© 2023 St. Louis Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

St. Louis’ dance community leaps into activism with 'Dance Speaks'

St. Louis Dancers Step-Up co-founder Keith Williams works with performers for Dance Speaks Volume I.
Sara Burke
St. Louis Dancers Step-Up co-founder Keith Williams works with performers for Dance Speaks Volume I.

For more than a year, St. Louis dance professionals have worked to create a performance responding to the death of Michael Brown.

On Friday at 7 p.m., the public can see the result of their efforts at Centene Center for the Arts, 3547 Olive St., in Grand Center. “Dance Speaks Volume I" is presented by St. Louis Dancers Step-Up, in cooperation with the Grand Center Arts Academy Theatre Department.

The evening will include a spoken-word performance by Cheeraz Gorman. Artwork by activist Damon Davis is part of the set. A 15-minute question-and-answer session and a reception will follow.

Organizers hope to arrange more stagings of “Dance Speaks” in 2016 if they secure enough funding.

When the group of more than two-dozen prominent local dancers first met last August, Dancers Step-Up co-founders Sara Burke and Keith Williams challenged them to create a response to the unrest in Ferguson.

In an email, Burke said the resulting performance is designed to “provoke thought, inspire questioning, and be a call to action for social justice, racial equality, and ultimate healing in our local and global community.”

Here’s a short bit of early “Dance Speaks” choreography from that August 2014 meeting.


‘Dance Speaks Volume I’

Where: Centene Center, 3547 Olive St., 63103

When: 7 p.m. Friday, Oct. 9

How much: Free


Follow Nancy Fowler on Twitter: @NancyFowlerSTL https://twitter.com/NancyFowlerSTL

Nancy is a veteran journalist whose career spans television, radio, print and online media. Her passions include the arts and social justice, and she particularly delights in the stories of people living and working in that intersection.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.