Dance | St. Louis Public Radio


MADCO dancers rehearsing Liquid Roads
Steve Truesdell

The Whitaker Rehearsal Hall at the Touhill Performing Arts Center on the University of Missouri St. Louis campus was filled last week with a sense of anticipation, excitement -- and a healthy dose of underlying tension.

Dancers from the Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) stretched and warmed up as choreographer Gina Patterson, MADCO Executive Director Stacy West, members of the production team, musicians for the performance and invited members of the media waited for the first complete run through of the company’s production of “Liquid Roads.” | Gwenniejjj

Lithe and assured, Amanda McKerrow dances with students in the Principia College studio with the same ethereal grace and authenticity that characterized her celebrated career as a principal dancer with American Ballet Theatre.

One of the things that makes watching her special is that she has not performed on stage since 2006, although earlier videos of McKerrow’s exquisite artistry can be viewed online. This weekend, however, she will perform in an original piece, “Found,” choreographed by her husband John Gardner, also a former ABT soloist.

Pelagie Green Wren, The First Black Dancer At The Muny, Dies At 71

Sep 27, 2013
Courtesy of Hettie Barnhill

Of the dancers who performed as part of the Muny Chorus in 1962, only one of them had their own security guard.

Rashad Rounds
Provided by Mr. Rounds | St. Louis Beacon | 2013

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Rashad Rounds grew up Olivette and graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School in 2001. Shortly after that, he launched himself into the LA dance scene. During his time there, Rounds -- who uses the name Wizdom Truth -- danced for Usher, on “Dancing With the Stars” and worked with major choreographers. But finding his way from St. Louis to Los Angeles wasn’t easy.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: Like many artists, dancer Antonio Douthit hears a different drummer. But the drumbeat that changed his life at 16 wasn’t in his head. It wafted from a window on Washington Avenue.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: When you enjoy a dance presentation, you expect to be moved, emotionally. But in an upcoming Leverage Dance Theater performance, the audience actually travels with the modern dance concert to three separate locations.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 19, 2012 - When Venezia Manuel was a little girl, she idolized iconic Alvin Ailey dancer/choreographer Judith Jamison. Now, at 18, Manuel is also larger than life. Literally.

For many months, her soaring image has graced SIUE billboards and promotional flags on both sides of the river. After a student was recently upset about the removal of one of the billboards, Manuel, 18, felt the weight of being a role model.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 2, 2012 - Triple-threat performer Keith Williams learned to dance the way he learned to walk and talk.

With the whole family watching, clapping and making their own moves, the youngest of seven grew up getting down, at home and at church picnics in mid-century East St. Louis.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 6, 2012 - My take on Thomas Wolfe's observation that "you can't go home again" is that going home again has very little to do with physically being back in the house where you grew up in or on the street where you lived. Actually, it has significantly more to do with emotions, with the disappointment and futility of attempts to capture the fugitive past, and with the usually unanswered longing to lose oneself in a mythic home where one hopes the imagined warmth and security of childhood hide out.

Dilip Vashwanat

The St. Louis Symphony continues its 2011-2012 season this weekend, and you can be right there with them from 8 p.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, February 19.

On select Saturday evenings, St. Louis Public Radio broadcasts the Symphony's performance over the air, bringing you a live classical music experience wherever you are.

This is what's in store for you this Saturday:

Photo of the Week

Nov 21, 2011
M.C. Bishop / Via Flickr

Photo taken by M.C. Bishop on of the Raas team during Washington University's celebration of Diwali.

Join the St. Louis Public Radio Flickr group to see interesting photos taken in the St. Louis region and submit your own. Each week we feature, on our website, one outstanding photo from the group.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 27, 2011 - Female dancers not only get tutus and toe shoes, they also get something else males don't: acceptance.

Little girls who dance are called graceful and talented. Little boys are sometimes called sissies and worse. In "Billy Elliot the Musical," opening at the Fox Theatre Nov. 1, young Billy tries to hide his dancing from his father and brother, British coal miners on strike in 1984. He ultimately suffers their ridicule and that of their poor mining community.

Martha Graham Dance Company returns to St. Louis

Oct 13, 2011

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Oct. 13, 2011 - Back in St. Louis this weekend for the first time in 20 years, the Martha Graham Dance Company will perform an array of dances at the Touhill that span the choreographer's illustrious eight-decade career.

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 9, 2011 - Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater's three performances at the Fox Theatre this weekend are part of an extensive national tour celebrating the 50th year of Ailey's signature ballet "Revelations," a tribute to the late choreographer's childhood and African-American heritage.

An American classic, "Revelations" has been seen by more people throughout the world than any other work of modern dance. Set to the melodies of traditional gospel spirituals, the ballet explores multiple facets of African-American religious life. On a universal level, the ballet represents fundamental aspects of the human condition: grief, joy, struggle and belonging. Yet the work is also intensely personal.

Reading, writing and merengue

Dec 10, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Dec. 10, 2009 - "What is your favorite ballroom dance?" The replies were mixed from a group of students standing outside the St. Katharine Drexel gym in St. Louis.

Fifth grader DeMarnesha Jones voted for Swing, while Brian Wilson said his favorite was Tango.

St. Louis swing tradition still going strong

Mar 25, 2009

Thi article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, March 25, 2009 - When national swing champions Joe and Eva Renda glide onto any ballroom floor in St. Louis, they bring with them the majestic era when Imperial swing dance ruled the nightclubs and dance halls throughout the city.

"There were more of us into swing dance," Joe Renda recalls. Old dance halls like Tune Town, which Joe remembers cost just 25 cents to enter, and the outdoor Highland Ballroom served as the main source of entertainment for the men and women of his youth.

Twyla Tharp's work comes to the Fox

Feb 26, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 26, 2009 - This weekend, Dance St. Louis brings the Kansas City Ballet to St. Louis to perform works by Twyla Tharp.

Her name has become synonymous with modern dance that acknowledges popular culture. Her work has won a host of dance awards, plus a Tony and two Emmys. She has been acknowledged with the National Medal of the Arts and Kennedy Center Honors. To top that off, her success has led to more traditional troupes being willing to experiment and add avant garde works to their repertoire.

Wonderboy mixes original music, storytelling and dance

Feb 17, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Feb. 17, 2009 - Wonderboy, which the Joe Goode Performance Group presents this weekend at the Edison Theatre, features an unexpected luminary: an ultra-sensitive little creature that is played by a puppet. Seven dancers take turns operating this three-foot amalgamation of wood, plaster and cloth, and make it become human. Together they investigate the physical, psychological and emotional dimensions of human experience.

Pilobolus had an unusual start - and stayed that way

Jan 19, 2009

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, Jan. 19, 2009 - The 37-year-old dance company Pilobolus is well known around the world for its imaginative and athletic explorations of human interaction in space. It's been six years since this ever-inventive ensemble, widely recognized for its collaborative approach to making dances, has performed on a St. Louis stage.

Paul Taylor brings world premiere to St. Louis

Nov 18, 2008

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon: November 18, 2008 - Paul Taylor is in St. Louis this week to direct the world premiere of Beloved Renegade, a work for 15 dancers inspired by the 19th century American poet Walt Whitman. The motivation for the dance was Leaves of Grass , a volume of 12 free-verse poems that exalt the body and soul as one.