Because the National Dance Scene Comes to Us

One of 75 reasons we love St. Louis in 2016

The Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater: Just one of this year's international visitors to St. Louis. - DEAN PAUL
  • The Ensemble Espanol Spanish Dance Theater: Just one of this year's international visitors to St. Louis.

Sure, St. Louis isn't New York City or Los Angeles — but we don't need to be in order to experience world-class dance. You can save yourself a plane ticket and enjoy ballet, modern, flamenco, musical theater and every dance genre in between right here, because nationally recognized shows and companies come to us.

Case in point: This year, nonprofit Dance St. Louis (3310 Samuel Shepard Drive, 314-534-6622) hosted its ninth annual Spring to Dance Festival, bringing in 26 dance companies of all styles from across the country — an event size that's unheard of even in some major dance hubs. Performances by companies including Paul Taylor Dance Company, Nashville Ballet, MOMIX and Ensemble Español Spanish Dance Theater rounded out the organization's 50th season.

Meanwhile, Broadway musical hits such as Newsies, the winner of the 2012 Tony Award for Best Choreography, graced the stage at the Fabulous Fox Theatre (527 N. Grand Boulevard, 314-534-1678) — and now the theater is bringing six Tony Award-winning shows in the upcoming season. Even Broadway game-changer Hamilton is coming in the 2017-2018 season.

It's not just traveling shows and touring companies mounting top-tier work here. St. Louis dance companies such as Big Muddy and MADCO regularly bring top-notch work by choreographers from both St. Louis and around the country to life, and Saint Louis Ballet now boasts 24 dancers and a school that is teaching another 350. Companies such as Leverage Dance Theater, Karlovsky & Company, Common Thread and Consuming Kinetics are also making a mark, providing performances as well as community involvement. A "barre crawl" to various St. Louis dance studios and lunchtime performances at Old Post Office Plaza? Yes, please!

It's all part of an intoxicating mix that keeps dance fans busy and theaters full.

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