Dance the Vote: John Lewis Competition for College Students

By Joan Lipkin posted 10-14-2020 09:09


Dancers with Las Rumberas perform in 2018 at the Missouri History Museum as part of Dance the Vote in advance of the midterm elections. Courtesy of That Uppity Theatre Company.

The “Dance The Vote” campaign seeks to raise public awareness by performing dance featuring choreography and dancers on the history and significance of voting. The first Dance the Vote performance was held four years ago outside Vintage Vinyl Records in St Louis, offering non-partisan voter registration opportunities. From there, the effort expanded at the midterm elections to more than 1,000 audience members at the Missouri History Museum.

When the pandemic hit and George Floyd was murdered, DTV pivoted to a digital platform,  commissioning and centering BIPOC choreographers in St Louis, New York, LA, Denver,  Michigan  and Europe to make short dance videos about voting or issues that might compel someone to vote including climate change, incarceration, disability, the wall, Black Lives Matter and women’s suffrage. The pieces are packaged in episodes of two or three that are rolled out every Wednesday through the election and may be seen on multiple platforms including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, and Vimeo.

As a final part of their election efforts, in partnership with That Uppity Theatre Company and Webster University, this year DTV is offering a contest for college students anywhere in the US under the title “Make Good Trouble: Why John Lewis Inspires Me to Vote.” It builds on the legacy of Lewis, a civil rights icon who died July 17 who devoted his life to voting rights and racial and gender justice. Submissions for the contest may be posted through Oct. 19 of up to a minute in any medium.

Theatre students  are especially encouraged to write and record monologues or make graphics. They can create solo work, partner or work in teams. Winning entries will be posted and are eligible for prizes between $250-$500.