It’s not often that 30 different professional dance companies perform in the same place on the same weekend. But it’s happening this weekend at the Touhill. Beginning Thursday, May 22 and ending Saturday, May 24, ten different professional companies will perform each night, representing a spectrum of dance styles and locales over the course of the three nights.
St. Louis is represented by at least one local company per night, with performances by The Big Muddy Dance Company, Leverage Dance Theater, Saint Louis Ballet, Common Thread Contemporary Dance and MADCO.
The Spring to Dance Festival is a great opportunity for both the dance aficionado and the dance novice to see a range of performances they might not otherwise be able to see in St. Louis, said Dance St. Louis Artistic and Executive Director Michael Uthoff.
With such a great variety of dance available, the novice will be exposed to breadth of the art form’s expression and come to understand just how accessible it is, said Uthoff. And for those who already make it a practice to see dance performances whenever possible, the festival is a chance to see dance companies that might not otherwise perform in St. Louis.
Dance styles in the festival range from contemporary and ballet to hip hop and tap, and performers hail from locales throughout the country.
One of the thirty companies performing in the festival this year is Chicago Tap Theatre. On Saturday they will premiere a new piece called “Build.”
Because music is so fundamental to tap, Chicago Tap Theatre includes live musicians as well as dancers, said founder and artistic director Mark Yonally. For this show they have bass, guitar, violin and drums.
“It’s so much fun when you get to dance to live music,” said Chicago Tap Theatre dancer and business manager Jennifer Yonally. “Especially as tap is such a musical art form. And sometimes you get to improve with live musicians, which really just makes it collaborative.”
As the last names might suggest, Mark and Jennifer Yonally are partners in life as well as business.
In addition to speaking about their own upcoming performance, the Yonallys discussed the companies they were most excited to see perform. Uthoff also described some of the festival’s highlights.
“The festival is a little bit like a buffet,” he said. One minute you are watching Camille A. Brown & Dancers from New York, the next you are watching RAWdance from San Francisco.
Each night has three sets of performances, all covered by the same $15 ticket. However, in order to reserve a seat in the intimate space of Lee Theater, audience members must obtain a pass. The passes are handed out, first come first serve, in the Touhill’s Upper Lobby beginning at 5:00 p.m.
Dance St. Louis Presents "Spring to Dance 2014"
May 22 - 24, 2014
5:30 p.m. – Terrace Lobby performances
6:00 p.m. – Lee Theater performances
7:30 p.m. – Anheuser-Busch Performance Hall performances
UMSL's Touhill Performing Arts Center
For more information, call 314-516-4949 or visit the Touhill Performing Arts Center website.