Performing Arts Department Faculty and Students join forces with "Dance the Vote"

- October 5th, 2018

On October 6th, members of the Performing Arts Department will join forces with other dance companies from across the region to take part in "Dance the Vote"  According to Cecil Slaughter, Professor of Practice in Dance and Artistic Director of WUDance Collective, "WUDC is performing two works.  One by dance major Gabrielle Samuel (LA '20), The Burden of Care, which will focus on the current struggles of people citywide, nationwide, worldwide are constantly and instantaneously made known to us. Who and what is it our responsiblity to care for and about? Who are we thinking about and caring for when we vote?"  The other dance, Rise was choreographed by Slaughter and is an homage to the most recent women's movement.

The project is spearheaded by theatre artist and social activist Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company and Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company and a current student in the Performing Arts Department MFA in Dance program. The choreography will be based on various themes of the voting experience, including the experience of African Americans, women, Latinx and people with disabilities around voting, voting rights, voter suppression, voting in other countries, among other themes.

In an unusual move, both Mayor Lyda Krewson and the St. Louis Board of Aldermen have designated October 6 Voter Registration Day in St Louis and also plan to honor, “Dance the Vote”, an initiative that promotes voter awareness and registration through dance, poetry and spoken word about the necessity of voting. This project brings together local artists who seek to make a difference during this election season by getting people registered to vote before the October 10thMissouri voter registration deadline for the upcoming November 6th General Election, and committed to voting on election day. It is intended to not only register first time voters but also to inspire and motivate current voters as well as those who may not have voted in a while.

Alderwoman Megan-Ellyia Green from the 15th Ward, introduced the resolution to the Board of Aldermen where it passed unanimously. “In recent years, we’ve seen a steady decline in the numbers of people voting. It’s great to see efforts like “Dance the Vote”, which uses the arts to make voting fun and engaging, to inspire voting,” she said. The “Dance to Vote” campaign raises public awareness on the themes of voting and civic engagement featuring local choreographers and dancers from Ashleyliane Dance Company, Karlovsky and Company Dance, Beyond Measure Dance Theater, SkyStone Contemporary Ballet, Washington University Dance

Theatre, Imagine Dance Project, Las Rumberas, Madco 2, KYPE- Kuumba Youth Performance Ensemble, Better Family Life and more. Joining the lineup of various dance companies will be spoken word artists, poets and singers including Pam Garvey, Susan Spit-Fire Lively, Roseann Weiss, John Blair, MK Stallings, Ana Jennings, Sahara “Sista Sols” Scott, and Kim Furlow, among others. Voter registration will be provided at the event in partnership with St. Louis Voter Registration Group. Mayor Krewson and the Board of Aldermen will issue a proclamation and resolution at 12:30 pm on the steps of Missouri History Museum in a short ceremony to which the public is invited. The formal program in the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall at 2 pm will be preceded by a community dance piece to music by Michael Jackson to be taught at 1 pm on the steps of the Museum.