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VIDEO: St Louis Theatre Artists Respond to Voter Challenges With Music Video


Dance the Vote, an intergenerational non-partisan St Louis-based arts group co-founded by Joan Lipkin, Producing Artistic Director of That Uppity Theatre Company, and comprised of white women and women of color have created several initiatives, demonstrating both creativity and resilience in the midst of the pandemic to use the arts to promote civic engagement.

With the necessity of notaries for mail in ballots, with videographer and editor Dan Kelly, they created a music video called "Gotta Vote: A Gloria Inspired Video about Voting in Missouri, Mail-in, Absentee Ballots, Notaries and All!" featuring several St. Louis actors as well as Denise Lieberman, the General Counsel of the Missouri Voter Protection Coalition to provide information on registration, deadlines and notaries.

"In the pandemic and with scientifically proven needs for social distancing and masking, it's incumbent to find creative ways to share information and encourage people to stay involved and committed to voting. Artists have always been problem solvers," said Lipkin. "We appreciate everyone who participated in the video on a tight time line to help decode the complexities around voting, especially around notary requirements that most states don't have."

Dance the Vote also created a friend-to-friend and colleague-to-colleague phone banking and texting program, hiring out-of-work actors who reached hundreds of people to remind them of the July 8 deadline to register to vote for the August 4th primary in which Medicaid expansion is on the ballot.

Faced with the COVID-19 pandemic that prohibits large gatherings like a previous Dance the Vote event that attracted over 1100 people to the Missouri History Museum in October, 2018 for the midterms, DTV organizers have commissioned over 20 choreographers of color, both local and national to create and film original short dance pieces about voting which will released in upcoming weeks on the internet through multiple platforms.

Other upcoming work includes a live stream community dance class on Sept 26, led by DTV co-producer Ashley Tate at the Missouri History Museum to teach a variety of line dances and to promote getting in line either virtually or in person to vote.


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