Ms Joan A Smith

Photo of Ms Joan A Smith

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Theatre Arts & Dance
207 Barbara Barker Dance Center

500 21st Avenue South


Joanie Smith and Danial Shapiro founded Shapiro & Smith Dance in 1987 and developed a collaborative method through which they created their work, taking turns developing material and directing the choreographic process. Danial Shapiro died in the Fall of 2006 and now Joanie Smith serves as sole Choreographer and is honing that process in new ways with the members of Shapiro & Smith Dance. Shapiro & Smith’s choreography has been commissioned by companies as diverse as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Phoenix Dance Company of Leeds, UK; and the PACT Dance Company of Pretoria, South Africa. The Company has toured all over the U.S. and abroad including four times at The Joyce Theater in New York City. Over 600 dancers in professional and university dance companies have performed, “To Have And To Hold,” aka, “Bench,” and S&S’s production of ANYTOWN, with music by Bruce Springsteen, has had more than 40 performances across the U.S. Joanie Smith and Shapiro & Smith Dance have received continued support from the National Endowment for the Arts, The McKnight Foundation, and The Target Foundation. S&S received a Sage Award in 2012 for “Outstanding Performance.” Smith was recognized as an “Artist Of The Year,” in 2011 by City Pages, Minneapolis, and was named a Fulbright Senior Scholar in Dance to Helsinki, Finland. Smith holds the Barbara Barker Endowed Chair in Dance at the University of Minnesota, an MA in Dance from UCLA, and toured the world in the companies of Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais before founding Shapiro & Smith Dance.

Educational Background & Specialties

Educational Background

Curriculum Vitae


  • Choreography
  • Modern Dance
Courses Taught
  • Dnce 4601 - Composition III
  • Dnce 3020 - Int. Mod 6
  • Dnce 4602 - Composition IV
  • Dnce 5010 - Adv. Mod 7
Research & Professional Activities

Professional Activities

  • Artistic Director, Shapiro & Smith Dance: 1985 - present
  • American College Dance Festival Association's Bi-Annual National Conference: 2003
  • Organizer, in collaboration with Marge Maddux, Barbara Barker Tribute: 2002 - 2003
  • Member, McKnight Research Award Committee: 2002 - 2003
  • Benefit Performance, The Yard, Lincoln Center's Rose Theater, New York City, NY: 2002 - 2003


  • "Ferdouganal," The World Financial Center: February 5, 2003
  • "Medea - Courting Disaster a multi-disciplinary version of Euripide's Medea": 2002
  • "In From the Cold," Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, Chicago, IL: October 25, 2003
  • Artist of The Year City Pages , 2010
  • McKnight Research Award
  • Scholar of the College, College of Liberal Arts, University of Minnesota, 2003 - 2006
  • Bush Artist Fellowship, 2000 - 2001
  • McKnight Choreographer's Fellowship, MN Dance Alliance, 2000 - 2001
  • McKnight Choreographer's Fellowship, 1999 - 2000
  • American Choreographer Award, National Corporate Fund for Dance, 1989 - 1990
  • Associate Professorship, Barbara Barker Endowed Chair, University of Minnesota, 1995 - present
  • Best Choreographer, Best of the Twin Cities, City Pages, 2002
  • Best Dance Performance of the Past 12 Months, City Pages, 2007