The Big Muddy Dance Company Premieres “Channel Two” at St. Louis College of Pharmacy

Published on 12 June 2018

The Big Muddy Dance Company recently returned to St. Louis College of Pharmacy for a follow-up to their 2014 and 2016 appearances. This year’s performance marked the premiere of “Channel Two,” choreographed by Robyn Mineko Williams, which debuted at the College-sponsored “New Dance Horizons VI: Live at the Grandel” program.

New Dance Horizons, organized by Dance St. Louis, is an effort that pairs three nationally renowned choreographers with three local dance companies to produce three world premieres. As part of the Liberal Arts Convocations series at the College, The Big Muddy Dance Company was invited to campus to provide a sneak peek performance before its formal opening at the Grandel.

“Channel Two” is a collection of solos and duets that explores the ways people relate to one another. Each dance was rich with distinct characters and nuanced relationships that left audience members feeling as though they were peering into the quiet, private moments of a stranger’s life. The piece evoked aging romance, the excitement of courtship, the innocence of childhood, and all the space that exists between.

For “Channel Two,” the company of thirteen was broken up into two casts, each of which produced a different presentation of characters.

During a Q&A session following the performance, one of the dancers noted that even though both casts were performing the same piece of choreography, the choreography became something quite different with a different group of dancers. This observation echoed the themes highlighted by Brian Walter, Ph.D., director of convocations and professor of English at the College, during his introduction.

“Self-determination is a crucial element of health and health care,” Walter said. “Your patients may come to you feeling awkward about their bodily challenges, and your job is to provide space for them to express themselves and connect with you as their health care provider.”

Similar to the choreography process of “Channel Two,” there is a need for deep listening and appreciation for the backgrounds that people and patients bring with them. When it comes to the process of patient care, the choreography may be the same, but the dancers will change, and with each new dancer is an opportunity to create a performance richly different, unique and worthwhile.

The performance by The Big Muddy Dance Company closed the Liberal Arts Convocations series programming for the academic year, perfectly encapsulating the “Bodies and Boundaries” theme explored throughout the school year.

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