When Paula David decided over Thanksgiving weekend of 2009 that she intended to start a contemporary dance company, she knew that she wanted to commission a work by her former colleague, Hubbard Street Dance’s founder Lou Conte, The ‘40s. When he agreed, she set to work on incorporation and other logistics necessary to create a non-profit organization. By Fall, 2011, The Big Muddy Dance Company began its first season with a repertoire including an eclectic mix of jazz, Broadway and contemporary styles geared to audiences of all ages.
“Our artistic vision is to invigorate life through dance,” says David who serves as the company’s Artistic Director. That vision will come to life June 20, 21 and 22 when Big Muddy presents three separate programs with the title Invigorate at The Touhill Performing Arts Center. The programs are highlighted by two world premieres, The Band by choreographer Lauri Stallings and Three for Four by a young St. Louis choreographer Kameron Saunders.
Other works on the programs include Lou Conte’s signature work The ‘40s, The Beat by New York choreographers Antonio Douthit and Kirven Boyd, Group Therapy by Harrison McEldowny and many more.
A project that Paul David and Big Muddy Managing Director Erin Warner are especially excited about combines dance, science and the elderly. Scientists will use the company as they do quantitative research on the slowing down of the progress of diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s. As part of the program, Big Muddy does performances at retirement homes and participates in workshops with the Alzheimer’s organization working with patients.
Big Muddy also seeks collaborations with other arts organizations. Presently the company works with the musical ensembles Miss Jubilee and Sh-Boom and is talking with both the Pulitzer and Missouri History Museum about future collaborations. Says Warner, “We are really excited about combining the different arts disciplines and using that combination to bring something new to light.”
In addition to a number of pre-performance programs at events such as Shakespeare Festival St. Louis and the Whitaker Jazz Series at the Missouri Botanical Garden, Big Muddy’s summer activities include its Summer Intensive Program offering three sessions of classes in ballet, contemporary jazz, improvisation and contemporary partnering, each culminating in a Showcase program by the participants.
Paula David and Erin Warner were Steve Potter’s guests on Cityscape to discuss the history and activities of the company and the three programs at The Touhill.
The Big Muddy Dance Company Presents "Invigorate"
June 20 - June 22, 2013
UMSL's Touhill Performing Arts Center's Lee Theater
Touhill Performing Arts Center Website