Molly and Eleanor

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith have been making experimental dances in New York since 2006. Their work is unique in that it is an equal collaboration between the two choreographers, always within the duet form, and always performed by Molly and Eleanor. Recent works include: Body Comes Apart (New York Live Arts 2019), Basketball (PS122 and Baryshnikov Arts Center for COIL 2017), Rude World (PS122 and The Chocolate Factory Theater for COIL 2015), Tulip (Roulette, 2013; Judson Now at Danspace Project, 2012), and Beautiful Bone (The Chocolate Factory Theater, 2012). Residencies and awards: 2018 Artists at The Yard, 2018 DiP Residency Artists at Gina Gibney Dance Center, Featured as one of Alastair Macaulay's "Best Dance of 2017" in The New York Times for Basketball, 2016 LMCC Process Space Residency, 2015 Rosas Summer Studios Recipient, PS122’s 2014/2015 RAMP Artist, 2014 Baryshnikov Arts Center Artist Residency Program, 2013 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award Nomination for Emerging Choreographer, and the 2013 NYFA Fellow Finalist Award. Molly and Eleanor were Guest Artists at Connecticut College in 2015 and taught workshops together in New York through Movement Research and CLASSCLASSCLASS. They were guest artists and co-taught at Sarah Lawrence in the Spring of 2018. Molly and Eleanor are curating a series of shared work in May 2019 at Roulette.

Molly Lieber recently performed in works by luciana achugar, Oren Barnoy, Wally Cardona and Jennifer Lacey, Keely Garfield, Neil Greenberg, Maria Hassabi, Melinda Ring, and Donna Uchizono. She received a 2016 New York Dance and Performance “Bessie” Award for her body of work as a performer and was featured in Dance Magazine’s March 2016 issue on New York’s freelance dancers. She teaches at Movement Research and Gibney Dance Center.

Eleanor Smith is a choreographer and freelance dancer living in Brooklyn. She currently dances for Ivy Baldwin Dance (since 2009), Molly Poerstel (since 2013), and Katie Workum (since 2013). Eleanor has performed in works by Anna Azrieli, Vanessa Anspaugh, Kim Brandt, Keely Garfield, Levi Gonzalez, Juliana F. May, and robbinschilds. She was a 2010 Fresh Tracks artist at Dance Theater Workshop and a 2012 Studio Series artist at New York Live Arts. Eleanor has enjoyed curatorial experience through serving on the 2011 Fresh Tracks Selection Committee and as a member of the team for the Movement Research Festival Spring 2016 “Hand Written Notes”.


Artist Statement

Molly Lieber and Eleanor Smith have been making experimental dances in NY since 2006. Our work is unique in that it is an equal collaboration between us, always within the duet form, always performed by us. Our process involves improvising together as a form of empowerment and abstract expressionism. Material for our work comes from improvisations and discussions generated and cultivated together. Due to the way our bodies accumulate and express, our works encompass moments of dancing together as well as the concepts, events, and feelings that inspired these movements. The two of us are the material as well as the understanding and performance of the material. 


Negotiating ideas and feelings between two minds is our constant practice. This practice values empathy and deep listening over individual output. We must fully understand one another in every decision. This understanding is the foundation of the movements that we develop between our bodies. These movements value imagination and energetic touch over dominance. They give rational strength to our feelings, dreams, and unconscious selves and value the often undervalued inner female landscape.

We collaborate to benefit from a consensus model of art making. We are also the source of what is being performed, and the work is understood through the feeling within it. From the onset of our working collaboration, we have made dance pieces within an episodic form. Utilizing improvisational strands that exist in separate times and then ordering them amongst pieces of set material defines the structure of each work. These improvisational strands can last 5 or 25 minutes. This structure yields a full work with no climax. We do not use patriarchal structures of creating with an introduction, conflict, climax, and resolve. There is no moment where the viewer can sense a furious eruption wherein the piece hinges. Ours is a feminist episodic structure of multiplicity.

We carry each other through each piece, physically and performatively. The works depend on our connection, and the design elements of each piece come from this connection. While it is sparse for there to be just two performers in a space, the material that we take on--the inner female landscape--is vast and complex, and with the strength of our physicalities we hold it between us and with the mysteries of our imaginations we cultivate it together. This medium of two female bodies in space and intimate relation is a continuously interesting source of expression.




James Lo (Sound Design) has created sound scores for choreographers Katie Workum, Ani Javian, Heather Olson, Mei-Yin Ng, Sarah Michelson, Maria Hassabi, Jennifer Monson, Levi Gonzalez, Ralph Lemon, RoseAnne Spradlin, and Lucy Guerin. He received New York Dance and Performance (BESSIE) Awards for John Jasperse's furnished/unfurnished and for Donna Uchizono's State of Heads, and was named one of’s 50 favorite drummers for his work with the bands Chavez and Live Skull.    

Thomas Dunn (Lighting Design), based in NYC, designs lighting throughout US and abroad. Selected design credits includes works with; Wally Cardona, Steve Cosson/The Civilians, Annie Dorsen, DD Dorvillier/human future dance corp, Daniel Fish, Beth Gill, Trajal Harrell, Jennifer Lacey, Noémie Lafrance/Sens Production, David Levine, Ong Keng Sen/TheatreWorks Singapore and Jay Scheib/NYCO. Thomas is the recipient of a 2009 Kevin Kline Award for Outstanding Lighting Design, The Little Dog Laughed, The Repertory Theatre of St. Louis as well as a 2007 Bessie Design Award, Nottthing Is Importanttt, DD Dorvillier/human future dance corps.

Lilana Dirks-Goodman (Set Design) is a New York based artist. She has a Bachelors and Masters degree in Architecture. She co-organizes AUNTS and makes installations and objects. These things have been seen and happened at the New Museum, chashama, Danspace Project, Movement Research at the Judson Church and most recently in the Union Square Sweetgreen, among others. She is a current SHIFT resident at the Elizabeth Foundation for the Arts.

Claire Fleury (Costume Design) Originally from Amsterdam, Claire Fleury has been a dancer, actress, director and playwright for over two decades. Self taught when it comes to costume making, she draws from her background in theatre and performance when conceptualizing her work. She has made dance costumes for Larissa Velez-Jackson's group Yackez!, Antonio Ramos, Sarah White-Ayon and Coco Karol. She also has dressed performers like Laurie Anderson, The John Spencer Blues Explosion, Bridget Barkan, Effie Liu, BETTY and many members of the NYC nightlife, for instance Susanne Bartsch.