One of the daunting challenges faced by contemporary dance companies is appealing to audiences whose impression of the form has been maligned by stereotypes of plodding interpretive works that veer between willful inscrutability and tedious repetition. Thankfully, Shapiro & Smith Dance has proven the fallacy of such bias with a history of imaginatively choreographed works that combine deft physicality with propulsive music, creating unforgettable programs known to leave audiences breathless. A prime example of this driving spirit can be found in Anytown, a work that combines a soundtrack by Bruce Springsteen with emotionally charged movements to build a narrative tribute to the dreams and desires of three working-class families. Soul-crushing jobs, sabotaged ambitions, and burned-out relationships have long been lyrical fixations of the Boss, subjects that strike a defiant spark in his songs. Like Springsteen's music, the production's nine preternaturally skilled dancers navigate the tension between dour reality and soaring transcendence, each step invoking an escapist burst of unbound energy. Since previewing the work at the Southern Theater back in 2004, Shapiro & Smith has toured Anytown to nationwide acclaim. This homecoming production marks Shapiro & Smith's 25th anniversary, and adds two new movements to the piece. Caught up in the vicarious sweep of synchronized movement and music, even novice audiences will understand that the emotional power of dance needs no further interpretation. (Photo by V. Paul Virtucio)
Thursdays, Fridays, 7:30 p.m.; Saturdays, 1 & 4 p.m.; Sundays, 1 & 7 p.m. Starts: June 21. Continues through June 24, 2012
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