PULSE Brings Together New Music and Choreography, Both Born in St. Louis


MADCO is ready for PULSE — are you? - PHOTO BY DAVID LANCASTER.
  • Photo by David Lancaster.
  • MADCO is ready for PULSE — are you?

If you missed your chance to see St. Louis' Modern American Dance Co. in New Dance Horizons IV, we have news for you: 1) You totally missed out, and 2) you have a chance to make up for lost time this weekend.

And if you saw their piece already? Well, there are still plenty of reasons to make your way to the E. Desmond and Mary Ann Lee Theater at the Touhill for a second round.  

This Friday and Saturday, the company, better known as MADCO, is presenting PULSE, a cabaret of locally created music and dance. The concert, which takes place every other year, consists of work choreographed by three of MADCO's own dancers, as well as music written by a local composer and performed by University of Missouri-St. Louis music students. Now in its third year, PULSE will also include the company's piece from New Dance Horizons IV, the Dance St. Louis show that premiered last month. 

The annual production matches local dance companies with choreographers from across the country. This year's New Dance Horizons celebrated St. Louis' black artists — each of the three choreographers were African American, and each of their pieces were inspired by one or more of St. Louis' legendary black artists. For its piece, MADCO collaborated with Bessie Award-winning choreographer Bebe Miller to create "Line Up Low Down," which was inspired by Alton-born Miles Davis. 

As soon as the dancers found out they'd be doing the New Dance Horizons piece, MADCO Artistic Director Stacy West realized PULSE would be a great opportunity to perform it again. 

"The fantastic thing about that is it really gives the artists the opportunity to grow into the work and to do it more than twice," West says. "And I think also as an audience member, to see the work in the big Anheuser-Busch theater [for the Dance St. Louis production] and then see it again in the more intimate Lee Theater, which is where we will be performing this weekend, the piece changes. It changes in sound and it changes in shape and scope when you take it into a smaller space. And the artists have to change and adapt to that as well."

And PULSE isn't just a chance to make up for your procrastination — there's completely new material here as well, with pieces choreographed by MADCO senior company members Claire Hilleren, Brandon Fink and Lindsay Hawkins.

The dance company also collaborates with the UMSL music department and area composers to create new music for the project. 

“For me, the vision is to give opportunities to artists to create new work. Opportunities for local artists to create new work," West says. "And I have a real belief that artists of all types need to be supported in this endeavor, and that you need a place to experiment and a place to succeed, a place to fail, and that it’s important to have those opportunities. And that’s what Pulse is about.”

You can see PULSE Friday, March 11 and Saturday, March 12 at 8 p.m. For ticket information, call the Touhill Performing Arts Center box office at 314-516-4949, or visit touhill.org.

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