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'Notes from a Seance' Shapiro & Smith Dance

Recommended

Shapiro & Smith Dance Presents: Notes from a Séance

Daily from Oct. 31-Nov. 2
8 p.m.
$20; $10 students; Halloween tickets are two-for-one
Dance, Holiday

Shapiro & Smith Dance reprises a sublimely spooky dance-theater work that zeros in on a 19th-century pop-culture celebrity: Russian occultist Helena Blavatsky. In Notes From a Seance, Madame B. reigns supreme over a group of seekers who fall prey to the charlatan side of spiritualism. Card readings, magic tricks, and sensual diversions are on offer at Elysium, the ancestral home of the Professor, a man who is brought to heel by powerful women. Other seekers include a Jesuit, a visionary, an acolyte, and a saucy girl expelled from convent school. The acolyte’s tongue-in-cheek letters home reveal an idea as true today as 150 years ago: Scam artists rule because fools permit it. Beautifully crafted movement in the service of divine silliness evolves into satanic rituals, including a baptism at midnight, demonic exorcism, and ecstatic possession. What more do you need for your Halloween fix? Especially when it’s performed by the company’s splendid dancer-actors, accompanied by Scott Killian’s beguiling music and witty text by Paul Selig.