Nancy Stark Smith first trained as an athlete and gymnast, leading her to study and perform modern and postmodern dance in the early 1970s, greatly influenced by the Judson Dance Theater breakthroughs of the 1960s. Nancy danced in the first performances of contact improvisation in 1972 and has since been central to its development as dancer, teacher, performer, writer/publisher, and organizer. She has traveled extensively throughout the world teaching and performing contact and other improvised dance work with Steve Paxton and many other favorite dance partners and performance makers, including Julyen Hamilton, Jeff Bliss, Ray Chung, Andrew Harwood, Peter Bingham, Karen Nelson, and musician, Mike Vargas. She co-founded Contact Quarterly, an international dance journal, in 1975 which she continues to edit, produce, and publish along with other dance literature. Her work and writings are featured in the books, Taken By Surprise: A Dance Improvisation Reader, and Composing While Dancing: An Improviser’s Companion. Her first book, Caught Falling, came out in 2008. She lives in western Massachusetts.