Maggie Kast is a dancer, teacher, writer, and community activist. Trained in the Graham, Cunningham, and ballet techniques of classical ballet, she has performed for a number of troupes, including Robin Lakes RoughDance and Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. She founded, developed, and directed Chicago Contemporary Dance Theatre (1963-1980), serving as director, principal choreographer, teacher, and performer. She has a strong interest in dance within the context of worship, and has extensive experience in choreographing liturgical dance. Maggie has served on several boards, including St. Basil’s Free Peoples’ Clinic and Esperanza Community services.
Maggie Kast received her B.A. from the University of Chicago, and earned a Masters of Theological Studies (with a Word and Worship concentration) from the Catholic Theological Union, Chicago. She has taught at Valparaiso University and Columbia College. The recipient of several grants from the Illinois Arts Council and the National Endowment for the Arts, Maggie has also been recognized by the Chicago Dance Coalition, which gave her the Ruth Page Award for “Outstanding Contribution to the Dance Community.”
“I am currently dancing part-time as a member of the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange, where her three-year Hallelujah project is underway. We premiered ‘Hallelujah: In Praise of Ordinary Prophets’ in Tucson, where the company was joined by a gospel choir, a mariachi band, and numerous local dancers in a performance inspired by the desert environment and local stories. We then performed for the opening of the exhibit ‘Secrets of Aging’ at the Boston Science Museum at the end of April. The video ‘Journey with Me,’ a part of this exhibit, was made from interviews and dances recorded in the company’s studio last fall.”
“I am also a student in Vermont College’s low-residency M.F.A.-Fiction program in Montpelier, Vermont. This exciting program combines two twelve-day residencies per year with a tutorial relationship, in which the student submits five packets of fiction and criticism and receives detailed feedback. The residencies are packed with lectures, readings, and workshop, and the time in between is filled with focussed reading and writing. The faculty is outstanding.”
“I recently published an essay and a memoir in Contact Quarterly, and a story forthcoming in Sun magazine. I also have a piece coming out in Religion and the Arts about site-specific dance performance in a church, and the question of how sacred space effects performers, audience and the work as a whole.”