Rehearsal is a critical component for any professional dance company – immersing dancers in the nuances of choreography is key to a successful performance. MADCO, St. Louis-based Modern American Dance Company, is also engrossed in another practice well before hitting the stage on opening night. For MADCO, a concert is also the culmination of community outreach. The company’s 2019-2020 season consists of provocative, engaging and entertaining dance designed to encourage audiences to discover something new.
This November, MADCO renews its collaboration with German choreographer Nejla Yatkin to stage Wallstories, a vibrant performance that rouses the human stories beneath Cold War politics and the fall of the Berlin Wall. Wallstories is Yatkin’s highly personal illustration of what happens to society when walls are built, and when they are dismantled. Selected as one of the Top 10 dances of 2009 in the Washington Post and awarded the Overall Excellence in Dance at the New York International Fringe Festival in 2011, MADCO initially performed Wallstories in 2014 at the 25th anniversary of the fall of the wall. In 2019, MADCO feels strongly that its lessons are newly relevant. “The current political climate and conversations around building walls add a fresh perspective worth exploring,” said Emilee Morton, MADCO’s managing director. “We hope to get people really thinking about how it relates to what direction we are going.”
To that end, MADCO is coordinating with the German Culture Center at the University of Missouri–St. Louis (UMSL) to bring more than a thousand students of various ages from the St. Louis Public Schools to experience matinee performances. These students and other patrons will also have the opportunity to view “Long Live Freedom,” an exhibition of photos and documents marking the German resistance to Hitler’s National Socialism. “The combination of the immersive exhibition and performance means audiences leave with plenty to talk about,” said Morton. Wallstories is slated for November 8 and 9 in the Lee Theater at the Touhill Performing Arts Center at UMSL.
The community engagement aspect of MADCO’S professional concert season takes on a yearlong timeline in PNC Arts Alive Presents: RESILIENCE. RESILIENCE aims to create trauma-informed arts programming to battle adversity through movement in St. Louis city and surrounding counties with education, community outreach, and mainstage performances. In collaboration with St. Louis nonprofit Hope Creates, the Salvation Army, and the Center for Trauma Recovery at UMSL, RESILIENCE will take the people of St. Louis on a restorative path from trauma to healing through stories of survivors. This performance will showcase four new works by choreographers Carl Flink, Lindsay Hawkins, Micaela Taylor, and RAWdance.
Training by dance movement therapist Elise Ringenberg will further develop the program through a trauma-informed lens. This new curriculum will be developed and brought to the Ritenour School District thanks to funding by PNC Arts Alive. PNC Arts Alive presents MADCO: RESILIENCE on the mainstage at the Touhill Performing Arts Center March 26 – 28, 2020.
A preview performance Thursday, March 26, at 8 pm, highlights excerpts from the production. To better serve people with disabilities, MADCO proudly offers a sensory-friendly performance on Saturday, March 28 at 2 pm. Modifications in light and sound will create a supportive and welcoming environment. Audience members will be invited to dance alongside MADCO artists after the show, as well as move and talk during the performance.
Tickets to Wallstories and PNC Arts Alive presents MADCO: RESILIENCE go on sale Friday, August 2 at 10 a.m. Tickets are available at www.touhill.org, by phone at 314-516-4949 and in person at the Touhill Ticket Office on the UMSL campus.
ABOUT PNC ARTS ALIVE
PNC Arts Alive programming demonstrates that there is an artistic outlet for everyone, regardless of age, economic background, skill level and taste. Pop – up performances, mobile arts vans and the use of unusual venues are among the many initiatives supported through PNC Arts Alive and the company is excited to continue helping to invigorate local arts organizations in the Greater St. Louis region, while bringing new and exciting programs to our communities. More information is available at www.pnc.com.
MADCO provides community inspired, innovative dance experiences through collaborations that provide a pathway for self-discovery, social connections, and excellent entertainment for audience members, students, teachers, presenters, and corporate clients. More information is available at www.madcodance.com or @madcodance on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.