The Shapiro and Smith Dance Company has a reputation for performing
tales of beauty and wit that range from provocative to absurdly
hilarious. The internationally acclaimed company will bring its
"lighthearted satire and over-the-top athleticism" to
The University of Southern Mississippi for a two-week residency
that culminates in a public concert Sept. 18 in the Mannoni Performing
Arts Center auditorium.
associate professor of dance in the Department of Theatre and Dance
at Southern Miss and director of this project, credits the program's
appearance at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. in May 2002
for "reconnecting" with the company.
and performed with Joanie (Smith) and Danial (Shapiro) several years
ago when they were guest performers at an Alwin Nikolais Lecture-Demonstration
for the 7th World Conference on Gifted and Talented Children,"
Nielsen said. "I was one of two dancers chosen from the participants
in the Ririe/Woodbury summer dance workshop to perform with the
Ririe/Woodbury Company at this same lecture-demonstration. Since
then, I lost touch with them until May 2002 when our students performed
at the Kennedy Center.
Janet Prieur attended a reception while we were in Washington, and
Shapiro walked up and started talking to her. She told him about
our program, and the result was our upcoming residency with them."
Miss performance will showcase the company's latest choreographic
endeavor. Called "American Voices," the choreography uses
songs by Bruce Springsteen, Soozie Tyrell and Patti Scialfa to "reflect
the plight of regular people - the daily struggles, life challenges,
and deep intimacy that make up humankind," according to Danial
Shapiro and Joanie Smith, co-artistic directors for the company.
choices for the concert also are inspired by the images of the Farm
Service Administration photographers Eudora Welty and Walker Evans.
and Smith exhibit a great sense of humor and humanity in their work,"
said Suzanne Hirsch, a 1997 graduate of the Southern Miss dance
program. "They utilize props in their work in a very unique
way, and they are very athletic."
breathtaking physicality and emotional depth, the now seven-member
troupe has earned an international reputation for virtuosity, substance,
craft, and pure abandonment. Founded in 1985, the company began
as collaboration between Shapiro and Smith.
in the companies of Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais, the duo went
on to create their first choreography during a Fulbright Lectureship
in Helsinki, Finland. Since then, the duo's blend of contemporary
dance and dramatic theater has elicited enthusiastic receptions
across the United States, Europe, Asia and Canada.
has been presented by major festivals and venues, including the
Joyce Theater, Lincoln Center Out-of-Doors, Dance Theater Workshop,
St. Mark's DanSpace Project, PS 122, Festival di Milano, Teatro
de Danza in Mexico City, Recklinghausen RuhrFestSpiele, and the
Korean International Festival.
The local residency
will include workshops and master classes for local K-12 school,
Southern Miss students and the community-at-large. Funding for this
project is supported by the Mississippi Arts Commission, the Southern
Arts Federation, Partners for the Arts, the Hattiesburg Arts Council,
the university's vice president for Research and Economic Development
and the Honors College.
will bring a knowledge of how dance affects our lives and society,"
Hirsch said. "It will reach virtually every aspect of our community
through its classes, lecture demonstrations, concerts, and new work."
For more information
on the educational component of the company's residency, call the
Southern Miss dance program at (601) 266-4161.
the 7:30 p.m. concert in the Mannoni Performing Arts Center auditorium
are $15 general admission and $10 for students, senior citizens
(65+), Southern Miss faculty and staff and members of Partners for
the Arts. Call the Southern Miss Ticket Office at (601) 266-5418
or 800-844-8425 for tickets. Order online at www.tickets.usm.edu.
Discount tickets are available for school groups or 10 or more.
Call 266-4161 for information.