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Commentary Detail

Dance Across The Region
Commentary by: Nancy Kranzberg
Aired December 02, 2011


It's time for the Nutcracker again. Every year I wonder if I can sit through it another time and then I take my grandkids to see Gen Horiuchi's marvelous St.Louis Ballet's performance at The Touhill and am enraptured once again. This year one can see The Nutcracker performed by the Moscow Ballet at the Peabody as well as a performance by the Alexandra Ballet at the Purser Center in Chesterfield.

Even if itís not Nutcracker season, one can see dance in all its forms in our wonderful art filled city.

Dance St Louis, our great presenter, has a season filled to the brim with excitement including such incredible troupes as The Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theatre, The Joffrey Ballet, and even musicals such as West Side Story and collaborations such as The Hubbard Street Dance Company performing with The St.Louis Symphony.

Michael Uthoff, Dance St.Louis's artistic director, deserves kudos for his Spring to Dance performed each spring at the Touhill. The festival showcases companies from the Midwest and elsewhere and tickets are reasonably priced. Some of the performances were sold out! Uthoff is busy planning the 2012 festival and says,"I'm trying to develop in the audience a knowledge of what is out there that's new, that's different, that's exciting so that Dance St.Louis can become not only a touring stop for good dance, but the starting point for great dance. That includes companies based in the St.Louis area."

And of course this past fall Grand Center presented its fifth annual Dancing in the Streets Festival which included more than 60 local and regional dance companies with close to 1000 dancers performing many types of dance on 4 stages. The festival offered many types of dance instruction including: The Lindy Hop, salsa, Zumba and the latest music from "Shake it Up" with the help of the Radio Disney dance team. Quixotic Fusion was this year's main attraction which performed on the exterior of the Grandel Theatre from the ground to heights of 50 feet.

Next month Brian Brooks Moving Company will present "MotorĒ at the Edison Theatre at Washington University. Within its vibrant, large-scale installation, dancers wrestle with themselves and one another in sequences that amplify our linear perception of time. Structuring informal movement in a formal way, choreographer Brian Brooks builds each moment off the previous one, creating a never-ending chain reaction.

Of course COCA, the center of creative art, is known for its CocaDance program lead by Lee Nolting, which offers classes in African Dance as well as pre-professional dance classes. Several students are now well known professionals performing in major dance companies. One student, Antonio Douthit, is a principal dancer with the Alvin Ailey Troupe and Rodney Hamilton performs with Ballet Hispanico and the list goes on.

MADCO recently performed a work entitled "Pulse" at the Touhill which included live music. Stacey West, the artistic and executive director, says "Itís completely different than recorded music-in what you feel and what you experience-when you've got that live music right there next to you. The opportunity for an audience to feel that rhythm is unlike anything else."

Atrek Dance Collective had its Impulse to Dance Festival this past summer. The festival is a two-week dance intensive designed for intermediate and advanced dancers. Students participate in full day and or evening workshops taught by nationally recognized guest faculty to develop technique, peformance, partnering, improvisation and composition skills.

And I can't forget Black Family Life's annual Black Dance U.S.A, a Celebration of Movement held at the Edison Theatre which has featured such world class troupes as Munta Dance Theatre and Garth Fagan's Bucket Dance Theatre.

You don't have to be a couch potato stuck with "Dancing With the Stars", you can go out and see a real live performance of the real thing right here in our town.


(The opinions expressed are not necessarily those of St. Louis Public Radio.)

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Nancy Kranzberg

Nancy Kranzberg

Arts Aficionado Nancy Kranzberg has been involved in the arts community for some thirty years. She serves on numerous arts affiliated boards, including The St. Louis Art Museum, Laumeier Sculpture Park where she is the Co-Chair, The Sheldon Arts Foundation and the Sheldon Art Gallery Board, Jazz at the Bistro, The Missouri Mansion Preservation Inc., The Mid American Arts Alliance, and the Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis. Nancy was named Women of Achievement and was awarded the Distinguished Alumnae Award at Washington University Nancy is a docent at the St. Louis Art Museum and is an honorary docent at Laumeier Sculpture Park. At age 60 she became a Jazz singer. She performs with the Second Half which features Chancellor Tom George on the piano.

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