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Work Samples

BlueShift Dance: Apple Pie

Choreography: Caitlin McAfee & Sarah Joy Stallsmith Performers: Natalie Boegel and Caitlin McAfee Music: wesleepinforests


About Caitlin

Baltimore City

Caitlin McAfee's picture
Caitlin McAfee (pronounced “MAK-uh-fee”) has had a prolific professional choreographic career working in a contemporary modern style, evolving since 2008. With interest in how we all exist in our own minds, McAfee enjoys exploring how humans form a collective unconscious, striving to connect with one another with varying degrees of success. Her work ranges from the meditative and emotional (see What He Left Behind) to the fiercely political (see Speaking with Fists), to the pointedly... more

Suffrage (2019)

Performed at Baltimore Theatre Project in February of 2019 as a collaborative effort between BlueShift Dance and Vaught Contemporary Ballet. VCB provided a historical ballet, depicting the efforts of the Suffragettes. BlueShift Dance presented works by Caitlin McAfee as well as Natalie Boegel, reflecting the state of feminism and political discourse in present times, as women of today stand on their shoulders. Pieces presented include:

Faceless by Caitlin McAfee and Kendra Smith

A collaborative effort between the choreographer and the dancer, this two-parter showcases the story of a woman in the corporate world, trying to "lean in." We first meet her with a bag on her head, a wide, cartoonish smile drawn across both sides. Her movement is mechanical, limited, and stifled by the expectation to stay quiet and happy. After she finally finds the strength to "take off" this oppressive persona, she finds a powerful new freedom to be a full, whole woman. Her smile is gone. Large, wild movements reflect her big ideas and commanding presence in meetings. She can be sexy when she wants to be, and get things done. Inspired by the Suffragettes before her time, she fights for the opportunity to add her voice, and becomes whole and free in the process.

Speaking with Fists by Caitlin McAfee

Premiering at Bowie State University in the spring of 2018, this work was remounted because of its relevance to the #Resist movement across the nation. Controversial by nature, the work takes no subtle approach to critiquing the Trump administration's corruption, ignorance, and oppression. BlueShift Dance commissioned Arjun Bhamra of wesleepinforests, based in the UK, to create an original soundscore for the piece which consists of quotes and soundbytes reflecting Trump's corrupt dealings with Putin, Mitch McConnell's cowardice, and Emma Gonzalez's brave stance on gun control. The movement style was inspired by a menagerie of animals representing our current leadership including gorillas, turtles, and hawks. McAfee's act of protest, Speaking with Fists is a love letter to the free-thinking American people rightfully speaking out in rage and disgust.

Loud ≠ Right by Natalie Boegel

Originally choreographed for the Collective dance company by Natalie Boegel, this is a work with a vocalized soundscore performed by the dancers in mid-movement. Traveling from breathy solitude to group shouting matches, the work examines the nature of political discourse today, even among friends. Comedic at times, and troubling at others, the work is exciting to watch and provokes its audience to ask what happened to calmly and respectfully weighing the issues? At times when even the like-minded are at odds, how are we relating to each other, and to what lengths are we willing to go to make our voices heard?

Ticking by Caitlin McAfee and Shianne Antoine

Designed as an improvisational work drawing inspiration from a news ticker, projected live on stage. In the piece, Shianne Antoine observes the ticker, and chooses a current event to use as inspiration for a three-part structured improvisation. Set to songs by Tom Waits, selected randomly at the time of the performance, the work is often sardonic and dark, evoking a sense of anxiety regarding the constant flow of the news cycle in the U.S. The point of watching this performance is to encourage the audience to take a few minutes to think about - to actually process - one thing happening Right Now.

  • BlueShift Dance: "Speaking with Fists"

    Choreography by Caitlin McAfee Performance by Natalie Boegel, Madeline Maxine Gorman, Shianne Williams-Brown Music: "Face Your Guilt" by wesleepinforests (available for download on iTunes) Costume by Caitlin McAfee Lighting Design by John McAfee Stage Management by Eleanor Weir
  • "Loud ≠ Right"

    Choreography by Natalie Boegel Performed by Natalie Boegel, Madeline Maxine Gorman, Caitlin McAfee, Robin Rodbell, Ariel Stanton-Penkert Costume by Natalie Boegel Drummer: Shianne Williams-Brown Lighting Design by John McAfee Stage Management by Eleanor Weir
  • Ticking

    Out of frame is a live news ticker. The dancer has chosen a headline from the news ticker about which to improvise for ten minutes. Choreography by Caitlin McAfee Improvised/performed by Shianne Williams-Brown Music by Tom Waits Costume by Caitlin McAfee
  • BlueShift Dance: Faceless

    Choreography by Caitlin McAfee and Kendra Smith Performance by Kendra Smith Music by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, and Various Production Costume by Caitlin McAfee Lighting Design by John McAfee Stage Management by Eleanor Weir

The Male Gaze (2018)

Conceptualized by Natalie Boegel, BlueShift Dance created and presented an evening-length collection of works showcasing the creative relationships of three heterosexual couples, entitled "The Male Gaze." The men, not choreographers or dancers, created and set works on their wives and girlfriends as a means of reappropriating the male gaze. Our press blurb stated:

"The “male gaze” refers to the act of depicting women and the world from a masculine, heterosexual perspective that presents and represents women as sexual objects for the pleasure of the male viewer. But what happens to a heterosexual man’s gaze when it is turned to a woman he loves deeply? Watch as our dancers perform works created for them, about them, by the men who love them."

The performance included interviews with couples, investigating the creative process and their views on the male gaze as it traditionally presents itself. These were accompanied by a screening of a short dance film created by one of the male choreographers. The performance made Baltimore Magazine's list of the top 6 shows to see at 2018 Charm City Fringe Fest ( After Charm City Fringe, the Garrett County Arts Council commissioned another presentation of the show at Our Town Theatre as part of a weekend residency. Because the show happened to land on Father's Day, an improvisational element was introduced, examining a father's love for his daughter. At random, a father in the audience was asked to describe his daughter in three words, and those words were used as inspiration for the piece that followed. A highlight of this performance was a rousing Q&A following the show, where a little boy inquired as to whether or not the performance was inspired by "something that had happened recently," or by "something that was so big, you just had to say something about it." You can view this at 42:22 in the "Male Gaze in Garrett County" video. Which you should. He's amazing, and we told him so.

Drawing the Universe (2018)

“Drawing the Universe” was presented as a mixed bill concert, featuring three artists from the Baltimore DC Metro Area: SylviDances, LucidBeings Dance, and BlueShift Dance. Because the concert was sponsored by BlueShfit, the theme of the show was based on BlueShift’s slogan, “Draw the Universe Closer.” Each piece brought a different perspective of the universe. Sometimes we studied the body, sometimes nature, sometimes the city, and sometimes outer space. Pieces presented by BlueShift included:

Apple Pie by Caitlin McAfee and Sarah Joy Stallsmith

Developed from a piece originally created for the Collective dance company, the work features two playful deities, who awake to discover their abilities and the world in which they inhabit, and create. With the wonder of children, they push out their boundaries further and further, discovering new, amazing things at every corner.

Reclamation by Caitlin McAfee

Inspired by the devastation caused by a string of natural disasters in past years, “Reclamation” was created to reflect an unflinching, uncaring Mother Earth and the destruction she is able to cause. Broken structures, strong winds and tornadoes, volcanoes and landslides are all represented in the movement. The dancers represent these natural forces, and also portray a phenomenon that happens to communities in crisis: coming together in support of one another.

It Takes More Than White Guilt to Stop a Pattern by Caitlin McAfee

An excerpt from “Foodless Food,” this piece is a comedic take on the subject of food deserts in Baltimore City. With a slapstick tone and physical humor, one performer represents those affected by the lack of access to or the funds to afford nutritious food. Lacking energy or the ability to change their situation, they are manipulated by the other performer, who represents those with enthusiasm and good intentions, and the misconception that they know the way forward. The work’s purpose is to encourage audience members, who are mostly white, to accept that feeling sorry for those who are disadvantaged by these circumstances, who are mostly black, is simply not enough to solve the problem.

Foodless Food (2017)

"Foodless Food" is Caitlin McAfee's magnum opus. Created over the span of a year, and based in research, this was a multi-media, immersive, evening-length series of dances exploring the issue of food deserts in Baltimore City. The inspiration for the show came from research conducted in 2014 showed that 1 in 4 Baltimore City residents live in a food desert. That means that these residents, including children and the elderly, do not have regular access to affordable, healthy foods. This contributes to diseases such as diabetes, and conditions like obesity, resulting in these residents living shorter lives. It’s an issue that generally goes unnoticed by the wider community, and it was time to draw attention to the problem, as well as some solutions.

It premiered in 2017 as part of BIDA's inaugural season, and was remounted at the 2017 Charm City Fringe Festival. At the premiere, half of the proceeds from ticket sales benefitted the Baltimarket Initiative, a virtual supermarket in Baltimore. At the Fringe Festival, half of BlueShift's ticket proceeds benefitted Boone Street Farm, and urban farm within a well-known food desert. Over two shows, BlueShift Dance raised $400 for the cause. It was featured in the Baltimore Sun ( and reviewed by DC Metro Theater Arts (

The process began with research, as any creative project should. Caitlin investigated the problem by scouring health department reports, and seeking out maps of Baltimore’s food deserts. The team began by asking, “What is a food desert?” This grew into questions about the severity of the problem, the lives of people in these areas, the persistent patterns kept in place, and how race and economic standing are involved. Caitlin also investigated solutions, visiting urban farms in the city, like Boone Street Farm. The problem, and the solutions, became much clearer throughout this investigative journey. After testing material, it was found that a light-hearted, sarcastic perspective was best for communicating a heavy subject. The show does not seek to chastise, alienate, or “preach” to its audience, but rather to include them in a similar investigative journey. For example, the audience’s written responses to, “What does it feel like to be stranded in a desert?” contribute to a soloist’s movement choices. The purpose of the show is to educate, not to scold. The dancers performing in the show act in the role of teachers, guiding the audience through a learning process that is fun at times, and heart-breaking at others.

Apple Pie 2.0 (2016)

BlueShift Dance's premiere performance, this work was presented as a part of the 2016 AKIMBO Movement Festival. Starting as a short duet created for the Collective dance company, Caitlin McAfee collaborated with Sarah Joy Stallsmith again to recreate "Apple Pie," resulting in a 2-hour, site-specific performance filled with a sense of play.

The two choreographers created what they dubbed "dark matter," which were props which could be squished, moved, tossed, discarded, and stacked by two playful deities visiting their creation for the first time. Taking human form for the first time, the two deities insist they are normal while they roll around on the concrete, stare with wonder at the leaves on a tree, and test Earthly physics through movement. They invite others to play with their environment with childlike wonder as well, by passing off pieces of dark matter, and "electrons" (ball pit balls) with which to build things. Performed in the sunshine and in torrential rain, a 1-hour story was told on a loop, and children and adults alike were encouraged to play, and enjoy their surroundings with the same childlike wonder as one who is seeing them for the first time.

The piece was later distilled and recreated to form "Apple Pie 3.0," BlueShift Dance's most well-known piece.

  • BlueShift Dance: "Apple Pie 2.0"

    BlueShift Dance "Apple Pie 2.0" Performed on Saturday, September 10, 2016 as a part of Deep Vision Dance Company's AKIMBO Festival in Baltimore, Maryland. Site: outside the Fred Lazarus IV Gallery at the Maryland Institute College of Art Choreography and Performance: Caitlin McAfee & Sarah Joy Stallsmith Prop design and construction: Sarah Joy Stallsmith Volunteers: John McAfee, Stephanie Moler
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    Photo by Zachary Z. Handler
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    Photo by Zachary Z Handler
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    Photo by Zachary Z Handler