Joanie Smith of Shapiro & Smith Dance reflects on more than 30 years as Artistic Director of the contemporary dance company. Founded in 1985 by Smith and Danial Shapiro, the company distinguished itself through the collaborative creative process of its founders through which they developed work blending the athletic and the intellectual. Utilizing movement, text and often original music, Shapiro & Smith Dance established itself in New York City before relocating to the Twin Cities when Smith joined the faculty at the University of Minnesota. Now the resident company at the UMN, the group travels extensively, setting their works on dancers in professional companies and college dance departments across the country. To Have and To Hold, one of the company’s iconic pieces, has been performed by more than 600 dancers to date.

Danial Shapiro died of complications from prostate cancer in 2006. Joanie Smith continues as sole Artistic Director of the company. The collaborative development of work she so enjoyed with Danial now extends to the dancers in her company. Together they continue to tell complex stories that investigate relationships through the dramatic combination of movement and text.

Shapiro and Smith Dance Company Members
William Couture
Mianda Curro
Andrew J. Lester
Megan McClellan
Scott Mettille
Mirabai Miller
Kari Mosel
Laura Selle Virtucio

Additional Media
Shapiro & Smith Dance archives
The Boston Conservatory
Scott Killian
University of Washington
V. Paul Virtucio

The Gist
Shapiro & Smith Dance

Joanie Smith and Danial Shapiro

Fred Schmaltz

Andrew J. Lester, Dancer
Megan McClellan, Dancer
Brian Sostek, Actor reading poem

The Woman’s Club of Minneapolis

Special Thanks
Laura Selle Virtucio
Tim Welsch