HEADMISTRESS is a collaborative entity between San Francisco Bay Area-based choreographers and dancers Amara Tabor-Smith and Sherwood Chen initiated in 2009. Representing seasoned, distinct and sometimes disparate lineages, they interweave their respective choreographic approaches as a means to navigate intimate movement histories with enduring questions around ancestral, national, transcultural connections.

Their work challenges their respective identities and artistic methods in an effort to imagine new performance terrain.

Headmistress has performed as part of curated group shows including Judson Church/Movement Research’s venerable weekly series in New York; Topographies: Sites, Bodies, Technologies, an international conference hosted by Society for Dance Historians and Scholars and the Dance Critic’s Association at ODC Dance Commons in San Francisco; and CounterPULSE in San Francisco. Marc Bamuthi Joseph curated Headmistress to open Yerba Buena Center for the Arts’ 2009 Left Coast Leaning Festival and was described by the San Francisco Chronicle as “spatially and stylistically disparate by design…to finally move into satisfying consonance against a fluidly organic framework.” Tabor-Smith and Chen were 2010 Artists in Residence at the Headlands Center for the Arts in collaboration with video artist Eric Koziol, and have continued their research this winter at L’École des Sables in Senegal and in Guinea.

AMARA TABOR-SMITH is the former Associate Artistic Director and company member with Urban Bush Women. She has worked with choreographers and performing artists such as Ed Mock, Joanna Haigood, Ronald K. Brown, Marc Bamuthi Joseph, Anna Deveare Smith, Aya de Leon, Pearl Ubungen and is artistic director of Deep Waters Dance Theater based in Oakland.




Photos by ANA TERESA FERNÁNDEZ in collaboration with JEFFERSON PINDER and Headmistress. Shot at Headlands Center for the Arts (HCA), Marin Headlands, California (2010) in the latrine and East Wing commissioned by HCA by Bruce Tomb and John Randolph (latrine 1988) and David Ireland (East Wing 1987).