If you go to see a great dance company like Big Muddy, you get to see the ideas and imagination that come together in any artistic expression. But because this is a concert by a dance company, you get to see more. We asked choreographer Shannon Alvis all about Big Muddy and "Beat Ballads". Here's what she told us.
Community is important. When people pay attention to what community is, what it can be, and who it is exactly that they're talking about, it can also be a dynamic, inspiring, unpredictable wellspring of creativity. Especially in dance. The Big Muddy Dance Company is quite a community in and of itself, but in their performance on Saturday, January 26 at St. Louis' Grandel Theatre of their "Home Grown" program, Big Muddy is reaching out to an even wider community, and we wanted to hear more about it. We asked Artistic Director Brian Enos and Executive Director Erin Warner Prange about "Home Grown", and here's what they told us:
A lot of different ideas can inspire choreography, and when designed by a great choreographer, dance can express all kinds of thoughts and concepts and emotions. But when it comes to creating a full-evening work, the idea behind the ballet has to be rich enough, embracing enough, to keep an audience leaning forward for a full evening. For their November 16th and 17th performances at St. Louis' Edison Theatre, The Big Muddy Dance Company has found an exceptionally rich subject for their full-evening presentation of Lemp Legends: A Ghost Story. The work is a dynamic collaboration between Enos and six other choreographers, all company members with Big Muddy, and in researching and creating the story of St. Louis' famous Lemp family, they found the story to be even more intriguing that they had originally imagined. We asked Brian to let is in on more of the story behind this project, and the multi-layered process that led to its accomplishment, and here's what he told us:
There are a lot of stories in this story. There's a story about being a choreographer -- how to become one, and what it's like to be one. Taylor Mitchell is unusually eloquent in his movement vocabulary, and just as much so in sharing his always-carefully-constructed perspective, so when we heard that his first major professional dance work, Red Beans and Rice-ly Yours was also going to be his most recent dance work, we thought it would be a good time to hear more about his journey. There's another story in this story about being a dance company. The Big Muddy Dance Company in St. Louis is performing Meet Me In ... (on Friday, April 6 at 8pm and Saturday, April 7 at 2pm) at St. Louis' Grandel Theatre. Meet Me In ... is about Big Muddy's hometown of St. Louis, about its roots and heritage and its great icons. It's a program that will include work by Artistic Director Brian Enos, world-renowned choreographer Robyn Mineko Williams, company dancer Robert Poe, and Taylor Mitchell, which gets us back to that first story.