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It’s a bird. It’s a plane. It’s a…dancer?

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Can you name one activity that majority of people love? One activity that is fun, aerobic, rhythmic and helps people connect? If you guessed dancing, you are correct. Dancing is one of the most poplar activities of our generation. There are many different forms of dancing from tango to swing or ballet to hip-hop.

Janae Shepherd Audiences were awe-struck by the acrobatics of BANDALOOP, a wildly popular vertical performance group.

Janae Shepherd
Audiences were awe-struck by the acrobatics of BANDALOOP, a wildly popular vertical performance group.

This past Saturday all these popular dance styles took the streets at the 7th Annual “Dancing in the Streets Festival.”  This festival celebrating the beauty of all dance form was held in Grand Center from 1-8 p.m. An estimated 60 local and regional dance companies came out to perform on Saturday.

Massive crowds of people filled the blocked off streets of Grand to watch amazing performers of all ages show off their skills. I witnessed an amazing young boy who looked no older than five in the middle of the hip-hop circle on Grand and Washington Blvd. The crowd went wild as the young boy began spinning on his head on the pavement. He was busting out some major moves that most people only see professionals attempt.

The festival had a wide range of performers. These performers ranged in age and style, yet they all were extremely talented.  A block away from the hip-hop circle I could hear the ringing of the tap dancers’ shoes drawing me closer to the energetic performers.

At the festival, I conducted a social experiment to see how people feel about the latest dance crave popularized by Miley Cyrus. You guessed it- twerking! In my attempts to examine this pop culture dance craze I took to the streets of this dance festival with a sign that read, “1st Annual Twerk off” and on the other side it said,  “Want to win 25 dollars?” I offered $25 dollars out of my very own pocket to the person who could twerk it the best in St. Louis.

I walked up and down Grand screaming crazy things at the top of my lungs such as,  “who wants 25 dollars? Who can twerk better than Miley Cyrus? Who loves to twerk?” I found out that a lot of senior citizens (65+ years old) actually know what twerking is. 15 people signed up for the contest and about 10 actually participated.

In the end, one extreme twerker who twerked while doing a split went home with the 25 dollars. The second place winner took home 10 dollars. I found out that people love this new dance craze—all ages, all races and all genders. We were all brought together in the twerk. To view the competition check out

The main event of the 7th Annual Dancing in the Streets Festival was a dance group called BANDALOOP. BANDLOOP is a pioneer in vertical performance. Their work has been presented in theaters and museums, on skyscrapers, bridges, billboards and historical sites, in atriums and convention halls, in nature on cliffs and on screen.

This talented group of individuals performed Swing dances while vertically suspended 20 stories high.

They began their act on the side of one of the tallest buildings in Midtown St. Louis, The Continental. They leapt high out in the air, spun around and flipped in the clouds as the crowd ‘ooo’ and ‘ahhed’ in amazement. I felt like I was watching dancers fly.

This free, outdoor dance festival truly showcased the beauty, art, athleticism and energy of dance.




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