Shapiro & Smith Dance to premier ‘Narcissus’ at Cowles Center

Shapiro & Smith Dance to premier ‘Narcissus’ at Cowles Center

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Erin Harney 

Marketing & Communications Associate 

Shapiro & Smith Dance             



Shapiro & Smith Dance to Premiere “Narcissus” at The Cowles Center  


MINNEAPOLIS – Shapiro & Smith Dance will return to The Cowles Center this April to premier “Narcissus.” In the digital age of the “selfie” and social media, self-reflection can turn into self-obsession at the push of a button. Shapiro & Smith Dance’s newest work, “Narcissus” takes audiences down a path of mirrors where we see how our preoccupation with image might distort how we see ourselves and how we think others see us.


This world premier by Artistic Director Joanie Smith will bring company members and guest artists together with newly commissioned music by Soozie Tyrell of Bruce Springsteen’s E Street Band and New York composer Scott Killian on The Cowles Center stage for Shapiro & Smith Dance’s 27th season, April 17-29, 2014.


After 2009’s mythical “Medea Medea,” inspired by Euripides’ Greek tragedy, and 2011’s American folkloric “Burning Air,” based on the Great Hinckley Fire of 1894, “Narcissus” continues Smith’s exploration of epic stories of human experience to find the threads that tie people together in their everyday existence. Never interested in a retelling of dog-eared classics; Smith’s work is a new telling, inspired by the similarly-named work by ancient Greek poet Ovid.


Shapiro & Smith Dance will also bring its 1996 work “What Dark/Falling Into Light” back to the stage with a new cast of dancers charged with carrying its story to a new audience. Choreographed by Smith and her late husband Danial Shapiro as a meditation on the Holocaust (Danial Shapiro’s grandmother was a Holocaust Survivor), this two-part dance captures how the Human Spirit can only begin to understand the incomprehensible through experience and empathy.


Set to music by Killian and text by five-time Obie Award recipient and Guggenheim Fellow David Greenspan, “What Dark/Falling Into Light” strips away the layers that protect us from some of the harsh indignities of humanity until we find dignity in our vulnerability. This piece contains partial nudity in the final part of the work.


“Jack,” first seen last season at The Cowles Center features company veterans Scott Mettille and Andrew Lester. The piece created by Smith features text written and adapted by Brian Sostek, a Twin Cities based writer, actor and dancer. An investigation of the origins of nursery rhymes like Jack Be Nimble and Little Jack

 Horner, the work was described by Caroline Palmer writing for the Star Tribune as, “ . . . not so cheery, with hilarious results.” The dancers were described as “a darn good team, merging comic sensibility with playful animosity plus a hint of vaudevillian style.”


The evening will also feature “Dance with Two Army Blankets.” The piece was last seen at the 2013 Sage Awards, where Shapiro & Smith Dance was again nominated for Outstanding Performance and Outstanding Design after receiving a 2012 Sage for Outstanding Performance. First performed in 1992, this physically daring and aggressive romp sends five dancers spinning and flying to the music of Toby Twining, a 2011 Guggenheim recipient. This dynamic piece has also been in the repertory of Alvin Ailey II and TU Dance. Smith brings the piece back to Minneapolis audiences with her current roster of virtuosic dancers.



April 17 - 19, 2014

Thur-Sat at 8:00 PM



$27-$31 (fees inclusive)

Group sales: A 20% discount is available for groups of 10 or more



Tuesday-Friday, 11 AM – 5 PM; Saturday & Sunday, 2 hours prior to performances

Phone: 612-206-3600


In person: 528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403



The Cowles Center for Dance & the Performing Arts

528 Hennepin Avenue, Minneapolis, MN 55403





Shapiro & Smith Dance, the creative and presentation vehicle for the choreography of Joanie Smith seeks to use dance to articulate culture, express feelings, and explore ideas for a broad audience. The company enjoys a reputation for performing tales of beauty and biting wit that run the gamut from the searingly provocative to absurdly hilarious. The dancers move with a breathtaking physicality and emotional depth that has earned the company an international reputation for virtuosity, substance, craft, and abandon.


Founded in 1987, the company began as a collaboration between Danial Shapiro and Joanie Smith who met while dancing for Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais. They created their first choreography during a Fulbright Lectureship in Helsinki, Finland. Their blend of contemporary dance and dramatic theater has been presented throughout the U.S., Canada, Europe, and Asia by major festivals and venues including the Joyce Theater, Dance Theater Workshop, St. Mark’s DanSpace Project, P.S. 122, Festival di Milano, Teatro de Danza in Mexico City, Recklinghausen RuhrFestSpiele, and the Korean International Festival. Their work has been in the repertories of the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago among many others. Shapiro & Smith Dance is a 2012 recipient of a Sage Award for Outstanding Performance. 




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