Dance the Vote, a St. Louis based arts and civic engagement initiative, founded by theatre artist and activist Joan Lipkin four years ago will be featured in an upcoming program, Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy, a nationally televised event on Thursday, Oct 29, at 8pm Central on CBS and other platforms.
Following their first performance outside Vintage Vinyl, an iconic record store in St. Louis for a few dozen people on a rainy afternoon, Dance the Vote attracted over one thousand people at the midterms at the Missouri History Museum for a community dance class, performances by diverse dance companies, spoken word artists and singers about the history and importance of voting, paired with voter registration.
When the pandemic hit and following the deaths of Breonna Taylor and George Floyd, they pivoted to commission and center dance videos, predominantly by choreographers of color. The themes continue to be about the history and significance of voting, as well as what issues might compel someone to vote including: climate change, racial justice, disability, incarceration, gender equity, women’s suffrage, the wall, and more.
The pieces were released in a series of weekly episodes in pairs of two or three dances, and each episode included information on how to register to vote, check voter registration, and the phone number for the election protection hotline for questions or issues at the polls.
The pieces may be seen on YouTube, Instagram (@dancethevotestl), Facebook (@DanceTheVoteStl), Twitter (@DanceTheVoteStl), and Vimeo as well as their website www.dancethevotestl.org.
This summer, Dance the Vote and Webster University partnered to offer a competition for college students throughout the United States honoring the late congressman John Lewis, called Make Good Trouble: Why John Lewis Inspires Me to Vote. Cash awards have been issued in several categories including mixed media, video, dance pieces, painting, collage, and photo essay.
“We are honored to be included in this exciting program about voting because it recognizes the essential role that the performing arts can play in voter education and advocacy. In addition, Dance the Vote exemplifies how a small grass-roots organization with a promising idea can offer a model for the arts and civic engagement for many communities. We are pleased to have St. Louis showcased on this important national platform,” said Joan Lipkin, founder of Dance the Vote.
Every Vote Counts is a celebration of civic engagement and one last push to get people to vote.
Hosted by Alicia Keys, America Ferrera, and Kerry Washington, with appearances by Amy Schumer, Chris Rock, Cobie Smulders, Coldplay, Condoleezza Rice, Eva Longoria, Jennifer Lopez, John Kasich, Kelly Clarkson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lin-Manuel Miranda, Natalie Portman, Shaquille O’Neal, Tan France, Wilmer Valderrama, and more, with performances by Alicia Keys, Dan + Shay, Offset, and Shawn Mendes.
Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy, a nationally televised and streamed event, will air on the CBS Television Network and will be streamed via CBS All Access on Thursday, October 29, 2020 at 9 PM, ET/PT, 8PM CST. The special will also be available via the following platforms: iHeartMedia radio stations and app, Apple Music, Apple TV App, Amazon Music, Twitch, NowThis, YouTube, Twitter, TIDAL and Facebook, with more to be announced.
Lynn Venhaus has had a continuous byline in St. Louis metro region publications since 1978. She is a Rotten Tomatoes-approved film critic, currently reviews films for Webster-Kirkwood Times and KTRS Radio, covers entertainment for PopLifeSTL.com and co-hosts podcast PopLifeSTL.com…Presents, and writes features and news for Belleville News-Democrat and contributes to other publications. She is a member of CCA, AWFJ and St. Louis Film Critics Association. She is a founding member of the St. Louis Theater Circle.