Ballet, jazz and hip-hop to clogging, flamenco and modern dance will take centerstage during the 15th annual St. Louis Dance Festival Showcase from May 2 to 4 at the Edison Theatre at Washington University.

In celebration of the diversity of dance across the St. Louis community, 30 local companies will come together for three days of top-notch performances. Acclaimed veteran groups, including Saint Louis Ballet, MADCO and Dances of India, to debuting rising stars, such as Bollywood Shuffle, Tohazan-ryu Japanese Dance and Prestige Ballroom, will each showcase its unique style of dance. Dances of India, the first classical Indian dance group founded in Missouri in 1976 by artistic director Asha Prem, will present a performance filled with intricate, storytelling movements to the sounds of traditional Indian song; conversely, Bollywood Shuffle will perform looser movements to modern music, explains Nartana Prem of Dances of India. Creativity and collaborations are sparked as the dance groups perform among one another, she adds.

To mark the event’s 15th anniversary, a special finale will close each show. Choreographed by acclaimed Joffrey Ballet master Gerard Charles, all 30 dance companies together will take the stage for a unique performance to the tune of a classical piece by Mozart.

Nartana Prem’s father and president of Dances of India, Dr. Bhartur Prem—known as Dr. Prem to many—brought the idea of the dance festival to fruition 15 years ago. While Dr. Prem felt that nationally touring dance companies were great for St. Louis audiences, he also saw a need for an event to showcase the wide variety of talented groups here in St. Louis. To fill this void, he worked with former Dance St. Louis executive director, the late Adam Pinsker, to launch the showcase that allows audiences the rare treat of experiencing a diverse range of dance, music and culture, all on one stage throughout one weekend.

The dance festival has been embraced by the community, growing in number of dance companies, as well as audience attendance, through the years, Dr. Prem says. Attendees can see groups they enjoy, as well as discover new styles, he adds. “For the price, you just don’t see this type of show. It continues to get a very positive audience reaction.”

St. Louis 2014 Dance Festival Showcase

WHEN: 7:30 p.m. May 2-3, 3 p.m. May 4

WHERE: Edison Theatre at Washington University

FEATURING: Saint Louis Ballet, Alexandra Ballet, Missouri Contemporary Ballet, MADCO, Metro Dance Company, Viva Flamenco, Arts in Motion, The Slaughter Project, Missouri River Cloggers, Final Veil and more

COST: $20 advanced daily tickets, $25 at the door, $45 weekend ticket package

INFO: 935-6543 or

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