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.

Joan Lipkin

“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.

On Dec. 13, 2019 at the Mark Wilson Theatre on the campus of St. Louis University, Playhouse Emissions: Climate Change Theatre Action St. Louis 2019 was presented as part of the international Climate Change Theatre Action 2019.

The St. Louis event follows the growing tradition of rapid response from theatre artists for collective action on some of the most pressing issues of our time, including gun violence and extrajudicial violence against people of color. 

There is a growing movement within the global theatre community: a succession of artwork-cum-advocacy events, collections of short plays, crafted with an urgent deadline and for immediate performance, in an effort to address some of the most critical sociopolitical issues of our time. After an initial production, these play collections often circulate for years, becoming part of the theatrical and activist zeitgeist, and often a movement unto itself. Climate Change Theatre Action (CCTA) is one such movement.

CCTA is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short plays on climate change, primarily presented to coincide with the United Nations COP 25 meeting. 

Produced by Joan Lipkin, and directed by Thomas Martin, Anna Blair, Alex Knapp, Playhouse Emissions featured a sampling of the CCTA international collection of short plays inspired by climate change and the science surrounding it. In 2019, close to 250 events were hosted in 25 countries, reaching an audience of 10,000 through live performance and an additional 10,000 via live streams and radio broadcasts.

“Climate change is one of the greatest challenges facing us as a global community,” said Joan Lipkin, Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, and one of 2019’s commissioned playwrights. “Scientists estimate that we have 15 years to decarbonize the economy if we want to stave off the worst impacts of climate change that will affect all of us.”

The plays were selected from two anthologies that were commissioned by the CCTA organization. 50 playwrights were chosen from over 25 countries, from industrialized and developing countries and urban and rural areas. These perspectives include low-lying nations threatened by sea level change and countries facing severe heat waves, floods, droughts, deforestation and/or biodiversity collapse. 

Lipkin and Knapp co-hosted the event, which featured performances from leading actors in St. Louis, including Dan Kelly, Michelle Dillard, Don McClendon, and Anna Blair, as well as students from St. Louis University and Washington University in St. Louis. The performance opened with a drum performance by World Vibrations, led by Lisa Frumhoff and concluded with a question and answer segment with David Brotherton, the Program Director for Business and the Environment at the University of California – Berkley.

Plays selected for Playhouse Emissions included Single Use by Marcia Johnson, Brackendale by Elaine Ávila, About That Chocolate Bar by Joan Lipkin, Six Polar Bears Fell from the Sky This Morning by Alister Emerson, El Toro Sagrado In the Car Repair Shop by Mindi Dickstein, and Homo Sapiens by Chantal Bilodeau.

“Among the short plays was a dramatic, interpretive reading of Greta Thunberg’s UN address on Climate Change. I was deeply moved by the re-enactment and inspired by how theatre arts keep the most compelling issues of our time alive,” said audience member Anne Taussig. Thunberg’s remarks were adapted by Lipkin and Knapp, a second-year master’s student in Theatre and Performance at Washington University in St. Louis, with music by Mitchell Manar. “The most important thing we can do is inform ourselves and understand the situation,” according to Greta Thunberg, the 16-year old climate activist. 

“As a scholar and artist, I care deeply about education and access, especially regarding the most pressing concerns to life on this earth. I find performance to be an excellent venue for bringing these issues to the fore, sparking a dialogue within communities, and providing equitable access to education on these topics,” says Knapp.

“Saint Louis University is dedicated to providing the vehicle through which students and the general public can learn the facts about climate change using a variety of platforms including academics, public programs, and the arts. We are pleased to support this creative use of the arts in the service of both the humanities and climate change awareness,” said Dr. Jack Fishman, a Professor of Meteorology in the Department of Earth & Atmospheric Sciences and director of their Center for Environmental Sciences.

About Climate Change Theatre Action:

A collaboration between the Center for Sustainable Practice in the ArtsNoPassport Theatre AllianceThe Arctic CycleTheatre Without Borders, and York University, CCTA is a worldwide series of readings and performances of short climate change plays presented to coincide with the United Nations COP25.

Following the model pioneered by NoPassport, the organizers asked fifty writers from around the world to write short plays about an aspect of climate change. These plays were made available to producing collaborators who have presented over 100 events so far this season. Collaborators can choose as few or as many of the plays as they want.

Events range from readings in classrooms to fully staged performances and will take place in theatres, high schools, universities, eco-centers, community centers, on radio, and outdoors.

For the full list of events and participating playwrights:  

www.climatechangetheatreaction.com

Events can also be followed via their Facebook Page.                                                

Free beer. Free truth. Free participation.A diverse array of artists, activists, elected officials and community people will come together Saturday, June 22 from 2-5 p.m. at the projects+gallery at 4733 McPherson Ave in the Central West End to participate in a free event to read excerpts and summaries of the Mueller Report and offer related commentary through song.

“Many well-known local theatre people have signed up to read or sing and more are signing up every day.

“It has been two months since the Mueller Report was released. No one in St Louis has created an event around this. We are doing one June 22. Events have taken place in LA and NY, said Joan Lipkin, artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company, who is producing the event.

“While it is true that the report is available both online and for purchase, it is unreasonable to expect the average person to read a 455-page report that is annotated and full of redactions,” Lipkin said.

“Our traditional news
sources and cable outlets are also not always reliable or accurate, so we have
decided to bring the findings of the report directly to the community in the
belief that, as the Washington Post says, ‘Democracy dies in darkness.’”

“What we do know is
that Special Counsel Robert Mueller concluded at the end of an almost two-year
investigation “If
we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the
President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so
state,” Mueller wrote.

“We are sharing information but also significantly, providing an
opportunity for people to share their voices and to speak up,” Lipkin
said. 

At the event, people will read approximately 5-minute excerpts to accommodate more participation.

Confirmed readers
include Susan Barrett, Alderwoman Megan Ellyia Green, Rep Ian Mackey,  Harper Barnes, Adelia
Parker, Rosalind Early, Roseann Weiss, Edward Coffield, Jennifer Wintzer, Stephen Houldsworth, Matthew Kerns, David
Wraith, Ann Lemons Pollack, Lisette Dennis, Kathleen Sitzer,  Don Crozier, Tom Ray, Scott Intagliata,
Kathleen Dunne, Michele Mallette Sherman, Donna Postel, Carol Swartout Klein, Sara Taylor, Sabrina Tyuse, Kim Lee, Michelle Wilson, Marty
K. Casey, Linda Jo Smith, Jill Maguire, Pam Schneider and more.

There will also be
opportunities for people in the audience to read. 

“Art is the ultimate
expression of freedom of speech. Because we know that art is a verb, we are
proud to host this event in support of democracy,” said Susan Barrett, founder
and president of Barrett Berrera Projects.

The event will also
include voter registration in partnership with St. Louis Voter Registration
Group, refreshments, a selfie station and the debut performance by the St Louis
chapter of Sing Out, Louise, a New York social activist group founded in 2017
that writes parodies with political commentary of iconic songs ranging from
ABBA and Queen to Rogers and Hammerstein and more. 

Free stickers, Stag Beer, and water will be provided.

“Stay as little or as long as you like, although we suggest you come at 2 p.m. for the kick-off. But there will be singing and opportunities for involvement throughout the afternoon” Lipkin said.

“We hope you will join us. As democracy is under threat and continues to unravel, we need to come together as a community to make our voices heard and find mutual support,” she said.

That Uppity Theatre Company is an internationally recognized
company that was founded in 1989 to put the principles of cultural diversity into innovative
theatrical practice and to promote civic engagement and related activities.
 For over 25 years, Uppity has boldly stepped into conversations about the
pressing issues of our time including reproductive choice, gender equality,
LGBTQIA rights, racial justice, disability, climate change, immigration, gun
sense advocacy and more. 

Projects+gallery is a commercial art space designed to feature
contemporary exhibitions and artists that blur the boundaries of traditionally
understood artistic disciplines and practices. In conjunction with Barrett
Barrera Projects, a consulting company founded by Susan Barrett in 2014 and
specializing in arts, culture and contemporary fashion, projects+gallery
features regional, national and international artists working in a variety of
mediums.

Contact: Joan Lipkin [email protected]

The favorable response to the inaugural production of “Your Immigration Stories, Mine and Ours,” means that more will be planned, said Joan Lipkin of That Uppity Theatre Company.

“W had a wonderful response to the We Immigrants project,” Lipkin said. It took place April 28 at the Missouri History Museum.Lipkin, who is the producing artistic director, said Playback NOW! St. Louis, a project of That Uppity Theatre Company, shared facts about immigration and profiles of famous immigrants, and re-enacted the stories of several immigrants living in St. Louis to a sold out and diverse crowd.

Lipkin said they were excited about what audience members and storytellers said:

“Thanks so much for the wonderful experience! It was amazing!” –Shreya Ahuja, storyteller

“Joan, I had a good time, and enjoyed the show so much. You and the actors are doing a fantastic job! I love that they’re so approachable and friendly.”–Margarita Sanchez, storyteller

“Honestly, the best part is seeing the actors and how they seamlessly flow between the different parts! Too too cool!!! :-)” — Junior Lara, storyteller

“I laughed, I cried, I thought– it was memorable. Loved the cast, the songs, the topic, and especially the stories from the immigrants. I learned a lot and you opened more of my heart. Thank you!!!” — Lori Schmoll, audience

“So glad I made it today. It was an excellent event with such talented people. The story from the young student from China brought me to tears. The strength, fortitude and sacrifice these immigrants make to seek freedom and make a better life was astonishing to hear.” –Jan Brodsky, audience

“Wonderful show. Bringing to life, with humor, stories about the immigrant experience. Next time there’s a showing ….go….” –Peter Barg, audience

“That Uppity Theatre [Company] presented an inspiring storytelling Playback Theatre production, with St. Louisans from India, China, Mexico and the Dominican Republic sharing their personal immigration stories. Now, more than ever before, each immigrant’s story of searching for freedom and striving for opportunity keeps us grounded in what makes us a great nation. Thanks to Joan Lipkin, for her vision and creative voice!” — Anne Taussig, volunteerSt. Louis Public Radio also featured a very nice story about the event: https://news.stlpublicradio.org/post/st-louis-theater-troupe-uses-improv-bring-immigration-stories-life#stream/0

“We want to continue to uplift and support the voices and presence of our immigrant sisters and brothers with We Immigrants and productions like “Your Immigration Stories, Mine and Ours,” she said.

The Sunday audience at production.

Joan Lipkin, noted community activist, theatre artist and artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company, has been selected for one of the first inaugural Bravely awards, to recognize women in St. Louis who exemplify courage. In the invitation, Joan is described as “fearlessly creative.”“It is encouraging that a human rights organization that provides services to women who have been sexually trafficked or exploited who are in recovery recognizes the role of art in promoting a more just society,” she said. 

Bravely Inc., formerly Magdalene St. Louis, a Missouri nonprofit corporation, will present its Inaugural Bravely Awards ceremony at a luncheon on Thursday, April 11, at Patty Long’s Ninth Street Abbey, located at 1808 S. 9th Street in the historic Soulard neighborhood, St. Louis.

The luncheon takes place from noon to 1:15 p.m. (with networking and registration from 11:30 to 12:00) and all proceeds from this event will go directly to Bravely, a residential program for women who have survived sexual exploitation (prostitution and trafficking), abuse and addiction.

The inaugural honorees include: the Rev. Traci Blackmon, head of the Justice and Witness Ministries of the United Church of Christ and a leader of the Black Lives Matter movement; Joan Lipkin, community activist and the founder and artistic director of That Uppity Theatre Company; Christine McDonald, author, social justice advocate and survivor of human trafficking, homelessness and addiction; and Aisha Sultan, a nationally syndicated columnist and filmmaker whose work includes a focus on how social change impacts families.

The Bravely Awards were established to honor individuals or organizations that have strengthened our community by bringing attention to social justice issues including sexual exploitation, abuse and addiction. Awardees have demonstrated the highest level of commitment and dedication to the mission and vision of Bravely and furthered our cause through their life’s work.

“These women have dedicated their lives – personally and professionally – to create awareness and support issues and communities that are often at the margins of our society, such as the women we serve,” said Michelle Roberts, Bravely Executive Director. “We are grateful for their leadership and honored to have this opportunity to recognize them.”

Bravely helps women heal and rebuild their lives through free long-term housing, medical care, trauma therapy, education, and job readiness training. Since admitting its first resident in 2015, Bravely has served a total of 50 women on-site, in the building it purchased in the Old North neighborhood of St. Louis, and hundreds more through advocacy and referral.

Over a three year period, this translates to: • More than 6,800 nights of safe rest • More than 20,000 meals • More than 4,800 hours of group therapy Bravely has 501c3 status and operates in the City of St. Louis.

For more information about the April 11 event and to register to attend, go to https://www.eventbrite.com/e/inaugural-bravely-awards-luncheon-tickets-56429434959. www.bravely.org

Over Valentine’s Day weekend, That Uppity Theatre Company produced two sold out performances of The Vagina Monologues by Eve Ensler as the official site for V-Day Missouri 2019, raising over $10,000 in honor of the 50th anniversary of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, the state’s largest grassroots pro-choice organization. The show’s success persisted despite a snow storm, censorship from Facebook ads, and competition from one of the busiest weekends of the year. The play was performed at the .ZACK at 3224 Locust St., St. Louis, MO 63103 in Grand Center on Saturday, February 16th at 7:30 PM and Sunday, February 17th at 2 PM. “I believe access to reproductive healthcare is a human right and a fundamental freedom,” said Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, and producer of V-Day St Louis who selected NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri as the chief beneficiary of the production. “With the Trump administration and anti-choice lawmakers dominating both Congress and the statehouse, it is essential that we lend support in every way, including monetarily. Ninety percent of the proceeds from the show benefited NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri. Everyone volunteered their time to support NARAL Missouri. It is tremendous how many artists in the St Louis community came forward to share their skills to oppose this violence against women.” TUTC’s production broke ground as the first professional production of the play in St. Louis to include four transgender performers. The show was lead by a cast of 25 women, including six live percussionists, and co-directed by a team of four female directors. The cast included cisgender, transgender, non-binary, African American, Asian American, Latina, white, immigrant, and refugee women, spanning several decades in age. The monologues featured Galina Angheluta, Anna Blair, Teresa Doggett, Paige Russell Elias, Carmen Garcia, Pam Reckamp, Gail Smith, Margeau Steinau, Sara Lin, Alderwoman Annie Rice, Christa Lou Cunningham, India Reid, Judi Mann, Talichia Noah, Jeanitta Perkins, Mariah Richardson, Grace Wilder, and Miss Leon (aka Dieta Pepsi). The directors were Rhonda Cropp, Joan Lipkin, Suki Peters, and Pam Reckamp, with technical direction by Michael Perkins.

Lisa Frumhoff, Debbie Blackwell, Rithia Brown, Angela Rey Guerrero, and Natalie Turner Jones provided a live drumming ensemble before and during the show. Although this play by Eve Ensler has been produced thousands of times and was named “probably the most important piece of political theatre of the last decade” by Charles Isherwood of the New York Times, it had not received a production by a professional company in over ten years in St Louis. “Some of the moments were joyful, some poignant, some heartbreaking, but all were vivid,” said theatre critic Gerry Kowarsky of Two on the Aisle. “The cast members made the 20 year-old script entirely their own, celebrating the existence of the play and the gains in openness of expression that have been made in the last two decades.” “That Uppity Theatre Company’s V-Day 2019 production of Eve Ensler’s The Vagina Monologues opened its arms to welcome a truly diverse cast of female and female-identifying performers,” said Tina Farmer for KDHX. “The casting, supported with strong direction by Rhonda Cropp, Joan Lipkin, Suki Peters and Pam Reckhamp, was cause for a celebratory mood, even if the pieces themselves were emotionally varied, ranging from heartbreaking to exuberant and from sensual to righteous and angry.” The play explores consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, direct and indirect encounters with reproduction, sex work, love, rape, menstruation, birth, orgasm, and many other topics. At the performances, audience members were encouraged to sign up for Pro-Choice Lobby Day which will be held by NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri on March 12 in Jefferson City to protest the myriad of anti-choice bills that have been introduced in the General Assembly since the beginning of the year. Sign up now for more information. “It was an honor to see two packed houses full of patrons supporting reproductive freedom via this fantastic production,” said Leah Boersig, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Board Chair. “Thank you to Joan Lipkin, That Uppity Theatre Company, The Kranzberg Arts Foundation, the volunteers, patrons, donors, and everyone else who worked to make this weekend such a success.” This production was part of the international V-Day movement started by Ensler, which this year runs February 1-March 8 and encompasses over 1,000 productions around the globe. The Vagina Monologues is the cornerstone of the V-Day movement, whose participants stage benefit performances of the show and/or host other related events in their communities. The remaining 10% of the proceeds, not only from this production but from every V-Day production worldwide, will go to Ensler’s Spotlight campaign.

That Uppity Theatre Company will present The Vagina Monologues on Feb. 16-17 at the .ZACK Performing Arts Incubator.Produced as part of VDAY 2019, the production benefits NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, which will receive 90 percent of the proceeds from ticket sales. The remaining 10 percent goes to Eve Ensler’s VDAY organization Spotlight, which focuses on women in prisons, jails, and detention centers, and formerly incarcerated women.

This production of The Vagina Monologues is in honor of the 50th anniversary of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, the state’s largest grassroots pro-choice organization.

Itfeatures an all-female cast of more than 20 women–including professional theatre artists, community members, drag performers, and even an alderwoman–all volunteering their time to benefit VDAY and NARAL.

Performances are at the .ZACK at 3224 Locust St., St. Louis, MO 63103 in Grand Center on Saturday, Feb, 16 at 7:30 PM and Sunday, Feb. 17 at 2 PM.

Tickets are available through Metrotix. For convenience, tickets can be purchased online 24/7 at https://www.metrotix.com/events/detail/naral-the-vagina-monologues, or at any Metrotix outlet for a fee, or during regular hours at the Fox Theatre Box Office with no fee.

The event will feature one of the largest and most diverse casts of women seen on stage in St. Louis and will include cisgender, transgender, non-binary, African American, Asian American, Latina, white, immigrant, and refugee women, spanning several decades in age. The play explores consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences, body image, genital mutilation, direct and indirect encounters with reproduction, sex work, love, rape, menstruation, birth, orgasm, and many other topics.

“I believe access to reproductive healthcare is a human right and a fundamental freedom,” said Joan Lipkin, Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, who selected NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri as the chief beneficiary of the production.

“With the Trump administration and anti-choice lawmakers dominating both Congress and the statehouse, it is essential that we lend support in every way, including monetarily. Ninety percent of the proceeds from the show will benefit NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri. Everyone is volunteering their time to support NARAL Missouri. It is tremendous how many artists in the community have come forward to share their skills to oppose this violence against women.”

“We are honored that That Uppity Theatre Company selected us as the main beneficiary of this production of The Vagina Monologues,” said Leah Boersig, NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri Board President. “The anti-choice supermajority in Missouri’s General Assembly is constantly working to chip away at reproductive freedom, but we’re fighting back every day to protect individuals who are facing issues like those featured in this production. The support of That Uppity Theatre Company, the patrons, and everyone else involved in this show is what allows us to keep fighting for improved access to reproductive healthcare in Missouri for all.”

This production is part of the international V-Day movement started by Ensler, which this year will run from February 1-March 8 and encompass over 1,000 productions around the globe. The Vagina Monologues is the cornerstone of the V-Day movement, whose participants stage benefit performances of the show and/or host other related events in their communities. The remaining 10% of the proceeds, not only from this production but from every V-Day production worldwide, will go to Ensler’s Spotlight campaign.

“We are deliberately offering tickets at a wide range of pricing to both raise money for this worthy organization as well as to ensure that as many people as possible can participate. We want them to have a powerful theatre experience and to feel connected to what is at stake,” said Lipkin. The show is directed by Rhonda Cropp, Joan Lipkin, Suki Peters, and Pam Reckamp. Technical direction by Michael Perkins.

Performers include Galina Angheluta, Anna Blair, Teresa Doggett, Paige Russell Elias, Carmen Garcia, Pam Reckamp, Gail Smith, Margeau Steinau, Sara Lin, Alderwoman Annie Rice, Christa Lou Cunningham, India Reid, Judi Mann, Talichia Noah, Jeanitta Perkins, Mariah Richardson, Grace Wilder, Miss Leon (aka Dieta Pepsi), and others. Featuring live drumming by Lisa Frumhoff, Debbie Blackwell, Rithia Brown, and Natalie Turner Jones.

For more information, see prochoicemissouri.org.

ABOUT V-DAY 2019: V-Day is a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization that distributes funds to national and international grassroots organizations and programs that work to stop violence against girls and women. V-Day’s 2018-2019 Spotlight will focus on women in prisons and jails, detention centers, and formerly incarcerated women.

ABOUT THE VAGINA MONOLOGUES: The episodic play was once called “probably the most important piece of political theater of the last decade,” by Charles Isherwood of the New York Times, and was included in the Times’s list of the most influential American plays since Angels In America last year.

Ensler based the piece on 200 interviews. Since originally performing the piece in 1996, she has continued to edit and expand the text to include transgender perspectives, writing the monologue They Beat the Girl Out of My Boy… after interviewing a group of women whose gender identity differed from their assigned gender identity at birth. She also included a piece about the rape of women in Bosnia, based on interviews.

Each year, the script released for V-Day is slightly different.

ABOUT NARAL PRO-CHOICE MISSOURI: NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri is the leading grassroots pro-choice advocacy organization in Missouri, and we believe that every woman should be able to make personal decisions about the full range of reproductive health options. NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri works to protect every woman’s right to access the full range of reproductive health options.

The St. Louis arts community has teamed up to promote voter awareness and registration through the “Dance the Vote” campaign. The event will take place on Saturday, Oct. 6, from 2 to 5 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall in Forest Park, with a free Michael Jackson community dance piece to be taught at 1 p.m. on the outdoor steps
This project brings together local artists who seek to make a difference during this election season by getting people registered to vote before the Oct. 10 Missouri voter registration deadline for the upcoming Nov. 6 General Election, and committed to voting on election day.
The “Dance to Vote” campaign raises public awareness on the themes of voting and civic
engagement featuring 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, KYPEKuumba Youth Performance Ensemble, Better Family Life and more.

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.
The formal program in the Missouri History Museum’s MacDermott Grand Hall at 2 p.m. will be
preceded by a free community dance piece to music by Michael Jackson to be taught at 1 p.m. on
the steps of the Museum.
“The Missouri History Museum is thrilled to be a part of this effort to raise citizen awareness
and get people to the polls. The history of our region and country is made up of choices that
were made at the polls, as well as the struggle to be included in those choices,” said Emily
Underwood director of community programs for the Missouri Historical Society. “Regardless of which candidates you support, voting is an important way to play a part in the continuing story
of our community.”
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.
The project is spearheaded by theatre artist and social activist Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of
That Uppity Theatre Company and Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company.
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.
“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. 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,” said Joan Lipkin, Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company.
Only 36.4 percent of the voting-eligible population turned up for the 2014 midterm elections,
according to numbers from the United States Election Project, run by Dr. Michael McDonald at
the University of Florida, which marks the 2014 midterms as having the lowest turnout since
WWII. In 2016, eligible voter turnout was just over 58 percent. In both instances, a low number
of voters have been determining the fate of the nation. We are now in the lead-up to the 2018
midterms, and communities face a number of obstacles to increased voter turnout.
Previous performances of “Dance the Vote” include outside Vintage Vinyl in the Delmar Loop,
St. Louis Black Pride and Left Bank Books.
The first midterm election edition “Dance the Vote” performance will take place on Saturday,
Oct. 6 from 2-5 p.m. at the Missouri History Museum in Forest Park. Non-partisan voter
registration opportunities will be available on location to interested voters. Performances will be
held within a three-hour time slot and each piece will be performed more than once.
“Dance the Vote provides an opportunity to showcase the skills of St. Louis choreographers and
dancers in service of community involvement. We are excited to create pieces tied to the history
of voting to remind the community how important it is to exercise this fundamental right,” said
Ashley Tate, Artistic Director of Ashleyliane Dance Company who is co-chairing Dance the Vote.
Featured image is photo of Ashley Tate.