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The “Dance to Vote” Campaign Raises Public Awareness on the Themes of Voting and Civic Engagement

 

The Dance the Vote campaign, featuring the St. Louis artist community, returns on Saturday, Oct. 6th, at the Missouri History Museum. The event promises an afternoon of energetic artistry, spoken word, and inspiring stories, all with a single goal in mind  getting people registered to vote before the Oct. 10th Missouri voter registration deadline.

 

The non-partisan event is the brainchild of theatre artist and social justice advocate Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company; and Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company.

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Dance The Vote was originally staged in a series of performances around St. Louis ahead of the 2016 presidential election. Later that year, a little over 58 percent of the voting-eligible population would cast a ballot. The numbers for midterm election turnout are even more bleak with just 36.4 percent of the voting public turning out in 2014.

 

“As this is arguably one of the most important elections of our lifetime, we have to come together as artists to offer our talents, vision, and passion to actively participate in promoting voting and voter registration," said Lipkin. "The range of participating artists reflects much of the diversity in the St Louis community and offers creative and exciting perspectives on why voting is crucial and a precious right."

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Dance The Vote will feature local choreographers and dancers from Ashleyliane Dance Company, Karlovsky and Company Dance, Beyond Measure Dance Theater, SkyStone Contemporary Ballet, Washington University Dance Theatre, Imagine Dance Project, Las Rumberas, Madco 2, KYPE- Kuumba Youth Performance Ensemble, Better Family Life and more.

 

The choreography will be based on various themes of the voting experience, including the experience of African Americans, women, Latinx and people with disabilities around voting, voting rights, voter suppression, voting in other countries, among other themes.

 

Joining the lineup of various dance companies will be spoken word artists, poets and singers including Pam Garvey, Susan Spit-Fire Lively, Roseann Weiss, John Blair, MK Stallings, Ana Jennings, Sahara “Sista Sols” Scott, and Kim Furlow, among others. Voter registration will be provided at the event in partnership with St. Louis Voter Registration Group.

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“I hope people in the LGBTQ community will turn out in droves to register and to vote," added Lipkin. "We have an important opportunity to make our voices heard and to determine the course of our lives. But you have to show up. You have to vote."

 

"With Dance the Vote on Oct. 6, we will make it very easy to register," she continued. "And if you are already registered, you will feel inspired and encouraged by some great dance and spoken word."

 

The formal program in the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall at 2 p.m. will be preceded by a community dance piece to the music of Michael Jackson at 1 p.m. on the steps of the Museum. The event will also offer free ice cream and an all ages selfie station where attendees can take photos with signage that documents their commitment to voting.

 

"I think many of us are shell shocked and/or struggling to maintain our momentum in the face of so many challenges," concluded Lipkin. "This will be a joyful intergenerational community event in which all are welcome with many facets with which people can engage. We will have information sheets that help people understand where to call if they have questions about their polling place, what to do if they encounter problems at the polls, as well as a reminder that Nov. 6 is the all important date."

 

Mayor Lyda Krewson has declared October 6th to be Voter Registration Day in St. Louis.

 

 

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