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Minnesota Fringe Festival

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Table dancing, ball and boob grabbing, potty mouthed dynamic duo casebolt and smith deliver complicated, unexpected, quirky and humorous dance theater. "The Nichols and May of Dance." (LA Times)

Show Description
Speaking Out is four humorous and emotionally charged experimental dance-theater duets, each vastly different in the ways they "speak" and confront notions of gender, sexuality, politics and friendship. 2 Minute Duet to Open the Show (2009) fortunately only two minutes long, is a meaningless virtuosic display of dancing, meant to wow and please more conservative dance goers with pointed feet and long lines. In The Space Provided (2006), humorous and physically complex, combines storytelling and autobiography to investigate the ways in which we weigh and measure a potential friend. After Words (2006) involves two performers discussing a potential ending for their dance. While praising and critiquing each other's choices they rehearse and question their levels of commitment when groping each other's private places. In Other Words (2008) uses a unique tactical blend of theatricality, intricately timed movement phrases and humor to illuminate how events, information, politics and emotions are distributed and interpreted; all at a 2 x 4 table.

casebolt and smith promise to deliver complicated, quirky, virtuosic dance theater rife with unexpected shifts of perspective and meaning. Gender bending, friendship mending, sensitive and unmatched in wit and grace, casebolt and smith will have you laughing, asking critical questions and leaving you wanting more.

Company Bio
While in the process of enjoying two distinctly individual careers in performance and choreography, Liz Casebolt and Joel Smith met and discovered a shared desire to make dances that confront convention. They formed casebolt and smith in 2006, and have quickly become known for their unique and innovative voice.
Called "the Nichols and May of dance" by the LA Times, their collaboration focuses on the collision of two diverse histories. The work is "powerful, compelling and hilarious" (, and offers a "marvelous aesthetic and thought-provoking worldview" (

casebolt and smith's first full evening, Popped!, a collection of humorous and unconventional dances that rupture the boundaries of collaboration, friendship and personal space, premiered in September 2006 at Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica and was re-staged at Scripps College in Claremont, 2007.

casebolt and smith was selected to participate in Hothouse; a residency at UCLA designed to foster the development of new work by Los Angeles based dance makers, curated by Victoria Marks. They presented work for Dance Under Construction 8 at UC Riverside, curated the 2-year anniversary of Anatomy Riot in Los Angeles and have toured Arizona extensively, with bookings at The Phoenix Theater, The Herberger Theater Center, The Mesa Arts Center, and the Tempe Center for the Arts. They have conducted master classes at The Marlborough School for Girls Los Angeles, ACDFA (UC Irvine), Dance Bank at the Open Space Downtown LA, and at Cal Arts in Valencia.

In 2008, casebolt and smith was selected to participate in the Performance Mix Festival at the Joyce Soho in New York City, was commissioned by Saint Joseph Ballet to create a premiere for their New Dance Festival, and in 2009 made their international debut at the Vancouver Int'l Dance Festival in Canada.

The cast

Liz Casebolt
Role: N/A

Joel Smith
Role: N/A

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casebolt and smith

casebolt and smith: Speaking Out!

Sat., Aug. 1 @ 2:30 p.m.
Sun., Aug. 2 @ 5:30 p.m.
Mon., Aug. 3 @ 5:30 p.m.
Thu., Aug. 6 @ 7:00 p.m.
Fri., Aug. 7 @ 8:30 p.m.

Venue Southern Theater
For ages 8+
Created by Liz Casebolt and Joel Smith
From Los Angeles, CA
Web site
genres Dance, Comedy
subjects Relationships, Political
features Regional premiere (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Original script/choreography, First-time Minnesota Fringe Festival producer

Overall rating

User reviews

by Joshua Humphrey Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I loved watching Casebolt and Smith. If they're ever in town again, I will be in the audience. Their relationship, their movement and dialogue is endlessly engaging. They make me sublimely jealous about what they can accomplish with their bodies while moving through space.

Beautiful. Would see again without hesitation.

Beautiful Insight
by Alex Walker Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
While I'm not much of a modern dance fan (and I didn't get into the first section of the show), I loved the middle spoken parts--particularly the piece where they revealed the improvisational way in which they create their dances.

From an artistic and a humanistic standpoint, this was an incredibly beautiful, moving performance.

by Waylon Werner Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Not sure there is anything else I can say.

Best of the Fringe
by Erika Klein Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show has everything--comedy, drama, music, dance. It will also make you think. As a modern dance newbie, I was impressed with not only the physicality of the dance movement, but also the way casebolt and smith work seamlessly together and deliver comedy that is not only funny, but touching.

A fun take on modern dance
by Eric Meininger Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
This isn't your classic modern dance. Get into the heads of the dancers as they choreograph a show. Just how a appearances created? Also, who knew you could dance while seated.

by Edwin Strout Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I caught the last show, and I'm so sorry that I couldn't have spread the word before this, but these two are incredibly talented, and damn funny at the same time. I hope that they come back to Minnesota, and if they do, I will be in line to see them.

I love learning.
by Liz Floyd Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I hope they come back next year. I saw the closing show so this review is not going to help draw more attendance for this year, but possibly encourage them to come back next year!!

There was a lot to learn in what they were teaching and I loved it all while laughing the entire time.

wonderful blend of dance and theatre
by Sarah Bauer Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I don't see much dance and always wonder if I'll be able to "get it." This duo had an amazing combination of beautiful dance moves and storytelling. I loved being able to see the creative process of creating a dance piece.

This is what Fringe is all about
by Emma Gochberg Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I am so glad I added this show to my list. Fringe is about breaking molds and this dance duo does that with a vengeance. Combining dance, comedy, poetry and performance they let us into their minds and I loved what I saw.

I would also like to say that I loved seeing an almost packed house at the Southern for an out of town dance piece. I'm assuming it's much more difficult for out of town acts to get the audiences they'd love to have but the quality of this piece proves why they're getting the numbers they are.

This show has re-invigorated me to see more dance in the coming year. Thank you.

Simply excellent
by Tim Wick Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Best dance show I've seen this year. A very creative mix of dance and commentary on dance that was both moving and funny. They have one more show so you still have a chance to check this one out. Don't miss it.

Great Show!
by je jo Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I really really really enjoyed this show. The dance itself is very interesting and engaging, and would probably have been very satisfying on its own. Nice lines, the dancers were well paired, movement was crisp and precise. I also really enjoyed the talky parts. I thought they were very funny. Overall, a very enjoyable performance. Highly recommended!

Engagin and accessible
by phillip andrew bennett low Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
An odd mix of highly physical spoken-word comedy and pure dance. Consistently engaging, although the leap from to the other can be a bit disorienting. Full review available at the Twin Cities Daily Planet.

by Johanna Lewis
Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This show just may be the highlight of the Fringe for me. Casebolt and Smith are beautiful dancers, creative choreographers, funny performers, and very appealing human beings. What a treat! A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.

Must See!
by Nancy Ruyle Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I thoroughly enjoyed this show. Casebolt and Smith reach out, connect with the audience, and bring us into their world of creating dance in a way that is both funny and touching.

Dancers Are Human
by John Munger Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This is one of the two or three best examples I’ve ever seen of how to make loopy Doug Varone-ish Release-Technique contemporary dance “accessible.” C & S have an approach that is likely to welcome and attract audiences that might not include regular dance-goers. Their best-seller item is to talk about their movement as they’re doing it, often with several layers of irony or humor. “After Words,” which depicts a rehearsal process to create a long phrase of movement, is especially effective. It isn’t just that there are amusing misunderstandings, physical accidents with apology, and grabbing of sexually charged body parts with thoughtful discussion and earnest repetition thereof. It’s that we also begin to see two people, real people, who happen to be dancers. That’s a rare and valuable accomplishment in a nation that either puts dance on an impossible pedestal or ignores it contemptuously with nothing livable between. Further, it’s in inside view for non-dancers into what goes on in rehearsals. Well, sort of. And it’s hysterically funny for dancers who have had such rehearsals (sort of) themselves. The audience of about 90 people loved this show, and so did I. For more discussion and detail see my blog at

Go see these excellent out-of-towners!
by Clarence Wethern Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Funny, sweet, honest, and damned impressive. It was beautiful, honest, and refreshingly without cynicism. I was smiling like a giddy little kid.

I loved this show.
by Valerie Rigsbee Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
These dancers are fantastically talented, funny and absolutely wonderful to watch. I'm so happy I made room in my schedule for this show.

New excitement for dance!
by Cody Stewart Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
8-1-09 @ 2:30 pm
Southern Theater

This dance piece was simple and earnest comedy in its finest. The movements were thought provoking. The spoken word utilized bridged the gap between performer and common folk: as an audience, we are able to experience the mechanics and insight into choreographing dance. Casebolt and Smith pushed the boundaries of dance in many ways in this piece as well as showing us that dance doesn't always need a lot of space. The chemistry between these friends was very powerful. I rate it a 5 out of 5.

Too talky
by David Trudeau Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I was disappointed that there was not more actual dance. The opening number was dynamite, and the closing number was interesting but over worked its concept. The talk got tedious in the middle two pieces, which seemed to me way too static.

Quite Possibly Best Of The Fringe
by Sid Solomon Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
A lovely, funny, quirky, touching, unique, and joyous performance! casebolt and smith are both highly skilled and expressive dancers, as well as honest, simple, beautiful storytellers. THIS SHOW IS A MUST SEE!

Spirit Fingers
by bill siegel Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
One of the best modern dance shows I've ever seen but it gets a little esoteric at the end.

dynamic duo dialog dance!
by Nanette Stearns Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
This was my favorite Fringe show so far (#15). I enjoyed the mixture of spoken word, dance and humor. Highly recommended. I'd love to see a longer performance and hope they come back!

A really interesting twist on dance
by Curt Lund Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
We couldn't resist the buzz around this show, and by the size of the crowd at an otherwise iffy 5:30 weekday timeslot, we were not alone by any means. A really interesting hybrid of dance and... well, other stuff. Sketch comedy, spoken word, more. Their format is definitely engaging for those of us who don't "know" dance. The final piece was great, really had me thinking the whole time. What is it about? War. No, sex. Now war again. The same thing treally, I suppose. Definitely one to check out.

charming, honest, good
by Carin Bratlie Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I don't have a huge dance vocabulary, but this show still felt accessible in spite of that. I went based on word of mouth, and was so glad I did. They are funny, adept, heartwarming, and innovative.
I loved everything about this show. Support this great out of town act!!

LOVED this
by Steve Moulds Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
They move beautifully, and their comic timing with each other is perfect. A wonderfully tongue-in-cheek look at how pretentious the artistic process can be, if you let it. You do not need to know anything about dance to know that these two are lovely.

Neo Buddy Movie
by Thomas Cassidy Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Wow. Just when I thought I'd finally figured out some consistent palette/vocabulary in dance (nondancer and nondanceable entity that I am), this shows up with feocious and very accessible originality. Let's keep these folks here. Stir up the troupes.

Non dancer.
by re gurgitate Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
I've never done dance or do not see a lot of dance performances, so I will speak only to that segment of the potential audience. When the most entertaining segments of the show are essentially non dance, that says something. The overlong last segment was very tiring. Unless you are strongly into dance, I'd fill your schedule with some other show.

Just wonderful,. in every aspect
by Florence Brammer Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
God, these two are so creative and talented, it's astounding. They move beautifully, to be sure. But this is so much more than a dance show. It's fun, poignant and smart. I've been thinking about it every since I saw it. This really is a must-see, and I sure hope they return next year.

Too many pauses
by Dave Romm Follow this reviewer
Rating 3 kitties
Three great pas de deux, all of which expand the vocabulary of dance, in a clunky presentation. The dancing is superb, and I'd normally round this up to four stars, but missed cues and long waits in the dark took their toll. A Shockwave Radio Theater Review.

Longer reviews with pictures at Baron Dave's LiveJournal and snarky comments on Facebook.

This show is creative genius!
by Jeff Miller Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
brilliant, really brilliant... and I hate modern dance, but this is absolutely amazing and I loved it. Inspires tears, laughter and sheer awe! Don't leave before the end as the last piece is masterful, justifying it's commission. Thanks to Liz and Joel for making my day. By far the best of this years Fringe for me so far.

exactly what the fringe ordered.
by Amber Bjork Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
i'm not a regular dance patron, but i like to see one dance performance every fringe. i went to this show on a friend's recommend, and i need to buy that friend a beer, because i owe her one.

something new, something unexpected...this is what i come to fringe for, and casebolt and smith did not disappoint. i found their show to be hugely accessible and engaging. their friendship is showcased and celebrated here, and it's lovely to see two artists so in tune with each other.

bonus: they do one complete routine while seated at a table. yes. a dance routine. it's amazing. and new. and unexpected. this is what i come to fringe for, remember???

Great dance+ show
by Dave Larson Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I didn't really understand the "Nichols and May" quote until I saw this show. The piece about choreography is fantastic. Very good dance, too. See it.

quirky burlesque
by dixie treichel Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Creative, crafted, humorous and political. Beautifully executed movement and text. A unique and original approach with performance.
Must See.

Stretches the limits of dance convention
by William Beeman Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Casebolt and Smith present a brilliant program of material that stretches our conception of dance. This is what we expect of the most exciting artistic presentations. They establish in the first two minute sequence that they are truly accomplished dancers. Then in subsequent pieces they add dialog to dance--no small physical achievement given the strenuousness of the movement and the exacting nature of attention to physical coordination. In the second piece they rehearse their own exploration of each others biographies and tastes showing how a dance duo builds trust and rapport. In the third section the show us that there are movements that really are never used in dance--touching intimate body parts, for example. The matter-of-fact way in which they do this is hilarious, but it also tells us about choreography and its conventions. The amazing final piece is a complex piece of choreography--interesting, varied, unexpected--but with no foot work. The two dancers are seated at a table all the time. This is a cross between dance and the most intelligent performance art I have seen in years. I was incredibly impressed. These two intelligent artists will make a huge contribution to their art. Anyone in the Fringe Festival will be privileged to see them.

Casebolt & Smith
by Christa Beverlin Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Casebolt & Smith at the Southern Theater August 1st at 230pm
Wow what a show. These two dancers were amazing. coming from out of town these two dancers jolt the stage with amazing dance and movement pieces. not only was this show fantastic but it was also funny and entertaining. The way that the characters used thir bodies and their relationship was incredible. This show was incredibly peaceful and pleasing to watch. you can tell these are two very tallented people. their outstanding dancing goes beyond. this is a MUST SEE show!
i rated this show a 5

Laughter and Beauty
by Christopher Kidder Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I love it when dance and comedy are able to merge and don't compromise either.

For more in-depth thoughts: Fringe By Numbers

by Amber Preston Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I second Matt's review. Words can't describe why I LOVED this show. Amazing technical dance skills. Hilarious dialogue. Infectious chemistry. I only wish they were local so I could I could see them over and over again. Treat yourself and see this show!

Words Fail Me. Just Go!
by Matt Sciple Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
I'm trying to describe why I loved this show so much, and words fail me. It just ends up sounding pretentious or silly, which is okay, really, because that's what it's all about. The words of these good friends and partners provide a running commentary on their movements, narrating, mocking, and supplementing their physical communication in a way that is the very opposite of pretentious. Playful, masterfully performed and choreographed, gorgeously quirky, delicate, bawdy, and strangely moving, this show is the real deal. No wait. I've got it! It's like...if Will and Grace were a much better show, and Fred and Ginger danced it! (See what I mean? Just trust me, and see for yourselves!)

Great Show !!
by Les Kuykendall Follow this reviewer
Rating 4 kitties
I am normally not a fan of dance theatre but guess what , Casebolt and Smith have turned me into one. The movement was great ! And I enjoyed the banter between the two performers . It was a fun , entertaining show that put a smile on my face. Go see it !

Top drawer dance/theater
by Jeff Pricco Follow this reviewer
Rating 5 kitties
Just returned from this show, the chemistry and fluidity between the dancer/actors is amazing. This show is humorous, eclectic and complicated. You want to see more...deserves big audiences. The Southern Theater is also a great venue for this performance.

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