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Health & Wellness

Consuming Kinetics Dance Company moves to new CWE location

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

Consuming Kinetics Dance Company (CKDC) is the latest in the mix of businesses that have moved to a stretch of Olive Street from Walton Ave. east to Boyle, an area of the CWE that heretofore might have been considered off the beaten path.

Other examples include St. Louis Art Supply which debuted at 4532 Olive in late August, and Premier Martial Arts, located just opposite CKDC at the corner of Olive and Taylor. In December Bowood Farms opened an expanded gift and home shop called Holliday, joining Juno BridalHorsley Gallery and Jackson Piano  among the recent arrivals in the district. The oldest business on that stretch is Presto Color Printing, 4370 Olive, which has been in business on Olive for over 50 years.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady   CKDC’s Founder, Executive and Artistic Director Arica Brown, left, and Assistant Artistic Director Ashreale McDowell, right, along with fellow instructors and volunteers, spent 6 weeks renovating the 2000 s.f. corner space in the Lister Building at Olive and Taylor, above. On January 3, Consuming Kinetics Dance Company, which had been located in Gaslight Square for the previous 4 years, was back in operation offering classes for youth, ages 3 to 18, and adults, ages 19 to 70.

Arica Brown earned a B.A. in Dance from UMSL and a certificate in Somatic Studies from W.U.  Brown founded CKDC in 2009 just after college. She wanted an opportunity to continue choreographing and her friends wanted to keep on dancing. The name Consuming Kinetics Dance Company comes from Brown’s desire to incorporate the word “kinetic, and to have an edgy, limitless feel, to be all consuming.”

Ashreale McDowell discovered dance while attending Central Visual and Performing Arts High School and was awarded a pre-professional scholarship to COCA. From there she earned a B.F.A. in Dance from Webster University. Here are their interesting bios, as well as those of other artists and staff, including 3 who are named the “junior junior company.”

According to the website, CKDC, a 501(c)3, is the only professional dance company in St. Louis that offers all level classes. Class fees help pay for the dance company’s performance season (there are two full-length performances yearly), and create more job opportunities for full-time artists. CKDC is a Kranzberg Arts Foundation Resident and a member of the .ZACK Incubator.

My first exposure to a CKDC youth performance was during last holiday’s CWE Window Walk event. See below:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

Since CKDC opened, there’s been a noticeable shot of energy added to the corner of Taylor and Olive when  students are dropped off for class in the late afternoon. The photo above shows a teenage hip-hop class taught by Anthony Bady, center front, taken in early January. Other classes on the weekly schedule include Tiny Dancers for ages 3 to 6, Teen and Youth Tap,  All Ages Animation and Robotics, and All Ages Musical Theater.

When asked if the students come from a particular school, Brown said they draw from all over. “We focus on diversity and are lucky that our client base is just that. We rarely have more than 2 to 3 students from one school.” She continued, “Families come to CKDC for our unique approach to dance instruction. We raise our students as artists. There isn’t a dress code, and with our mission making dance accessible to all, we don’t require students to purchase dance shoes either. All shoes are provided on site thanks to the generosity of our sponsors.”

Youth classes cost $50/month for one class a week, $80/month for 2 classes a week, etc. Brown emphasized that scholarships are available.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

Parents watch as the hour-long class winds down.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Health & Wellness Services  St. Louis Art Supply Presto Color Printing Juno Bridal Jackson Piano Consuming Kinetics Dance Company Bowood Farms Ashreale McDowel Arica Brown Anthony Bady

The photo above shows adults warming up for a Monday night contemporary dance class. A hip-hop dance class for adults followed at 8 p.m. A list of classes can be found here.  Drop-in classes are $15 each, a 6-class card is $80, etc.

CKDC offers more than dance. Parents of young children will be glad to know that next Saturday, February 16, CKDC is hosting a Parents Night Out event, and this summer an Art and Dance Camp from July 15 to August 9. Learn more here.

Also, for the bride and groom anxious to WOW their guests at the reception, CKDC instructors choreograph wedding dances. Information about private lessons here.

Consuming Kinetics Dance Company at 465 N. Taylor and Olive.

Founders of CWE Farm publish “A Gift Garden”

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink For Children Health & Wellness Urban Gardens  Trinity Episcopal Church Second Presbyterian Church Nancy Culbert Gift Garden Fresh Food Foundation First Unitarian Church CWE Farm Central Reform Congregation Arthur Culbert

“It’s best to take the picture while we’re harvesting,” Arthur Culbert said, as he and his wife Nancy were hurriedly picking the last of the summer’s bounty grown at the CWE Farm to benefit neighborhood food pantries. With the first frost in the forecast, there was little time to pose for photos the morning I visited to learn more about the couple’s new book, A Gift Garden. The illustrated book, which the Culberts have been working on for the past 2 years, was inspired by their experience working with all the 4th graders who have participated in the “Citizens Making a Difference” curriculum at New City School.

The book launch is scheduled for this Monday, December 10, at The Mahler Ballroom (more information follows).

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink For Children Health & Wellness Urban Gardens  Trinity Episcopal Church Second Presbyterian Church Nancy Culbert Gift Garden Fresh Food Foundation First Unitarian Church CWE Farm Central Reform Congregation Arthur Culbert

Photos above: Arthur Culbert and 4th grade students at New City School.

Arthur started the CWE Farm 8 years ago on a vacant lot in the 5000 block of Waterman (just west of Kingshighway). Over the past 7 growing seasons the farm has produced approximately 16,000 pounds of organic fruits and vegetables for food pantries at Trinity Episcopal Church and Second Presbyterian Church. Tying the farm’s mission to eliminate hunger in the community to a program for neighborhood school children where they learn where food comes from, how to plant and grow it for those less fortunate to enjoy, was a brilliant idea and what inspired the Culberts to write A Gift Garden.

“We hope that the book will inspire others and initiate a movement working together towards eliminating hunger,” said Nancy, who co-authored the book aimed at a 4th grade reading level and up. They were able to work almost every vocabulary word that New City School 4th graders learn into the story. Arthur added that Nancy brought a magical touch to the writing.

The Culberts, who have been married for 11 years, have backgrounds in the public health arena. Arthur was dean of a public health program in Boston for 31 years before moving to St. Louis 13 years ago, and Nancy recently retired after 16 years as the Director of Student Services at the College for Public Health & Social Justice at SLU.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink For Children Health & Wellness Urban Gardens  Trinity Episcopal Church Second Presbyterian Church Nancy Culbert Gift Garden Fresh Food Foundation First Unitarian Church CWE Farm Central Reform Congregation Arthur Culbert

Central Reform Congregation and First Unitarian Church, which are neighbors of the CWE Farm, contribute vegetables from their own gardens to the CWE pantries as well. Together they have contributed an additional 1400 pounds of produce. Generous “alley” neighbors from Westminster Place have also joined the effort by contributing produce from their backyard gardens too.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Books, Dance, Music, Theater Food and Drink For Children Health & Wellness Urban Gardens  Trinity Episcopal Church Second Presbyterian Church Nancy Culbert Gift Garden Fresh Food Foundation First Unitarian Church CWE Farm Central Reform Congregation Arthur Culbert

December 10, the date of the book launch, coincides with the 70th anniversary of first proclamation of the Universal Declaration of  Human Rights which in Article 25 declares that everyone has a right to food.

In A Gift Garden, 10-year-old Bea, described as a super hero, declares: “Every person has a right to food,” as she and her friends develop a project to help feed the hungry. The book’s characters decide to become citizens making a difference and work toward planning, building and growing a community gift garden.

Tickets for A Gift Garden Book Launch at The Mahler Ballroom, 4915 Washington, $25 (for soft cover book) to $35 (for hardcover edition), include a copy of the book, a CWE Farm signature drink, light hors d’oeuvres, and music. At 7 p.m. there will be a reading by the authors followed by a Q & A led by KMOV reporter Alexis Zotos. Tickets are available on Eventbrite here. A Gift Garden will be available soon at Left Bank Books.

CWE Farm is a non-profit organization. Proceeds from Monday’s book launch benefit Gift Garden Fresh Food Foundation.

A seasoned Golden Grocer adds more spice

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer

Golden Grocer’s proprietor John LaRico, above, added a welcomed jolt of energy to his business last year when he hired dynamo Leah Cruz as manager. At 37 years in operation, Golden Grocer is one of the oldest businesses in the neighborhood. New Market Hardware tops the longevity list at 104 years. Left Bank Books comes in second at about 45. (LBB was located in U. City in its early years.)Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer

Golden Grocer opened in 1975 in a lower level space at 17 S. Euclid (underneath what is now the BBQ Saloon). LaRico soon expanded into an adjoining space where he opened a shoe store called The Foot Pleaser. In 1979-80 the business relocated and expanded into a 10,000 s.f. space at 4733 McPherson Ave., where Centro is now located.  LaRico asked if I remembered “Bern-Rico” which he opened next door, where he stocked everything Golden Grocer didn’t—meat, seafood, imported beers, wines, and a special counter for fancy cigarettes and cigars. There was a lobster tank, and a chef from Italy who prepared foods to go behind the deli counter. Other than the smokes, this sounds pretty wonderful, doesn’t it?

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer   Golden Grocer’s manager Leah Cruz, above, opened Vega Deli in Chesterfield and, in 2010, Pura Vegan in DeBaliviere Place at Pershing & Belt. Cruz created the raw foods served at Pura Vegan. She sold that business in 2012 (Pura Vegan Organic Cafe & Yoga is still open) and moved to California for a few years before returning to St. Louis and joining the team at Golden Grocer.

Cruz’s specialties include organic and gluten-free meals, desserts, and drinks. In the photograph above she’s holding a tray of her delicious homemade vegan, gluten-free chocolate peanut butter cupcakes. She is considering offering cooking classes at Golden Grocer in the future.

In addition to her work as a caterer and chef, Cruz has been a health, nutrition and wellness coach for the past 10 years. She became a vegan 20 years ago after learning she had cancer. She cured herself of the disease and has been cancer-free ever since. Cruz now counsels people with health issues, helping them switch to a healthy plant-based diet. She also offers reasonably-priced 3, 5, & 7 day meal plans which can be ordered a day in advance and picked up at Golden Grocer. You can learn more about the meal plans and her services on her website: Love ‘n Light Wellness.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer

One of the first things LaRico and Cruz collaborated on was the addition of an open kitchen and juice bar. They are now able to host events, giving local chefs and others in the community an opportunity to introduce their own natural foods and health and beauty products to the public. Information about an upcoming event can be found at the end of this post.

On the Monday I visited, Cruz had prepared a vegan, gluten-free menu for Meatless Monday. Usually Adina (not photographed) prepares the food on Mondays and for Taco Tuesdays. Food service is available from noon to 5 p.m., or until they sell out. A sample Meatless Monday menu follows:Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer

Ray Jon, above, runs the Juice Bar where he offers herbal drinks, smoothies, tonics, teas and juice cleanses.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer

Since the store has been rearranged I have rediscovered the herbal foods section, above, which is a great, inexpensive resource for loose tea, a large variety of dried herbs, and dried edible flowers such as lavender and rose buds.

This Friday from 6 to 10 p.m. Golden Grocer will host a Local Vendor International Pop-Up featuring Cruz’s Love ‘n Light Wellness and Cuisine, Theatre De La Rue, Adina’s Vegan Cuisine, Juicebox Rejuventation, Supreme Raw Organic, herbal smoothies, juices and elixirs, and Art by Carrie.

Golden Grocer, 335 N. Euclid, open Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Health & Wellness Shop News  Love n Light Wellness Leah Cruz John LaRico Golden Grocer   Monday thru Friday 8 a.m. to 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., (314) 367-0405.