Since its inception in 2010, Common Thread Contemporary Dance Company has been committed to the development of community-based initiatives focused on expanding creative practice and participation of non-traditional constituencies. Common Thread’s mission of community-partnership is based on pursuing excellence in choreographic practice, nurturing outstanding professional performance artists and, most importantly, helming and/or co-producing community dance programs which enrich the lives of participants with a wide array of life experiences. In accordance with this mission, Common Thread performs at highly reputable national dance festivals, produces positively reviewed seasonal concerts, and is proactively and extensively involved in ongoing partnerships with local community programs – providing workshops, classes, and performance opportunities.
The Community CollabArtive is an ongoing collaborative art class engaging men in the Transitional Housing Program at Peter and Paul Community Services. The work with the men in transitional housing is an asset to their continued evaluative process of leaving a life of chronic homelessness. Artistic Director Jennifer Medina contributes to the collaborative group as a movement specialist, and recently contributed choreography to a premiere Dance/Theater piece titled “Marking Time-Making Change.” The Dance/Theater piece premiered at the Missouri History Museum in July 2012. This work was also a featured component of a documentary following the men in transitional housing, (of the same name,) which premiered at the Missouri History Museum in November 2012.
“Rustbelt to Artistbelt” – Living St. Louis – features Common Thread and the Community CollabArtive.
“Impact” – HEC TV, January 2013 – features Artistic Director Jennifer Medina in collaboration with the Community Arts CollabArtive.
The DisAbility Project is led by award-winning theater artist Joan Lipkin. The work with the DisAbility Project is an effort to bring dance and theater mediums together in order to raise community awareness of the struggle of those affected by mental and physical disabilities. Our current project is a Dance/Theater piece that will premiere October 10th, 2013, as part of the conference on the International Rights of the Disabled.
Both of these community partnerships explore the resultant implications of art as a powerful tool for healing, raising community awareness regarding social justice, and community building. The impact in St. Louis includes a further enhanced landscape of presented art, as well as engaging audiences in a perception of art as a therapeutic tool for healing and community awareness.