Gitana Productions’ Muddy River Dance Theatre Explores Iconic St. Louis Racial Events and Issues, May 11-19

Muddy River, an original dance theatre performance by Gitana Productions that explores iconic St. Louis racial events and issues, opens May 11 and runs through May 19 at Cardinal Rigali Center, 20 Archbishop May Drive at Laclede Station Road. Performances are on Fridays and Saturdays at 8 p.m. For ticket information, visit www.gitana-inc.org.
A collaboration of St. Louis playwright Lou Robinson and director/choreographer Vivian Anderson-Watt, Muddy River contrasts the human qualities that unite us – love, acceptance, empathy, hope – with iconic racial events in St. Louis history.

One dramatic dance segment in Muddy River exposes the “spectacular domination celebration” of the 1904 World’s Fair Living Displays, where African pygmy families and a thousand Filipino natives were caged and exhibited as “primitives” in makeshift ‘natural’ environments.

Another depicts the 1917 East St. Louis race riots, during which white rioters burned the city and shot African American residents as they fled the flames. In one poignant scene, a mother and her four children escape the violence on a hastily built raft, only to fight the mighty Mississippi River for their lives.

Other dance scenes explore the Rubik’s Cube of color-coded maps that once dictated where people of color could buy property in St. Louis; a “catwalk” of characters who have struggled throughout history to establish positive identities; pants-sagging modern day ethnic styles; and the insult of racial profiling. The performance culminates in a rainstorm-induced ritual cleansing that unites the diverse ethnic groups and exposes their original core humanity.
“Muddy River is a departure from the complicated lens of words. By using movement and music, we expose the raw realities of action and behavior,” said Cecilia Nadal, executive director of Gitana Productions. “Our intention is to penetrate consciousness in a powerful and dynamic way, to open the audience to a different way of seeing and understanding. And despite the painful issues that challenge us, hope is never lost.”

Tickets are $15 and $12 for students and seniors. Special rates are available for groups of 15 or more. Tickets may be reserved at www.gitana-inc.org or by contacting info@gitana-inc.org or 314-721-6556.

The Regional Arts Commission and the Missouri Arts Council have provided funding to support Gitana Productions events.

Gitana Productions, Inc. is a not-for-profit arts and education organization dedicated to increasing cross-cultural awareness and collaboration by bringing international music, dance and drama to the St. Louis community. Gitana events present a rarely seen diversity of international and local artists exhibiting an array of traditional and innovative artistic expressions.

For more information, visit www.gitana-inc.org or call Gitana Productions at (314) 721-6556.