STLCOP presents Big Muddy Dance Company
Published on 07 March 2016
Chatter grows, as students trickle into the auditorium for a private preview performance of Gunshots/Daffodils/Moans/Silence, a new piece directed and scored by award-winning choreographer Robert Moses to be performed by The Big Muddy Dance Company. The piece is one of three that Dance St. Louis commissioned as part of its New Dance Horizons IV program, A Celebration of St. Louis’ Legendary Black Artists.
“As moving as it was educational, Gunshots/Daffodils/Moans/Silence provided everyone who attended with a feast for thought and creative consideration,” comments Brian Walter, associate professor of English and director of convocations at the College. “It was a privilege and an honor for the Liberal Arts Convocations series to contribute to the College’s Black History Month activities by hosting this event.”
Before the performance, Moses leads a small workshop on context, meaning, and abstraction in relation to movement and contemporary dance. Students are encouraged to stand and introduce themselves to an unfamiliar face, as Moses guides them through a series of greeting gestures ranging from a small wave to a hug. He then asks the dancers to demonstrate various moments in the piece, progressing from more literal to more abstracted interpretations. Throughout this exercise, Moses trades out dancers to change the visual, thereby changing the context of the movements the dancers perform.
Gunshots/Daffodils/Moans/Silence explores the conditions that foster violence and the conditions that can stop it. “This new work continues in my tradition of examining current events and viewing them through the lens of the culture,” Moses explains. The performance by The Big Muddy Dance Company brought a close to a month of programming dedicated to recognizing and honoring Black History Month.