Grupo Atlantico will kick off the Women in the Arts Conference with a dance performance on Nov. 5 at Unity Lutheran Church in Bel-Nor, Mo.

Grupo Atlantico, a St. Louis-based dance troupe founded by Colombian-American dancer Carmen Dence, will kick off the International Women in the Arts Conference. The group will perform at 7:30 p.m. Nov. 5 at Unity Lutheran Church in Bel-Nor, Mo. This free performance is titled “Bullerengue: Its History and Social Significance.”

The concert serves as a pre-conference event to the Women in the Arts Conference that will take place Nov. 10–12 at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Barbara Harbach, professor of music at UMSL and founder of Women in the Arts, said the conference is the capstone event of celebrating women creators present and past, and a partnership of institutions and arts organizations from across the St. Louis metropolitan area.

Conference presentations will relate to all fields of women creators in the arts, Harbach said.

“There will be music, literature, drama, dance, performance art and visual art including papers, lectures, recitals, clinics, demonstrations, panels, performances and workshops,” she said. “Presenters are faculty members (full time, adjunct and retired), independent scholars, performers, artists, writers and graduate students.”

The Grupo Atlantico pre-conference performance fits in with the conference structure of focusing on a woman-founded artistic group. The dance troupe performs at festivals, celebrations and other venues in St. Louis and throughout Missouri.

Founder Carmen Dence has taught dance and traditional dance costume making as a Master Artist of the Missouri Traditional arts Apprenticeship Program. Through performance and educational programs, Dence shares the rich tri-ethnic heritage (African, Indian and Spanish roots) of the Caribbean and Pacific coastal regions of Colombia in South America. She is especially knowledgeable in the different music, rhythms and percussive instruments, as well as the symbolism of costumes, dance steps and body movements.

Additional pre-conference events will take place Nov. 6–9 and include a dramatic reading, and piano and vocal performances.

Admittance to the Grupo Atlantico performance is free and open to the public. The cost of the conference Nov. 10–12 is $25 for one day, $50 for two days, and $70 for the entire conference. Vendors wishing to participate in the marketplace must pay a one-time fee of $30. UMSL students, faculty and staff may attend for free.

To register, call Raina Traore-Gress at 314-516-5974. Registration also is available online at

For more information about any of the pre-conference events or the conference itself, call Barbara Harbach at 314-516-4990 or visit the above website.

Leslie Patterson

Leslie Patterson

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