Can we teach ourselves to be happy? Is happiness something we create or that happens to us? The Smile Club examines what drives human emotions and our ability to manipulate how we feel. Inspired by Budapest in the 1930’s which gained the nickname “The City of Smiles” amongst a suicide epidemic in the wake of World War I. The city tried to combat the problem with a “Smile Club” to teach people to smile and be happy.

Each dancer displayed a dizzying array of human emotion, which both added to the complexity and almost chaotic nature of the choreography. It was a power statement on the power of a smile, and the fact that a smile is often an illusory mask meant to hidden human pain and emotion.

Chris Heide, Chosen Magazine

Most striking, though, was what Green demanded of the dancers’ faces. They stretched their mouths from grimaces into grins, opened eyes wide in shock, dragged their cheeks and chins down into sagging despair. These faces were mesmerizing.

With “Smile Club,” Green asks the audience to consider what drives human emotions, how much they are external to the self. In this work, as poignant as it is humorous, she stirs the embers in search of answers.

Marcie Sillman, And another thing…

The use of exaggeration shows dancers embodying a world where they are trapped in forced emotions. The Smile Club is the highlight of the night for its adventurous presentation and original, animated movement. The piece leads the audience through a curious, sometimes literal, sometimes abstract journey that is gloriously woven together. It is cringe-worthy in the best way.

Meredith Pellon, Seattle Dances

The Smile Club


September 13, 2019
Erickson Theatre Off Broadway


Kyra Jean Green


Pascal Champagne, Ray Coniff, Free Design, SHXCXCHCXSH, Tipper, Bobby Vinton


Kyra Jean Green


Michael Mazzola