There was music pumping and people dancing in the streets of the Grand Center near the Fox Theatre for the fourth annual Dancing in the Streets festival on Sept. 25. Seven stages and areas filled the streets with dances varying from ballet to tap to salsa dance.
“It’s just a fun way for the Grand Center to just kick off the fall season,” said Kelly Weber, the director of events. “It is also a great way for dancers to get some exposure.”
Webster University had two performances at the event. Associate professor Beckah Reed instructed “Passing By,” an improvisational performance. Reed said that the festival is a great opportunity for St. Louis to showcase local dancers.
“It is also a great chance for non-dancers to show their support,” Reed said.
The Grand Stage featured a wide variety of things including Radio Disney and ballroom dancing lessons. The Fox Tap Stage had multiple levels and types of dance ensembles. A senior citizen tap group immediately followed a group of children tap dancers. There was even a performance that showed a nerd become popular.
The Washington Stage featured the Ashleyliane Dance Company, which did a performance called “Mission Impossible.” It used a compilation of action movie sound tracks. The dance was a story line of burglars trying to escape from the heroes of each featured movie.
Matt Schmitz, a junior dance major, participated in both of Webster’s dances. While he enjoyed the opportunity to perform, Schmitz said the chance to watch other companies was great.
“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s really cool how we get to come out here and see all the support from the dance community. What’s great about this festival is that we can come out and see how many other styles there are. It’s a lot of fun to see all the different types.”
Last year’s festival was rained out and the dancers weren’t allowed to dance because it was too dangerous. Reed said getting to do the shows was nice, but getting to come together as a community was great.
“It’s just fabulous,” Reed said. “We didn’t get to perform last year, so it’s just fantastic that we can do it this year. But for me, it’s an opportunity to get the dance community together.”
Reed said the overwhelming support for dance was something she loved because it reflects well on the area.
“The dance community has had a great support for itself,” he said. “But seeing all the support from those outside of the dance community is great to see because we have some great dance in this city.”