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I am a dance artist turning poetry into motion. My work carves a new path, one of discovery, intrigue, and submission rooted in the fundamental value that the body is a sacred space.

The sturdy seedling with arched body comes

Shouldering its way and shedding the earth crumbs.

“Putting in the Seed” by Robert Frost

My pen rapidly travels across the page… sturdy… I frantically circle… archedshouldering… I begin to improvise as the words swim in the forefront of my creative brain… sturdy, arched, shouldering

I turn poetry into motion.

I create my work through my relationship with my own body. It is through dance that I rediscover myself. This journey makes my work every-changing, finding a flow of sustained, sequential, weighted movements driven by internal articulation of the torso. I interrupt this flow with sharp gestures of the arms and legs, serving as a reminder to anticipate change.

I ground my work in the idea that every work is a collaboration, creating phrases and molding improvisational landscapes that invite my dancers on their own journeys of renewal. My work is my way of healing a broken path while carving a new one of discovery, intrigue, and submission rooted in the fundamental value that the body is a sacred space.


Mijkalena (Mijka) Smith is a Philadelphia-based dance artist originating from Elverson, Pennsylvania. Mijka earned her BFA in Dance from Temple University, graduating Magna Cum Laude of her class and receiving the Frances Bowden Award for Excellence in Dance. Trained in Ballet, Modern, African Diasporic, Hip Hop, and Improvisational techniques, Mijka has had the honor of studying under renowned dancers and choreographers such as Clyde Evans, Kyle Clark, Kun-Yang Lin, Antoinette Coward-Gilmore, Wayne St. David, and Abdur-Rahim Jackson. She has trained as a member of Academy of PHRESH, under the guidance of Mark “Smart Mark” Boston and Shanika “QP,” and took part in the 2021 Troupe Intensive led by Antoine Troupe.

Mijka shares her joy for dance as an educator, working with students ages 3-18. She currently serves as the Director of Dance at Upper Merion Dance & Gymnastics Center in Upper Merion, PA as well as teaching and choreographing at Creative Edge Center for the Arts (North Wales, PA) and The Philadelphia Dance Academy (Philadelphia, PA). Mijka is a member of the National Dance Education Organization, receiving a Professional Development scholarship to attend their national 2023 conference in Denver, CO. Under the guidance of the NDEO’s Dance Education in Practice, she is currently researching communication and authoritarian teaching in the dance classroom with article publication anticipated for 2024. She is deeply invested in the intersection of science and art in the dance classroom, creating well-rounded dancers through a knowledge of anatomy, physiology, and artistic craft. Mijka’s love for science and art extends to her administrative work at Great Marsh Institute (an environmental nonprofit located in Elverson, PA) where she is the founder of “Arts at the Great Marsh,” an event that uses site-specific performance to promote the conservation of the Great Marsh of Northern Chester County.

In addition to her work as an educator and administrator, Mijka performs, choreographs, and curates productions independently in Philadelphia and New York. She frequently partners with musicians and visual artists, working as a member of the People’s Music Supply and performing with the Mijkalena Smith Quartet in collaboration with Philadelphia artists Aaron Pond, Sonali Singh, and Michnari Robinson. Her current choreographic interest is in integrating poetry, movement, and music to create a rich artistic experience.

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