Shapiro & Smith have developed a collaborative process through which they create their work, taking turns developing materials and directing the choreographic process. Meeting during their years dancing with Murray Louis and Alwin Nikolais, they left in 1985 and spent a year in Helsinki, Finland on a Fulbright Lectureship grant. Since then Shapiro and Smith’s work has been commissioned by companies as diverse as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, the Alvin Ailey Repertory Ensemble, Phoenix Dance Company of Leeds, UK; and the PACT Dance Company in Pretoria, South Africa. In 2002 they have been commissioned to create a new work for Hubbard Street Dance Chicago.
For their work together Ms. Smith and Mr. Shapiro have received Fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Yard, New York Foundation for the Arts, McKnight Foundation, Minnesota State Arts Board, Metropolitan Life Foundation’s Emerging Artist Award and an American Choreographer’s Award from The National Corporate Fund. Ms. Smith has been recognized with a Bush Fellowship in Choreography for 2000/01 and they are joint recipients of a 2001 McKnight Choreographer Fellowship. Shapiro and Smith have built international reputations as teachers, teaching at major international festivals and setting repertory for many college or university dance programs throughout the US. Shapiro & Smith Dance has participated in the NYU Tisch School of the Arts Summer Residency Program since 1990. Ms. Smith currently holds the Barbara Barker Endowed Chair in the Department of Theater Arts and Dance at the University of Minnesota, Minneapolis.