Our Story

The Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) entertains, educates, and collaborates through innovative dance programming for communities across the nation so audiences don’t just watch dance, they experience it.

Originally under the name Mid America Dance Company, Alcine Wiltz and Ross Winter co-founded MADCO in 1976 to provide a space for professional dancers to live and work in the Midwest while providing entertaining performances and educational opportunities to the local community.

In the 1980’s MADCO began touring, primarily performing work by Wiltz and Winter. Winter premiered one of the country’s first parodies of The Nutcracker called The Madcracker which gained national attention in Newsweek Magazine. Though Wiltz left the company in the mid- 1980’s to become the Director of Dance at the University of Maryland, MADCO continued to thrive under the direction of Winter until he lost his life in a tragic car accident in 1994.

Longtime company member Stacy West was appointed Artistic Director and began to restructure the organization by hiring a wealth of nationally known guest artists to create new work. The result was a company that was artistically stronger than ever. MADCO received rave reviews and has been honored with numerous awards including two regional Emmy Awards, an International Telly Award, Best of the Best at the Toronto International Dance Festival and Best Dance Company by the St. Louis Post – Dispatch and Riverfront Times.

In 2017 West announced her 30-year tenure was coming to an end. Artistic Direction was transitioned to Nicole Whitesell who has eight years of experience with MADCO; first as a dancer, Rehearsal Director, and as Associate Artistic Director. Administrative leader Emilee Morton has been with the company for four years, beginning with MADCO as an intern and then Company Manager.

During the 2019-2020 season, long time company member Belicia Beck stepped in as the Interim Artistic Director, in addition to her role as Rehearsal Director. For the 2021-2022 season, Belicia Beck and Arianna Russ embarked on their partnership as the new leaders of the Modern American Dance Company. This new leadership brought exciting energy and innovative ideas to the company. This momentum continues into the 2022-2023 season as Belicia steps into her new role of Executive Director and Arianna as Artistic Director!

Season 2022-2023 will be our 47th Season!

“MADCO left the audience laughing, gasping for breath, in awe of beauty and in deep contemplation: all any modern dance company could hope to achieve in one evening's production. " - Jennifer Fried, NYC Broadway World