Sharing Dance in St. Louis

Dancers are dance educators, have lots of company, and love it all: from hip-hop to ballet

Regional Arts Commission St. Louis

Dancers, choreographers, and dance educators enjoyed a lively meeting together, discussing how dance impacts the St. Louis arts landscape.

There are several centers for dance and dance education in St. Louis, including Washington University, Webster University, Lindenwood University, COCA, and Grand Center. The Missouri Dance Organization (MDO) is a “statewide, nonprofit association that serves dance professionals at multiple stages in their careers, and assists dancers, choreographers, teachers, funding organizations, dance companies, students, writers, critics and audiences in the passionate pursuit of a career in the field of dance.”

Everyone at the community engagement table agreed that dance events are everywhere, from independent dance studios to stage productions, but public awareness of these events is not always there. One needs to actively search for events, which can sometimes be pricey for the dance community, especially students.

Dine on Dance is celebrating its 14th year of free lunchtime concerts, the latest performance at the Old Post Office on 9th Street downtown. These outdoor concerts bring dance to a wide audience that may not otherwise attend a dance events.

There are numerous kinds of dance that are flourishing, and all the Evoke participants agreed to embrace every kind of dance and dancer: ballet, modern, jazz, lindy hop, tango, burlesque, swing.

Young dancers are in St. Louis to train and work, but it is next to impossible to make a living as a dancer in St. Louis.

The Kranzberg Arts Foundation sponsors four teaching and performing dance companies: Consuming Kinetics, Ashleyliane Dance Company, Dance St. Louis and Karlovsky & Company.

Finding dance spaces for classes, rehearsal and performance can be difficult and expensive, and dance companies would welcome a central location that is easily accessible for these purposes. There was some discussion about a building in Boston with several floors of dance studios, and participants wondered if such a building exists in St. Louis, suitable for renovation and accessible by Metro.

A dance company from the East Indian tradition, Soorya Dance, mentioned that in their tradition, dancers would perform in temples, for no cost, and that sharing the art form in St. Louis similarly, in dance studios, would provide a very interesting cultural exchange.

Resources from the evening: