"Anytown" is a dance performance by the Shapiro & Smith Dance Company using the music of Bruce Springsteen and E Street Band members Patti Scialfa and Soozie Tyrell, playing now at the Guthrie Theater in Minneapolis. It tells stories of American life, the working class, the hardships, the relationships, the emotions of a lifetime.
Some images were clear to me. I felt the need and longing from "Human Touch" (opening number), the family conflict in "Square Dance", the turmoil and conflicting emotions of "When You're Young in the City", and the sexual tension in "The Big Muddy". Other images and movements went right past me, I'm sure. I regretted not having a background in dance - for my lack of interpretation skills, as well as an envy of the dancers. They are beautiful and athletic. They look strong and powerful out there, so confident. I can't take my eyes off of them and wonder how many hours of training it must take to be so skilled and poised for an entire show like this.
I loved the staging of "Maria's Bed", with the company sitting all proper like they're in church, sweet costumes, hats, jazzy movements, and the dancer in the back on the bed and moved towards the front, like we're one way in public and another in private.
My favorite number was "St. Genevieve" because it is about a river, how it flows and floods, and like life, you can't really move away from it. The choreography truly looked like a flowing river. And, the final numbers with Laura Selle Virtucio dancing solo, then the company joining her for "Born in the U.S.A." and "Glory Days" were fantastic.
I know I missed some of the meaning and some of the story, and my techie son admits to not understanding much of it, but I chose to sit back and just watch and feel the emotions that the songs and dancers created. That was worth the drive to the cities from my home in Brainerd on a gorgeous summer night. As we left the city, just a hint of light was still on the horizon, golden and hopeful, and as we were heading north, flashes of lightning gave us a preview of the Fourth of July.
For more story and images of this performance and visit to the Guthrie, go to my writer's blog, www.maryaalgaard.blogspot.com. This show runs through Sunday, June 24. Go to www.guthrietheater.org for showtimes and tickets.