dance

Carmellena Blockton (black pants) and Diva Sweat Girls
Ambee's Photography

In March, Carmellena Blockton set out to provide an outlet for young girls in St. Louis to develop social skills, learn physical fitness and to increase self-confidence. Straying away from the traditional mentoring program, she chose a different approach and created a hip-hop inspired majorette dance team entitled “Diva Sweat Girls.”

Diva Sweat originally began in 2013 as an adult dance class. As time went on, Blockton noticed a need in her community and decided to take action.

This photo of St. Louis' Big Red Burlecamp was taken in St. Charles in 1963. Big Red is in the center, with guitar.
Reedy Press

When Kenneth Johnson was a young boy growing up in rural Missouri in the 1940s, his bedtime routine included music. But the sounds that lured this youngster into dreamland were the live performances of dance-hall musicians.

Lydia Berry, number 100, in orange leotard
The Muny

Ever thought about trying out for America's oldest, largest outdoor theater?

Each year, the 98-year-old St. Louis Muny holds open auditions; anyone can come. Singers and dancers try out on different weekends.

From Left, Frank Schwaiger, Nancy Fowler, Willis Ryder Arnold, Bruno David and Leslie Laskey
Donna Korando | St. Louis Public Radio

This week, St. Louis Public Radio debuts its first arts podcast,"Cut & Paste."

We invite local visual and performing artists to tell stories. Who inspires them? What are their successes? Where have they stumbled along the way? Sometimes, in the conversation, it's us doing the stumbling! But we always have fun. We hope you will, too.

Courtesy of The Big Muddy Dance Company

Ballet may be one of the last things you’d expect to see at a rock venue, but it will happen next weekend.

The Big Muddy Dance Company will perform at The Pageant on Jan. 30 — a first for both.

Kirven, right, and Antonio Douthit-Boyd
Andrew Eccles

Antonio Douthit-Boyd “stumbled upon dance” in St. Louis. Kirven Douthit-Boyd was “forced into it, really” in Boston. The pair, now principal dancers with Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York, is moving to St. Louis to become the Center of Creative Arts’ artistic directors of dance.

Antonio Douthit-Boyd
Jacob Blickenstaff Photography

For dancer Antonio Douthit-Boyd, the time has come to return the favor.

At 16, the beat of a drum lured him off the street and into a Washington Avenue dance class, where he was soon taken in as a disadvantaged prodigy. It changed his life.

Now, he and his dancer husband, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, are coming home to instruct and nurture a new generation.

“I hope that Kirven and I can do for other students what they did for me,” Antonio Douthit-Boyd said.

The Saint Louis Ballet's 'Nutcracker' features the professional company and students from the St. Louis Ballet School.
Saint Louis Ballet

“The Nutcracker” has become a holiday tradition, and is performed by countless ballet companies around the world.

“‘Nutracker,’ for ballet companies, is kind of our Super Bowl,” said Saint Louis Ballet dancer Stephen Lawrence, who plays the Cavalier in the company’s production of “The Nutcracker.”

Leverne Backstrom at the Katherine Dunham Museum
St. Louis Public Radio File Photo

An East St. Louis museum dedicated to a renowned activist and dancer faces an uncertain future.

The museum honoring the late Katherine Dunham owes $7,000 in back property taxes. A delinquent tax sale is set for Nov. 10 in the hopes that someone will pay the bill as an investment.

When Dunham died in 2006, the dancer and activist apparently willed the museum to her assistant, as well as the organization. The assistant has since died, but her heir now has an interest.

(Courtesy: Matt Menietti)

On the third Wednesday of every month there’s a unique gathering in St. Louis during the lunch hour. Dozens of people gather for Lunch Beat St. Louis to dance, eat and get away from their normal routine.

Andrew Warshauer is the organizer of Lunch Beat St. Louis, which he started last June.

“I like to say it’s a chance to slip away from the every day,” said Warshauer.

Lunch Beat started in Stockholm, Sweden, in 2010 and has spread to more than a dozen cities worldwide.

MADCO dancers rehearsing Liquid Roads
Steve Truesdell

The Whitaker Rehearsal Hall at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri St. Louis campus was filled last week with a sense of anticipation, excitement -- and a healthy dose of underlying tension.

Dancers from the Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) stretched and warmed up as choreographer Gina Patterson, MADCO Executive Director Stacy West, members of the production team, musicians for the performance and invited members of the media waited for the first complete run through of the company’s production of “Liquid Roads.”

sxc.hu | Gwenniejjj

Lithe and assured, Amanda McKerrow dances with students in the Principia College studio with the same ethereal grace and authenticity that characterized her celebrated career as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre.

One of the things that makes watching her special is that she has not performed on stage since 2006, although earlier videos of McKerrow’s exquisite artistry can be viewed online. This weekend, however, she will perform in an original piece, “Found,” choreographed by her husband John Gardner, also a former ABT soloist.

Courtesy of Hettie Barnhill

Of the dancers who performed as part of the Muny Chorus in 1962, only one of them had their own security guard.

Dilip Vashwanat

The St. Louis Symphony continues its 2011-2012 season this weekend, and you can be right there with them from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, February 19.

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are.

This is what's in store for you this Saturday:

Photo of the Week

Nov 21, 2011
M.C. Bishop / Via Flickr

Photo taken by M.C. Bishop on Flickr.com of the Raas team during Washington University's celebration of Diwali.

Join the St. Louis Public Radio Flickr group to see interesting photos taken in the St. Louis region and submit your own. Each week we feature, on our website, one outstanding photo from the group.