Dance St. Louis

Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company

PNC Bank will distribute $1 million over the next four years to help fund arts groups in the St. Louis region.

The grants, part of PNC's Arts Alive funding initiative, have a larger focus than just keeping organizations afloat in the short term.  They aim to inspire lasting programs that reinvigorate arts organizations.

Since 2011, the Arts Alive program has distributed $2 million to established theater companies, museums and dance companies. Recipients include Dance St. Louis, Opera Theater of St. Louis and The Muny. 

One dancer removes her mask to pluck something from her eye in a mirror while other dancers form a line behind her.
Willis Ryder Arnold | St. Louis Public Radio

When choreographer and performance artist Audrey Simes decided to dance to address years of radioactive contamination and the health concerns of people who live near Coldwater Creek in north St. Louis County, she knew she had a big challenge.

Dance can be a powerful and expressive art form. But could she use it to cover such complex territory? Her piece, “Tributary,” has been several months in the making. Simes wants the choreography to make environmental issues accessible to a broad audience.

Michael Uthoff, second from left, talks with students, along with Dance St. Louis’ Janet Brown. (Brown is in the middle on the right-hand side of the photo).
Dance St. Louis

Dance St. Louis is under new leadership as it winds down its 50th season, after executive and artistic director Michael Uthoff announced he's leaving after 10 years.

"I’m 72 and I figure I need some time to smell the roses," Uthoff said.

Famed choreographers Dianne McIntyre and Bebe Miller discussed their parts in Dance St. Louis' production of New Dance Horizons IV.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio

Dance St. Louis’ fourth installment of “New Dance Horizons” celebrates Black History Month. It will highlight the works of three nationally-renowned African-American choreographers inspired by those who came before them.

Miles Davis and Maya Angelou were two such artists with St. Louis ties that inspired choreographers Bebe Miller and Dianne McIntyre, respectively, as they created pieces that will be performed by St. Louis dancers this weekend.

The work in "Visualizing Life: Social Justice in Real Time" includes that of (left to right) Howard Barry, Annetta Bentil and Gundia Lock-Clay.
Freida Wheaton

What do you call a group of visual artists inspired by the death of Michael Brown and the social-justice movement it spawned? St. Louis curator Freida Wheaton calls them the “Sweet 16.”

It’s a nod to their numbers as well as a reference to their niche. On Feb. 26-27, you can see the work of these St. Louis artists at the Touhill, in conjunction with “New Dance Horizons IV.”

Aine O'Connor | St. Louis Public Radio

Heather McGinley was born in St. Louis and graduated from O’Fallon Township High School in 2001. Now, she’s returned to the region with the Paul Taylor Dance Company, performing Oct. 2 and 3 at the Touhill Performing Arts Center as the 50th season opener for Dance St. Louis.

“I’ve been dancing professionally in New York for seven years,” said McGinley on Friday’s “Cityscape.” “This will be my first performance in St. Louis since beginning that career.”

right to left, Antonio Douthit-Boyd, Alicia Graf-Mack, Jamar Roberts and Kirven Douthit-Boyd in Alvin Ailey performance
Andrew Eccles

St. Louisans will get to see three former Alvin Ailey dancers — who now live in the Gateway City — in a Dance St. Louis showcase next February.

The performance will feature St. Louis native Antonio Douthit-Boyd, his husband, Kirven Douthit-Boyd, and dancer Alicia Graf-Mack. Last January, the Douthit-Boyds announced they were leaving the prestigious Ailey company and moving to St. Louis to work at COCA. Graf-Mack had already made a new home in St. Louis.

Brazilian dance troupe Compagnie Käfig
Agathe Poupeney / (Provided by Dance St. Louis)

Fans of dance in St. Louis are in for a treat this weekend, with National Dance Week - St. Louis taking over Grand Center and an exciting dance performance at the Touhill Performing Arts Center.  

Dance St. Louis presents Compagnie Käfig, a male Brazilian dance troupe that has been selling out performances on their U.S. tour and will perform at the Touhill this weekend.

Normandy High School students learn ballet from Dance Theatre of Harlem's teaching artists Theara Ward
Willis Ryder Arnold / St. Louis Public Radio

This weekend, the Dance Theatre of Harlem performs as part of the Dance St. Louis fall season. Yet the company is here to teach as well as perform. Since Oct. 27, teaching artist Theara Ward has been teaching ballet and diaspora history at Normandy High.

“The main thing is for young people to understand history, how they connect to history and how history connects to them, their culture, their community, but also how the arts can be used as a powerful tool to express yourself,” Ward said. 

Courtesy Chicato Tap Theatre

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.

Ellyxandria Ferguson

Updated Friday, April 25, 2014 to include audio from Cityscape.

Growing up in north St. Louis, Antonio Douthit dreamed of dancing with the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater. The story of his rise from homeless kid to COCA prodigy to Ailey dancer is legend in the St. Louis arts world.

Joan Lipkin has been creating theater with people who have disabilities since 1996, when she co-founded the DisAbility Project.  An outgrowth of That Uppity Theatre Company, of which Lipkin is artistic director, the DisAbility Project brings together amateur and professional performers of all abilities to create theater based on lived experience.

Marianne Leach

When a symphony orchestra performs Carl Orff’s “Carmina Burana,” it’s always something of a spectacle.  The stage is packed to the brim with a large orchestra including two pianos and celeste, vocal soloists, a chorus and children’s chorus.  But Nashville Ballet Artistic Director Paul Vasterling’s vision of “Carmina Burana” employing 120 singers, 60 orchestral musicians and 40 dancers takes the work to new proportions. 

Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company

Dance St. Louis' season opener features four world premieres performed by four St. Louis professional dance companies.  The Saint Louis Ballet, Leverage Dance Theater, MADCO, and Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company are teaming up to open the 2012-2013 season with “New Dance Horizons.”

The dance and percussion company STOMP is in town this weekend for its Dance St. Louis performances at the Fox Theatre.