ArtFul Living

With Michelle “Mike” Ochonicky
Healthy Planet Arts Editor

Happy Valentines’s Day to ART Lovers!

As I looked over all that’s happening in the arts this month, I was overwhelmed by the variety of exhibitions and events, from February 1st right through the 28th. But I do know that, if you love the arts, you’ll love this month!!

Dance lovers get the opportunity to watch the Royal Ballet’s performance of Swan Lake onscreen at AMC/Chesterfield 14 Cinema in Chesterfield Mall on February 20. I think making ballet so accessible is a great idea! It just might recruit a few new devotees. Details at www.FathomEvents.com.

It was French-born Jacques Heim who choreographed Cirque du Soleil’s Kà when it opened in 2005 at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. That show is still running today, but Heim is now the choreographic genius behind Diavolo, which performs at the Touhill on February 28-March 1. “Daredevil dance” just doesn’t get any better than this Los Angeles-based dance company of gymnasts, modern dancers, athletes, stunt performers, martial artists, ballet and hip-hop dancers.

As asked by The New York Times, “Are they dancers who perform like gymnasts or gymnasts who move like dancers?” Dance St. Louis doesn’t care what you call it—Diavolo is awesome! Known for pushing the boundaries of dance, Diavolo combines the thrilling with the elegant. Signature use of gigantic set pieces is impressive, including a 15-foot staircase, an 18-foot steel wheel, and more.

Even Diavolo’s name is a unique combination, merging the Spanish word for “day” with the Latin word for “I fly.” Founded in 1992, the dance company was named a “cultural treasure” by the City of Los Angeles in 2007. Seeing Diavolo perform is sure to be a treasured experience. Learn more about Diavolo at www.diavolo.org. Reserve your tickets (before the show sells out!) by calling 314-534-6622, or by visiting www.dancestlouis.org. Arrive early at the Touhill lobby to enjoy the free Speaking of Dance session, hosted by Dance St. Louis Artistic & Executive Director Michael Uthoff , 45-minutes before each performance.

Music lovers get some special treats this month, too. In celebration of St. Louis’ 250th anniversary, the Touhill Performing Arts Center hosts seven of the area’s finest choirs reflecting St. Louis’s heritage on February 16 at 3 p.m. Presented by St. Louis Sings and Bach Society of St. Louis, the free program is hosted by Radio Arts Foundation’s Jim Connett. Performances include stl250 Bach Society Chorus, St. Louis Chamber Chorus, Ambassadors of Harmony, St. Louis Symphony IN UNISON Chorus, Archdiocesan Chorus of Saint Louis, St. Louis Children’s Choirs, and the UMSL University Singers. No advance tickets are available for this event. Seats will be filled on a first come, first served basis; doors open at 2:30 p.m.

On February 22, Guitar St. Louis brings classical guitarist William Kanengiser to the Ethical Society. With a repertoire ranging from classical to jazz to Caribbean to Near Eastern, the evening performance will be like a musical trip around the world! Details at www.guitarstlouis.net.

On February 23, Cathedral Concerts presents the Organ & Brass Spectacular. Aptly named, the 8 p.m. concert brings powerful sounds to the beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis on Lindell. A seat at this concert includes plenty to see as well as to hear: the Cathedral Basilica houses one of the largest collections of mosaics in the Western Hemisphere. For ticket info, call 314-533-7662 or visit www.CathedralConcerts.org.

Visual Arts lovers won’t be home at all this month… because there are just so many exhibitions to see! From February 4-27, The Gallery of University City Public Library presents “The Art of Folk.” The exhibition showcases outsider art from Turner Center for the Arts (located in Maplewood). The nonprofit center has been mentioned in this column before: TCA’s mission is to “foster the social, intellectual, emotional, and personal growth of artists with disabilities through self-expression… and serves aspiring artists who are challenged by developmental disabilities, mental illness and/or traumatic brain injury.” Opening reception is on February 7, 6-8 p.m. For info, call 314-727-3150.

Through April 27, the International Photography Hall of Fame & Museum presents “St. Louis Collects: 20th Century Street Photography.” Very appropriate as the city begins its 250th anniversary! Check is out at 3415 Olive; visit www.iphf.org for details.
Pulitzer Foundation for the Arts opens “Art of Its Own Making” on February 13. This group exhibition includes works in every medium imaginable, and runs through August 23. Details at www.pulitzerarts.org.

Art and Nature lovers both get a treat this month when “Art in Bloom” fills the Saint Louis Art Museum with fresh flowers and their fragrance, February 28-March 2. Local floral designers interpret works in the collection… in fresh flowers. You’ve got to experience this event!! Find info at www.slam.org.