Big Muddy Dance Company | St. Louis Public Radio

Big Muddy Dance Company

October 4, 2019 Gene Dobbs Bradford Tom Ridgely
Emily Woodbury | St. Louis Public Radio

The late, great jazz composer and bandleader Duke Ellington once said, “Whether it be Shakespeare or jazz, the only thing that counts is the emotional effect on the listener.” 

In the summer of 1956, Ellington found himself seriously digging the bard. Inspired by his encounters with the Stratford Shakespeare Festival while on tour in Stratford, Ontario, he composed a 12-part suite titled “Such Sweet Thunder.” The title comes from “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” but the title track is actually about “Othello.” This work, suffice it to say, is complicated.

A collaboration among Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, Nine Network of Public Media, Jazz St. Louis and the Big Muddy Dance Company, the new production of “Such Sweet Thunder” incorporates Ellington’s music with Shakespeare’s words. It premiered Thursday in Grand Center. And on Friday, Gene Dobbs Bradford, president and CEO of Jazz St. Louis, and Tom Ridgely, executive producer of Shakespeare Festival St. Louis, shared the story behind this new “Such Sweet Thunder” on St. Louis on the Air

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

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.

Choreographer Stephanie Martinez worked with Big Muddy Dance Company to create a piece inspired by Chilean poet Gabriela Mistral, who died in 1957.
Provided | Dance St. Louis

A 20th century Chilean poet who wanted her daughter to be more than just a princess is the inspiration for a dance performance on stage in St. Louis this weekend at the Touhill.

The dance that is rooted in the poem is called “Destino, Roto.” It’s one of three pieces in Dance St. Louis’ “Women Who Inspire,”  the name of the organization’s fifth annual New Dance Horizons presentation.

New dance addresses Coldwater Creek contamination

May 26, 2016
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.

Big Muddy Dance Company

A lot of things have changed in the past five years for Big Muddy Dance Company, but one thing has not: the dedication of the group’s original core members, most of whom are still performing with the company. That’s pretty inspiring, mostly because the group has completely changed the tone and tenor of its dance style over that period of time.

Dance Company Takes Over The Pageant

Jan 23, 2015
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.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 20, 2013 - As of this weekend, Big Muddy Dance Company will have completed two full seasons of dance in St. Louis. To end its second season, the group of now 14 dancers will present a diverse body of work with “Invigorate,” which will be performed at the Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center at 8 p.m. Thursday, June 20, Friday, June 21, and Saturday, June 22.

When Paula David decided over Thanksgiving weekend of 2009 that she intended to start a contemporary dance company, she knew that she wanted to commission a work by her former colleague, Hubbard Street Dance’s founder Lou Conte, The ‘40s.  When he agreed, she set to work on incorporation and other logistics necessary to create a non-profit organization.