On Saturday, Sept 24 from 12:30-3 pm, Dance the Vote STL will present Midterms Matter, a free, nonpartisan, family friendly, all-inclusive event in front of the Missouri History Museum to promote voter awareness in advance of the general election on Tuesday, November 8.  When DTV first performed for midterms at the museum in 2018, they attracted over 1000 attendees before pivoting to virtual performances during the pandemic. This is their first return to large scale outdoor events.

A highlight of the event will be taking “Missouri’s largest photo to promote the midterms”. People of all ages and political affiliations are invited to participate in this nonpartisan photo.

U.S. Presidential elections are big news worldwide every four years. But what happens in the midterm elections can have just as big an impact on the direction of the country.

“At Midterms Matter, we will energize attendees to participate in the midterms elections and exercise their precious right. Our event also honors National Disability Voter Registration Week and will feature an all-inclusive short community dance to be taught for people of all ages and abilities, including people with disabilities. Everyone is welcome,” said Joan Lipkin, producing artistic director of Dance the Vote.

Confirmed dance companies include St. Louis Academy of Dance, Ashleyliane Dance Company, Grupo Atlantico, Amara Arts, Skystone Dance Ensemble, Resilience Dance Company and others. Local singers including Carmen Garcia and Katie Dunne McGrath and Friends will perform. Speakers include Denise Lieberman of Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, Rev. Darryl Gray of Missouri Faith Voices, Katie Rodriguez Banister of Access-4-All with more to be announced.

Choreographer and co-producer Ashley L. Tate explains, “We will begin with some familiar dances including the Electric Slide and the Wobble and then teach an original, short, inclusive and accessible community dance that can be enjoyed by everyone.  This dance is for all levels and abilities!”

Additional activities will include voter registration and education, information fair with local nonprofits and community groups, kids’ activities, the Bubble Lady, food trucks, a DJ, and more.

“I am passionate about finding ways the Missouri Historical Society can help drive civic engagement,” said Dr. Jody Sowell, President and CEO of the Missouri Historical Society. “We believe public history has the power to strengthen communities. The goal of our exhibits, community tours, and public programming — like the Midterms Matter event — is to help the public make connections between past, present and future. We believe the more you appreciate a place’s past, the more invested you will be in its present and future. MHS is fortunate to play a part in helping the public make these connections and is proud to support Dance the Vote and civic engagement.”

Presented by Dance the Vote St. Louis, a program of That Uppity Theatre Company, and co-sponsored by the Missouri History Museum, St. Louis University, St. Louis ARC, Missouri Faith Voices, NAACP-St Louis County, League of Women Voters – St. Louis, Missouri Developmental Disabilities Council, National Council of Jewish Women STL, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, National Women’s Political Caucus of St Louis, ProgressWomen, Access-MO, Paraquad, Access-4-All LLC, Equity Action Collective LLC, Immigrant Song, Missouri Centers for Independent Living, Missouri Equity Education Partnership, 350 STL, A. Philip Randolph Institute St. Louis Chapter, American Association of University Women St Louis (AAUW),Women’s Voices Raised for Social Justice, empower: abilities, The Link, Metropolitan Congregations United, and Conversations for Political Change.

Founded in 2016, Dance the Vote (DTV) is a nonpartisan arts organization that uses the arts to promote voter registration, education and advocacy. Performances have been featured on CBS, the Black Entertainment Network, the Higher Education Channel, American Theatre Magazine, St. Louis Magazine, the St Louis Post-Dispatch and Dance Magazine and seen by several million people.

DTV has received the IDEA Award from MindsEye, What’s Right with the Region from Focus St. Louis and the Moving Democracy Award from St. Louis Magazine as part of the 2021 A-List.

Midterms Matter is funded in part by the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis, the Scarlet Feather Fund, and Rev Up!

National Voter Registration Day 9/20 https://nationalvoterregistrationday.org

National Voter Education Week 10/3-10/7    https://votereducationweek.org/

Disability Voting Rights Week 9/16/-22 https://www.aapd.com/advocacy/voting/dvrw/

DancetheVoteStl.org

Facebook.com/DancetheVoteStl

Because there have been a historic number of anti-voting bills recently introduced at the state level and in some states, passed into law, groups throughout the U.S. are participating in various activities called ‘Deadline for Democracy’ in the next two weeks in support of the For the People Act, now under consideration in Congress, and preserving voting rights.

Missouri has some of the worst voter suppression in the country. 

. A rally downtown St. Louis will take place on Thursday, July 1, from 6 to 8 p.m. in Kiener Plaza Park, which will feature remarks from Missouri State Rep. Peter Merideth, Dr. Sara Kenzior, Wesley Bell, Denise Lieberman, among others. There will be an ASL interpreter for all speakers.

The rally will open with a community dance led by Ashley L. Tate and Thomas Proctor of Ashleyliane Dance Company called ‘Dancing for Democracy’ for Dance the Vote.

With eight out of ten Americans supporting more access to voting, regardless of party affiliations, Dance the Vote, a non-partisan voting advocacy group, will join with over 30 groups nationwide in the Deadline for Democracy grassroots effort.

In St. Louis, the event is sponsored by the Indivisible Missouri Coalition — includes Indivisible St. Louis, Indivisible Pulaski County, Indivisible Heart of The Ozarks, Indivisible Take Action Now, Indivisible SEMO, Indivisible We Will Persist, Small Deeds Done, Dance The Vote, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, and Ashleyliane Dance Company.

At the state level, there have been 389 bills introduced in 48 states that would restrict a person’s voting access as of May 14, 2021 according to the Brennan Center.

From 6-6:20 pm, DTV will offer a free community dance class called “Dancing for Democracy” led by Ashley L Tate and Thomas Proctor of Ashleyliane Dance Company featuring favorites like the Electric Slide, the Wobble, the Cupid Shuffle and more. Everyone is welcome, regardless of age or dance experience.

This will be followed by several confirmed speakers:  authoritarian scholar, writer and anthropologist Dr Sarah Kendzior, Attorney Denise Lieberman of the non-partisan state wide organization Missouri Voter Protection Coalition and St Louis County Prosecutor Wesley Bell.  Additional speakers may be added.

Postcards will be available for signing and the St Louis Voter Registration Group will be registering people to vote.

“Missouri has some of the most restrictive legislation in the country, blocking access to our most fundamental democratic right,” said Joan Lipkin, the founder of Dance the Vote. “The For the People Act would end gerrymandering, allow universal access to vote by mail, expand early voting requirements, restore the right to vote for people with felony convictions who have served their time, modernize voter registration systems and institute automatic voter registration. It is essential that it be passed.”

Who:      Dance the Vote, Missouri Voter Protection Coalition, Indivisible St Louis

What:     Deadline for Democracy: Rally for S1 For The People Act

Date:      Thursday, July 1

Where:   Kiener Plaza Park

                500 Chestnut St.

                St. Louis, MO 63101

Time:     6-8 PM CDT

Details:   Further Details and RSVP can be found here:                                                                          https://act.indivisible.org/event/local-actions/163030/signup/

About Dance the Vote:

Dance the Vote is a non-partisan project that uses the arts to promote voter awareness and registration. Founded in 2016 by theatre artist and activist Joan Lipkin in collaboration with activist designer Anne Taussig, voter registration specialist Sabrina Tyuse and choreographer Ashley L. Tate, DTV raises public awareness by utilizing dance, video, graphics, music and spoken word.

Programming is based on various themes of the voting experience, including the experiences of African-Americans, women, people with disabilities, college students and immigrants around voting, voting rights, voter suppression, among other themes.  This project brings together local as well as artists nationwide who creatively seek to make a difference by promoting voter awareness and getting eligible voters registered and committed to vote.

In 2016, the project was presented at Vintage Vinyl, St, Louis Black Pride and Left Bank Books, and the 2018 midterm performance at the Missouri History Museum attracted an audience of 1200. The 2020 season was virtual due to Covid-19, with 10 episodes of commissioned pieces from artists around the country, and also included participation in Every Vote Counts: A Celebration of Democracy, the national special on voting produced by CBS and Global Citizen. Dance the Vote also collaborated with Webster University to sponsor a contest for college students using a variety of arts media called “Make Good Trouble: Why John Lewis Inspires Me To Vote’’ for which they awarded cash prizes.

Dance the Vote has received several awards, including an IDEA Award for commitment to inclusion, diversity, equity and accessibility, a 2021 FOCUS What’s Right With the Region Award for Fostering Creativity for Social Change, an award in the 2021 St. Louis Magazine A List for Moving Democracy, and both a mayoral and aldermanic proclamation declaring Dance The Vote Voter Registration Day in the city of St. Louis.

For more info, contact [email protected] or see www.dancethevotestl.org

About Ashleyliane Dance Company:

Ashleyliane Dance Company (ADC) is a professional performance organization under the artistic direction of Ashley L. Tate, with a mission to cultivate diverse repertory, create safe educational spaces, and a vision to promote the intersection of dance and social issues.

Since its inception in 2007, ADC has performed at a plethora of major events and private engagements, including but not limited to: the Muny, Fair St. Louis, First Night, Loop in Motion, Dancing in the Street, Casino Queen, Four Seasons Hotel and The

Pageant. ADC has been featured on Fox 2 News,”Best of the STL” on STL TV, Show Me St. Louis, HEC-TV, and the Nine Network and in Alive Magazine and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The company has produced a number of dance concerts at the Center of Creative Arts (COCA), Ivory Theatre, and Missouri History Museum, Edison Theatre, and The Grandel.  They have also been invited to perform at the Dance Chicago Festival, the American College Dance Association Convention, the University of Illinois-Chicago, the Chicago Choreographers’ Carnival, Peridance Capezio Center, TADA! Theater, and Baruch Performing Arts Center in New York City, as well as the 18th St. Arts Center in Santa Monica, California and Gordon Gamm Theater in Boulder, Colorado. 

ADC is a proud resident organization of the Kranzberg Arts Foundation.

About Indivisible:

Indivisible is a movement driven by a vision of a real democracy of, by, and for the people. The Indivisible movement is a network of thousands of local groups and millions of activists across every state working to build an inclusive democracy by fighting for bold, progressive policies and creating lasting grassroots power. 

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Indivisible St. Louis is a grassroots group dedicated to the pursuit of justice, equity, and progress for all. They are a registered chapter of Indivisible (www.indivisibleguide.com) committed to promoting, encouraging, and facilitating constituent contact with members of Congress to help move a progressive agenda forward.