, Columbus, Ohio; Real Women Dancing, Nacogdoches, Texas, El Barco, Costa Rica; Greenbriar Community, Bellingham, Washington 

Music:                    Writing:                Set Design:
Kevin Kerby           Robert Perks      Megan Durell, Joe Perks

Costume Design:
Victoria Waugh, Dr. Mary Ellen Wright, Tessa Gerall, Jackie Shelley, Tom Truss

Brandywine Reyes, Shawn Hodges, Candace Moser Stafford 

Jeromy Barber, Rashana Perks Smith, Erik Speth, Stephen Self and Donna Gatewood, Amy Spears, Stephanie Danyi

Video Editing:
Jeromy Barber, Rashana Perks Smith, Stephen Self

Technical Assistant:
Michelle DuBos

Digital Hand-crank projectors and reconstruction:
Andy Hensler, David Smith and Rashana Perks Smith

Jitter Programming:
Rashana Perks Smith

Stop Motion Animation:
Danielle Gardner, Kate Duke

Graphic Design:
Erik Abbott-Main, Jerry Hammack, Michael J. Morris

Web Design:
Jerry Hammack, Michael J. Morris, Rashana Perks Smith



April 2015
Pacing - choreography by Rashana Perks Smith, Chappelear Drama Center, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH

April 2015
Urinetown, The Musical - choreography by Rashana Perks Smith, direction by Edward Kahn, Chappelear Drama Center, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH

February 2015
Pacing 45 - choreography and performance by Rashana Perks Smith, Feverhead Studio, Columbus, OH


July 2014
Watching the Watching - directed and co-choreographed with Bebe Miller, Taking Place Choreographic Residency, Garden Theatre, Columbus, OH

November 2014
Orchesis 14/15 - artistic direction by Rashana Perks Smith, Chappelear Drama Center, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH


November 2013
Orchesis 2014 - artistic direction by Rashana Perks Smith, Colony choreography by Rashana Perks Smith, Chappelear Drama Center, Ohio Wesleyan University, Delaware, OH

April 2013
Pacing - choreography by Rashana Perks Smith, Chakeres Memorial Theatre, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH

March 2013
Circling the Promised Land - choreography by Paige Phillips, Urban Arts Space, The Ohio State University, Columbus, OH

February 2013
Bear Traps & Other Impressions - choreography and performance by Rashana Smith, Midwest Regional Alternative Dance Festival, Wellspring Theatre, Kalamazoo, MI

February 2013
Vera J. Blaine Choreographic Resources - published release of archive and online teaching tool covering Vera J. Blaine's approach to teaching dance composition. Writing, design, video and editing by Rashana Smith, The Ohio State University, Department of Dance, Columbus, OH


November 2012
Hold Sway - videographer, editor, programmer by Rashana Smith, choreography by Noelle Chun, Leigh Lotocki, Neo V Gallery inside Till Dynamic Fare, Columbus, OH

November 2012
Colony - choreography by Rashana Smith, Chakeres Theatre, Wittenberg University, Springfield, OH 

March 2012
Portraiture and Perception - choreography, performances, video work, mechanical and software design by Rashana Smith, Urban Arts Space, Columbus, OH 


May 2011
The Soldier’s Tale choreographed by Erik Abbott-Main, The Columbus Foundation’s Davis Hall, Columbus, OH

February 2011
Yonaka: In This World of Ours by Sai Somboon, Sullivant Theater, OSU, Columbus, OH


November 2010
this physical body is the meeting place of worlds - a presentation of writing and choreography by Lisa Ferrugia Atkinson, Sullivant Hall, Studio One, OSU, Columbus, OH

September 2010
Facilitated by Susan VP Petry for Ric Petry's video installation, Shared Spaces, 2010 Faculty Biennial, Canzani Center Gallery, Columbus College of Art & Design, Columbus, OH

June 2010
Chalk Boundaries by Dante Brown in an informal showing at Pile Up, Sullivant Hall, Studio One, OSU, Columbus, OH

June 2010
Helmer Wants to Know the Whole Story by Alexis Del Sol, Tsung-Hsin Lee, Rashana Smith, Media in Performance Showing, Emma Lab, OSU, Columbus, OH

May 2010
El Otro Lado/The Other Side by Betsy Miller, Chalk Boundaries by Dante Brown, Bear Traps & Other Impressions by Rashana Smith, 2010 OSU Spring Dance Concert, Sullivant Hall Theatre, OSU, Columbus, OH

March/April 2010
Spring Perspective videowork MFA Graduate Show, Urban Arts Center, OSU, Columbus, OH

March 2010
Within a Formal Circumstance by Maree ReMalia, Winter Dance Concert, Sullivant Hall, OSU, Columbus, OH


November 2009
Improvisation Performance at Super Sunday - The Wexner Center for the Arts, Columbus, OH

June 2009
Improvisation Program, Big Range Austin Dance Festival, Austin, TX

April 2009
Light the Lamp! Motor Dance Spring Concert at Lamp-lite Theatre, Nacogdoches, TX

March 2009
Notes on Life performed by Stephen F. Austin's Repertory Company at the American College Dance Festival hosted by Texas A&M's Dance Department

February 2009
Motor Dance guest appearance - Chapel Hill Highlighters' Spring Show, Tyler, TX

January 2009
Notes on Life performed by Stephen F. Austin's Repertory Company at their Spring Concert, Nacogodoches, TX

January 2009
Rashana with the Fishbowl Soldiers as opening act of Saturday Night Special at Austin's Salvage Vanguard Theatre, Austin, TX


November 2008
Notes on Life performed by Stephen F. Austin's Repertory Company at studio concert at SFASU, Nacogdoches, TX

October 2008
A Day of Remembrance, 6th Annual Walk in the Park, Tyler, TX

October 2008
Converge, Motor Dance's 3rd annual fundraiser at Morning Glory Yoga Studio, Nacogdoches, TX

October 2008
Residency at Stephen F. Austin State University's Dance department, Nacogdoches, TX

July 2008
Brazos Contemporary Dance Festival, Bryan, TX

July 2008
The Oobenanny: Out of Bounds Fundraiser, Austin, TX

June 2008
Big Range Austin Dance Festival, Program C - Improvisation Performance, Salvage Vanguard Theater, Austin, TX

April 2008
Motor Dance and Real Women Dancing in Heritage at the Balance Studio, Tyler, TX

April 2008
Heritage, a studio concert at Stephen F. Austin State University, Nacogdoches, TX


November 2007
Motor Dance at Mistletoe & Magic, Tyler, TX

October 2007
Insight, Motor Dance's Annual Fundraiser at The Yoga Tree, Henderson, TX

September 2007
Second Annual Motor-ized Garage Sale, Henderson, TX

September 2007
Tyler Festival on the Square, Tyler, TX 

July 2007
Brazos Contemporary Dance Festival, Bryan, TX

June 2007
Blueberry Festival, Nacogdoches, TX

May 2007
Site specific work in and around Houston, TX

March 2007
Crossroads, a gallery concert at The Art Center, Nacogdoches, TX

March 2007
Action Jackson, SFA Repertory Dance Company, Picturing Pollock Symposium, Nacogdoches, TX

February 2007
First Annual Motor-ized Garage Sale, Henderson, TX

January 2007
Driven, Motor Dance Fundraiser at The Yoga Tree, Henderson, TX


November 2006
Action Jackson, SFA Repertory Dance Company, Danceworks, Nacogdoches, TX

November 2006
Motor Dance at Mistletoe & Magic, Harvey Convention Center, Tyler, TX

September 2006
Motor Dance at Tyler Festival on the Square, Downtown Tyler, TX

Photo: Shawn Hodges

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