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Big Muddy Dance Company: ‘I don’t know if you can put us in one category – that’s what defines us’

The Big Muddy Dance Company's Erin Warner Prange and Robert Poe.
Kelly Moffitt | St. Louis Public Radio
The Big Muddy Dance Company's Erin Warner Prange and Robert Poe.

This weekend, The Big Muddy Dance Company will celebrate the ends of its sixth year in show business. Since its inception, the company has grown and begun touring the Midwest.

On Thursday’s St. Louis on the Air, contributor Steve Potter chatted with members of the troupe about upcoming efforts. Erin Warner Prange, the company’s executive director, and Robert Poe, a dancer with the company, joined the program.

The 11-member Big Muddy Dance Company performs a wide variety of dance styles, which is what members of the company say defines it.

“I would not like to label it, which is exactly how I would define our company,” said Prange. “We definitely have some ballet, contemporary and jazz. We even have some theater. I don’t know if you can put us in one category – that’s what defines us.”

“I would say there’s one definition of us: I think we’re classy,” Poe said. “Classy but not classical.”

This weekend marks the culmination of the company’s sixth season with a “Spring at the Sun” program at the Sun Theater in Grand Center. The program comprises four different pieces of work.

The first piece will be performed by the Elevate Project, a specialized program designed for advanced pre-professional dancers ages 14-18. The second piece, is a crowd favorite: “Diphthong,” choreographed by Brian Enos. The third and fourth pieces will be world premiere performances, one by guest choreographer Kevin Jenkins and the other by Enos. 

Later this month, the company will also be a part of the Drea’s Dream Gala, which raises funds for dance therapy and expressive movement programs for children with cancer and special needs. The company will be joined by the Pazazz Performers, Ashleyliane Dance Company and the Washington University Dance Collective.

The group has also expanded its outreach to include open classes, summer intensives and the Senior Embrace Program, which brings the dance company to 30 retirement homes in the area every season. Now, the company is bringing a hands-on movement workshop for Alzeheimer’s disease and dementia patients to those locations.

“We’re trying to change people’s lives, we’re trying to give them a new perspective, we’re trying to make their lives better through dance and through exposing them to new ideas in dance,” Prange said of the company's mission.

Listen to the full discussion here:

Related Events

What: The Big Muddy Dance Company Presents "Spring At The Sun"
When: Saturday, April 8 at 8 p.m. and Sunday, April 9 at 2 p.m.
Where: Sun Theater, 3625 Grandel Square, St. Louis, MO 63108
More information.

What: 7th Annual Drea’s Dream Gala
When: Saturday, April 29 at 7 p.m.
Where: Edison Theatre at Washington University, 6465 Forsyth Blvd, St. Louis, MO 63105
More information.

St. Louis on the Air brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. St. Louis on the Air host Don Marsh and producers Mary EdwardsAlex Heuer and Kelly Moffitt give you the information you need to make informed decisions and stay in touch with our diverse and vibrant St. Louis region. 

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Kelly Moffitt joined St. Louis Public Radio in 2015 as an online producer for St. Louis Public Radio's talk shows St. Louis on the Air.

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