|Photo by V. Paul Virtucio|
|Kari Mosel and company in Anytown. |Shapiro & Smith Dance
have brought back a popular merging of movement and one of the biggest names in rock music for a four-show run at the Guthrie Theater. Anytown
, which presents dance in conjunction with the music of Bruce Springstreen, premiered in 2005 and was the brainchild of company founders Joanie Smith and the late Daniel Shapiro.
The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary in 2012 by taking looks back to the past. Also, "the Guthrie said yes, and we thought how wonderful it would be to bring a dance that is also theater to a theater audience," Smith says.
The seeds of the show were sewn in the 1980s, when Shapiro and Smith lived in New York City. Her sister is Soozie Tyrell, and Tyrell's best friend is Patti Scialfa. For those of you who don't know your Boss back story: Scialfa went on to be part of the E. Street Band and Springsteen's wife. Tyrell has been a part of his touring band for more than a decade.
"We'd invite Soozie and Patti over. They'd play music and we'd dance," Smith says. "Danny and I had always thrown the idea around of doing a show based on Springsteen's music, and when he was diagnosed with cancer in 2002 we decided we needed to do the things we always meant to do."
|Image by V. Paul Virtucio|
After conversations with Tyrell, Scialfa, and eventually Springsteen, the go-ahead for the piece was set. From there, it was a matter of selecting the songs for the dances. The choreographers quickly discovered that the numerous rock anthems -- from "Born to Run" to "Badlands" to the full-band version of "Born in the U.S.A." -- pushed the pieces. "We had to dance with the beat, and with that there was no turning back," Smith says.
Instead, they looked to some of the other byways of the Springsteen catalogue, from an acoustic version of "Born in the U.S.A." to a stripped down version of The Rising's "Empty Sky." Which features only Springsteen and Scialfa. Both Tyrell and Scialfa contributed pieces for the show as well.
"They are not easy songs. The lyrics are dense. These are works of art -- they don't need a dance to them," Smith says. "We try to stay in the same emotional coloring of the songs instead of doing every little thing the lyrics say. I don't think his music could ever underscore the dancing. At best we exist side by side."
Shapiro continued to battle cancer throughout the development of the piece, and through its premiere and original tour in 2005. He passed away in 2006. Smith admits the revival is bittersweet.
"This was really Danny's baby. He promoted it and arranged the tours. It kept him alive. He was already on chemo when we began the tour, but he was just determined to dance this show," she say.
Anytown "definitely has one foot in dance and one foot in theater. Danny had always wanted to do it at an Off-Off-Broadway theater. Doing it at the Guthrie is one way of making that dream happen," Smith says.
IF YOU GO
Dowling Studio, Guthrie Theater
818 S. Second St., Minneapolis
Thursday through Sunday
For tickets and information, call 612.377.2224 or visit online
818 S. 2nd St., Minneapolis, MN