Coker College Dance Program’s “Curveless Smile” to be Featured at National College Dance Festival

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Hartsville, S.C. – Mar. 29, 2016 – Coker College seniors Tierra Foxworth and Tammaka Staley’s “Curveless Smile” was one of two out of 42 choreographic works chosen this month at the southeast conference of the American College Dance Association. This prestigious honor means that Foxworth and Staley will perform the piece at the National College Dance Festival, which will be held at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC, this June. “Curveless Smile” was choreographed by Foxworth, a dance major, and is performed by both Foxworth and Staley, a social work major.

“The journey of this particular work has exceeded my expectations,” said Foxworth. “Tammaka entered this process with me as a favor to create a gift for my mother’s birthday, and now it seems as though we have created something for all mothers. We authentically created this piece based on our own experiences, and I believe that is what the adjudicators and audience appreciated the most at ACDA. As we prepare to head to Washington in June, we plan to maintain our humbleness and gratitude that this dance is still a gift.”

The adjudicators at the SE ACDA Conference who chose “Curveless Smile” as one of the works to be performed in DC described it as “a sophisticated layering of images resulting in a temporal convergence of character image, gesture and speech that offers a mature statement, directly, but with no sacrifice of complexity.”

“To put this in athletic comparison, it's like winning our division title,” said Angela Gallo, associate professor and chair of the dance, music and theatre department at Coker College. “In college dance, there really is no higher honor than this. We were chosen alongside very large schools with prestigious programs. Of the works chosen to go to the Kennedy Center from the SE Region, Tierra and Tammaka’s was the only student work; the other works were faculty or guest artist. The faculty at Coker are extremely proud of the artistry that Tierra and Tammaka achieved in this work.”

“Curveless Smile” is a unique piece in that it is an intertwining of two artistic mediums: dance and the spoken word. Foxworth collaborated with spoken-word artist Staley by blending her original poem, “A Black Girl’s Smile,” with Foxworth’s original voiceover reflections on her mother’s life.

“When integrating other art forms with my own, I always tend to find a different way to present my words to an audience,” said Staley. “Collaborating with Tierra influenced a slower, more mellow tone in my delivery, even though I am usually very aggressive in the way I convey my poems. I think any artist can tell you collaboration can be a challenge, but it is also the most fun and beautiful thing when you have a genuine connection with your partner. Tierra and I had a genuine connection and sense of sisterhood while going through the process of putting ‘Curveless Smile’ together. #BlackGirlMagic was and still is in full effect!”

‘As I worked with Tammaka, I was most influenced by her creative process,” said Foxworth. “As I move through this stage of my artistry, I realize it’s easy to settle for what works at the moment. Tammaka’s continuous journey of reshaping her work is inspirational. During this collaboration I was reminded that my art is never finished. It should always manifest and linger within me as it waits to be readdressed.”

“This honor firmly places Coker as a strong dance program in the southeast,” said Gallo. “Performing at the Kennedy Center will highlight the college and our program on a national level.”

Foxworth’s thesis work will premiere at Coker’s Senior Thesis Dance Concert April 15-16, 2016.

About the American College Dance Association

The American College Dance Association’s (ACDA) primary focus is to support and promote the wealth of talent and creativity that is prominent throughout college and university dance departments. The ACDA has 13 regional conferences and two works from each conference are chosen to be performed at the ACDA-sponsored National College Dance Festival. The festival is presented at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, DC.


Release written by Media Relations Coordinator Elizabeth Coxe Hubbard.



Coker College is a student-focused, private liberal arts college located in Hartsville, South Carolina. Coker combines round table, discussion-based learning with hands-on experiences to encourage active participation in and out of the classroom. A supportive, close-knit community prepares Coker students with the confidence and practical life skills they need to reach their personal best, in college and beyond.

Founded in 1908, Coker is a bachelor’s and master’s degree-granting institution and competes in 24 NCAA Division II sports. Coker is ranked among the "Best Colleges" in the South by U.S. News & World Report as well as The Princeton Review, and by Washington Monthly as one of the Southeast's "Best Bang for the Buck" colleges.