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MADCO’s 'Resilience' Focuses On Battling Adversity With Movement

MADCO's show "Resilience" explores the impact of trauma through movement.
Modern American Dance Academy
MADCO's show "Resilience" explores the impact of trauma through movement.

Modern American Dance Company’s new show “Resilience” is not what you might picture when you consider a dance performance. The MADCO show features four pieces, each touching on a type of trauma — everything from losing a child to the loss of one’s sanity — with a focus on battling adversity through movement. 

One of the show’s choreographers, Carl Flink, was inspired to create a piece based on what he observed caring for his mother as she underwent chemotherapy for both breast cancer and, eventually, lymphoma. 

“I wanted to bring to the stage the idea of the energy around a fight against cancer — the intense physical commitment that it demands of the person going through this,” he said. “So the way I approached it with this piece was to have a figure — one of the cast members — suddenly, through just the simple gesture of reaching for her body, realize that something is wrong inside. Then from that moment, she falls essentially back inside her body, and we watch the physicalization of the energy of chemotherapy and the cancer itself.”

A unique aspect of the show is that the dancing won’t end after the official performances are through. After the last ticketed show, MADCO’s education director, Darrell Hyche II, will spend the next year bringing related programming to underserved schools in the area, with the hope of giving the kids the tools they need to deal with anger, familial conflict, trauma and more.

“We’ll be doing excerpts of [“Resilience”] to perform in schools, but then we’ll also go into the classrooms and work with the students about resilience and what that means in their lives, and how can they use different exercises … to be more well rounded, more emotionally sound,” Hyche said. “We tend to go to a lot of underserved schools for students who don’t get these opportunities.”

“We create a curriculum that best allows us to use dance as a method for healing,” he added.

On Tuesday’s St. Louis on the Air, Sarah Fenske spoke with Hyche, as well as MADCO’s interim director, Belicia Beck, about “Resilience” and the company’s educational outreach.

Hear their conversation:

Related Event
What: PNC Arts Alive presents "Resilience"
When: March 26-28, 2020
Where: Lindenwood's J. Scheidegger Center for the Arts - Emerson Black Box Theater (2300 W. Clay St., St. Charles, MO 63301)

St. Louis on the Air” brings you the stories of St. Louis and the people who live, work and create in our region. The show is hosted by Sarah Fenske and produced by Alex Heuer, Emily Woodbury, Evie Hemphill, Lara Hamdan and Joshua Phelps. The engineer is Aaron Doerr, and production assistance is provided by Charlie McDonald.

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Emily is the senior producer for "St. Louis on the Air" at St. Louis Public Radio.

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