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December In-step Newsletter
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Monday, November 8, 2010
St. Louis Dance Theatre's vision documentary video has now “gone viral” thanks to YouTube. Since its release, we have had many supportive comments and we are so grateful for your support and words of encouragement. However, there have been one or two who may have been confused about the purpose of the video. For anyone who has questions, let me take a moment to clear up some things.
The goal of this video is twofold. It is obviously to persuade fine people like you all to support to our company’s season premiere, but also to introduce you to an issue that has been fettering the dance community in St. Louis for a while. Regardless of what style of dance you prefer, or how talented the dancers in the city are, the fact is, there are far less opportunities for St. Louis dancers to make a living dancing than in many other major cities across the nation.
The dancers in this video are not just members of our company, excited to have an opportunity to perform for their community, they also represent countless dancers who are city natives or attended one of our fabulous universities, only to find that they had to choose between the dream of a dance career or remaining in St. Louis where only a handful of paid dance positions are offered. They may not represent ALL dancers in the city, it was never stated that they were supposed to, but they have their stories to share and they are valid as such.
The numbers don't lie and the charts make the facts a little clearer.. Research of professional dance companies* in St. Louis and two other mid-west cities show that the St. Louis metro offers the highest number of college degree programs in dance, but the lowest number of actual positions once these students complete their training.
*Determination of “Professional Dance Companies” based on the same requirement used in the 2002 Chicago budget of $150,000 + and full-time contract positions greater than 25 weeks per year. http://www.danceusa.org/chicagoil
Furthermore, the previously mentioned study of dance companies over the three Mid-western cities showed a deficiency in the types of companies offered in St. Louis.
Our vision documentary video IS NOT a commercial for our performances, we are not in session yet. StLDT is an organization that is building what WILL BE a professional jazz dance company in the city of St. Louis. We cannot show you a full company because we are not together yet. We can show you an organization composed of dedicated folks working 40+ hours a week to build support, raise funds, research community needs, offer training to dancers and the community, and establish a place in the community. If anyone would like to see more of what we do day to day, I warmly welcome you to stop by our offices at 916 Olive St., better yet, take a class!
This vision documentary IS the vision of our artistic director and founder of this organization. The purpose of this this video is to promote the growth of a community of dance professionals supporting, collaborating, challenging and celebrating what could be a powerful artistic and economic force for St. Louis. It is about acknowledging our city’s artistic achievements, addressing current challenges and foreseeing future accomplishments if our community can come together to help us make history!
I would like to close by once again offering an invitation to visit us! We love the chance to share our passion for dance and the city of St. Louis with people.
St. Louis Dance Theatre