Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Choreographer Dies in One-Car Accident Ross Winter, 58, Founded Dance Company

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Choreographer Dies in One-Car Accident Ross Winter, 58, Founded Dance Company

Article excerpt

Ross Albert Winter, a choreographer who mixed satire with modern dance to parody theatrical classics, died Sunday of injuries suffered in an auto accident.

Mr. Winter, 58, of the 4400 block of Lindell Boulevard, sustained head injuries in a single-car accident about 3:30 a.m. Sunday. He had been driving home from a cast party after a concert of the Mid America Dance Company. Mr. Winter co-founded and directed the company, known as MADCO.

St. Louis police said Mr. Winter's 1990 Suzuki Samurai struck a curb and rolled over at the intersection of Forest Park and DeBaliviere avenues. He was found near the car, in a vacant lot at the intersection. The top of his car was down, even though it was raining at the time.

Police said they were unable to find records that Mr. Winter had ever held a drivers license.

He was pronounced dead at 11:09 a.m. Sunday at Barnes Hospital.

Mr. Winter co-founded MADCO in 1976, but the company did not give its first performance until April 1978.

Locally, Mr. Winter was best known for his holiday parody of "The Nutcracker," which in Mr. Winter's hands became "The Madcracker." Last fall, he replaced the holiday offering with a spoof called "A Madsummer Night's Dream," a knockoff of William Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream."

But while he is best known for his comedic works, his own favorites were weightier, such as the abstract and sculptural "Other Realities."

Mr. Winter was an artist and a realist. Recognizing St. Louis' limited audience for serious modern dance, he used comedy to broaden the company's appeal.

In the "Madcracker," the hefty Mr. Winter donned a tutu to perform the role of Mme. Rossalbertina Winterova.

Annelise Mertz will never forget the sight. "He looked absolutely ridiculous," said Mertz, the retired head of the dance department at Washington University and a founder of the organization that is now called Dance St. Louis. She saw the work performed five times.

Adam Pinsker, the former executive director of Dance St. Louis, called Mr. Winter one of the most important dance figures in the area. That he kept a company going and employed six or seven people was an "incredible achievement," Pinsker said. …

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