New Dance Horizons V: Women Who Inspire explores women of all periods, from all backgrounds, and in all fields who consciously and positively influenced the world as we know it.

Four nationally reputed choreographers set original dance works on three local professional dance companies. The three original, moving and inspired dance pieces experience their WORLD DEBUT the weekend of March 3-4. 

PNC Arts Alive New Dance Horizons V’s selected choreographers are San Francisco-based Amy Seiwert, Wendy Rein, Ryan T. Smith, and award-winning Chicago dance artist Stephanie Martinez.

Saint Louis Ballet, MADCO and The Big Muddy Dance Company are the participating professional dance companies. 

The choreographers’ inspirations for their world premieres include 12th-century abbess, mystic and composer Hildegard of Bingen; Susannah Cahalan, author of “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness”; French-American visual artist Louise Bourgeois; and Chilean poet and Nobel Prize winner Gabriela Mistral

All tickets are $20.

josephine baker and katherine dunham

josephine baker and katherine dunham

Dance st. louis "wall of inspiration" campaign contest

Dance st. louis "wall of inspiration" campaign contest

Hildegard of bingen

Hildegard of bingen

susannah cahalan and louise bourgeois

susannah cahalan and louise bourgeois

Gabriela mistral

Gabriela mistral


World Premiere Weekend

Before and after each performance and during intermission, Dance St. Louis hosts various supplemental features themed around inspirational women in the Touhill’s Terrace Lobby. These include: 

Katherine Dunham Panel Discussion & Lobby Performance
Friday, March 3 at 7:15 p.m. 
Host: Sara Burke, founder, The City Studio Dance Center
Panelists: Joanna Dee Das, Washington University professor and researcher of a new book on Ms. Dunham; Keith Tyrone Williams, Dunham trained dancer and choreographer
Lobby performance: Katherine Dunham piece by Innervision Dance Theatre
Choreography: Keith Tyrone Williams, artistic director, Innervision Dance Theatre

Josephine Baker Panel Discussion & Lobby Performance
Saturday, March 4 at 7:15 p.m. 
Panelists: Olivia Lahs-Gonzales, director, Sheldon Art Galleries, editor of “Josephine Baker: Image & Icon”; Kathryn Bentley, associate professor, SIUE Department of Theater & Dance, education coordinator, Dance St. Louis
Lobby performance: Recreation of Josephine Baker’s “Danse Sauvage” by Dance St. Louis Education Residency student
Choreography: Ashley L. Tate, chair, Dance Department, Grand Center Arts Academy

“Wall of Inspiration” Campaign & Competition
Friday - Saturday, March 3-4
An opportunity for the general public to recognize the inspirational women in their lives, this campaign and contest runs from February 3-24, with photo submissions projected in the Terrace Lobby and winning submissions displayed inside the theater for patrons to enjoy. Enter to win!

Student Artwork Exhibit by Central VPA High School
Friday - Saturday, March 3-4
An exhibit of artwork by students at Central VPA High School, reflecting each student’s depiction of an inspirational woman. 


World Premieres

Amy Seiwert and Saint Louis Ballet

Inspiration: Hildegard of Bingen
The music of 12th-Century German Benedictine abbess and mystic Hildegard of Bingen is the inspiration for choreographer Amy Seiwert. Hildegard of Bingen, also known as Saint Hildegard and “Sibyl of the Rhine,” composed an entire corpus of sacred music that is still popular today. She is considered one of the first known composers in the Western tradition. Seiwert sees Hildegard of Bingen as an incredible force of nature with an astounding story about her ability to compose music as well as write books on medicine, botany and theology while living as an abbess. 

Seiwert, who enjoyed a 19-year performing career and was named one of “25 to Watch” by Dance Magazine in 2005, is artistic director of Amy Seiwert’s Imagery, a contemporary ballet company in San Francisco. She is setting her world premiere work on Saint Louis Ballet, led by Artistic Director Gen Horiuchi

Wendy Rein & Ryan T. Smith and MADCO

Inspiration: Susannah Cahalan and Louise Bourgeois
San Francisco-based choreographers Wendy Rein and Ryan T. Smith have drawn inspiration from two talented women: Susannah Cahalan and Louise Bourgeois. Washington University graduate and journalist Susannah Cahalan is the author of the 2012 New York Times best-selling autobiography “Brain on Fire: My Month of Madness” in which she discusses the disease that attacked her brain, left her with no memory of a month long series of events, and ultimately altered her life. 20th century French-American visual artist Louise Bourgeois, whose work has been described as intensely feminine and spanned from large-scale sculpture and installation art to printmaking and painting, is the choreographers’ other inspiration. Both women used their art to repair their own lives and share their experiences with others. 

Rein and Smith are the founders/co-artistic directors of RAWdance, an award-winning contemporary dance company in San Francisco. Rein and Smith worked together for six years before founding RAWdance in 2004. The San Francisco Chronicle lauded the artistic directors’ “genuine partnership, one of the more thrilling in Bay Area dance.” They are setting their work on modern dance company MADCO, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary and is led by Artistic/Executive Director Stacy West.

Stephanie Martinez and The Big Muddy Dance Company

Inspiration: Gabriela Mistral
Chicago-based choreographer Stephanie Martinez’s inspiration is the poetry of Gabriela Mistral, Chilean poet-diplomat and educator who became the first Latin American author to receive a Nobel Prize in Literature in 1945. The poem “Miedo” (or “Fear”), which deals with a mother’s fear her daughter will not become the strong, independent woman she believes is her destiny, is central to Martinez’s choreography. Martinez also draws inspiration from the Latina culture of her family, including her sister Mercedes Inez, who composed the music selection for the world premiere. 

Stephanie Martinez is an award-winning Chicago dance artist with more than 30 years’ professional performing experience. A founding member of River North Dance Chicago, she made her choreographic debut in 2009 and has since traveled the country as a master teacher and professional choreographer, setting works on reputed companies and ensembles. Martinez collaborates with The Big Muddy Dance Company, the St. Louis-based contemporary dance company led by Executive Director Erin Warner Prange and Artistic Director Brian Enos.

Single Tickets On Sale Now!

Single Tickets New Dance Horizons 5

Directions & Parking


Directions: The Blanche M. Touhill Performing Arts Center is located on the campus of the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Take I-70 to Florissant Road (Exit 240).  Travel South on Florissant Rd. to the second University entrance at Grobman Drive.  Turn right.  

From Natural Bridge, turn left onto University Drive and follow it around to the right as it turns into Grobman Drive.

Parking is available in the garage to the left, just under the bridge, and in Parking Lot E on the right, about 500 feet past the bridge


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