Photograph by Amitava Sarkar
America’s struggled to find its cultural voice since Pilgrims first left footprints on New England beaches. But Midwestern art’s been particularly undervalued; Martha Graham and Aaron Copland’s Appalachian Spring, with its Shaker hymn score and barn-dancing ballerinas, still doesn’t show up on playbills as often as Swan Lake. On October 1, the Arts and Education Council will do its bit to rectify that situation. The council’s united 40 arts organizations for the second annual American Arts Experience, two weeks’ worth of intense arts programming, including the Rep’s production of High, starring Kathleen Turner; HEARding Cats Collective’s 60x60, with 60 1-minute works by 60 choreographers and 60 composers; and a rare, off-season Circus Flora performance. And though it’s not Appalachian Spring, Dance St. Louis’ October 8 season opener shrugs off European influence with American at Heart, Houston Ballet’s mixed-repertory program featuring original choreography scored to Mozart—revised by Bobby McFerrin.