On this episode of DLEW, I talk with Stacy West and Nicole Whitesell of Modern American Dance Company (MADCO).
It’s common practice for dance companies to have some form of education outreach. But MADCO takes dance education and education THROUGH dance to a whole new level. Check out the episode to hear some of the amazing teaching practices that MADCO uses to ensure that their work is making an impact.
Stacy West (Executive and Artistic Director) joined MADCO in 1988 as a dancer and was appointed Artistic Director in 1994. She enjoys teaching for the UMSL Department of Continuing Studies specializing in dance classes for students with intellectual disabilities. Ms. West has served as a master teacher and consultant for numerous organizations including GoSeeDoArts in New York, Cirque du Soleil, Walt Disney Entertainment, and Walt Disney Casting in Orlando. Other credits include Adjunct Faculty in the Department of Dance at Webster University, the Department of Dance at the University of Missouri – St. Louis, master classes at State University New York/Fredonia, University of South Florida, Tennessee Association for Dance, American College Dance Festival among many others. In 2001 the national organization Young Audiences named her “Artist of the Year” for her contribution to arts education. In 2007 West designed and implemented MADCO’s “Books in Motion” dance residency program which uses dance to promote literacy and creative thinking skills. The program is now in 15 schools throughout the state of Missouri. In 2011 she conceived a work titled “VEZA” using dance to tell the stories of some of the 50,000 Bosnian immigrants living in St. Louis. The piece was covered in a documentary by HEC-TV and in 2012 won an International Telly Award and a Regional Emmy Award. In 2015 under her leadership MADCO won its second Emmy Award for Liquid Roads. In 2016, West received a Visionary Artist Awards for her work as an Outstanding Arts Educator.
Nicole Whitesell (Rehearsal Director) graduated Magna Cum Laude from Missouri State University with a BFA in Dance Performance. While attending MSU, she was a member of the Inertia Dance Company where she toured local elementary schools working with children to enhance reading and creative thinking skills through creative movement, performed and worked with guest artists. Upon graduating from MSU, Nicole moved to New York City to dance with Dodge Dance Company. While in New York, Nicole also danced with Amy Marshall Dance Company and Luxdance. Nicole joined MADCO seven seasons ago when she moved back to St. Louis. While working with MADCO, Nicole has had the pleasure of working with a number of guest artists including Gina Patterson, Jennifer Archibald, Ronen Koresh, and Michael Uthoff. Along with studying dance performance, Nicole also has a passion for dance education. In New York, Nicole taught at various schools on Long Island and was an adjunct faculty member at Webster University and at several local dance studios. Nicole is currently the Artistic Director and Curriculum Coordinator at Rokita Dance Center in St. Peters, Missouri.
Dance Like Everyone’s Watching with Andrea Muhlbauer is the show that brings you inspiration and insight into the world of dance and choreography. Andrea and her amazing guests are saying the things that no one else will. D.L.E.W. will tackle the MAJOR problems facing dance and the arts: the diminishing of audiences, the rise of new technologies, and the loss of artistic purpose. Slightly controversial opinions and real talk are guaranteed.