The documentary segment, produced by Jacqui Poor and edited by Taunia Mason, won the Emmy Award on September 22, 2012 during the Mid America Emmy Gala at the Midland Theater in Kansas City, MO. Segment created for the May 2011 episode of State of the Arts called “Veza” (Connection), highlighted the cross-cultural connection between the Modern American Dance Company (MADCO) and Bosnian immigrant population in St. Louis. MADCO Director Stacy West and Bosnian choreographer, Haris Fazlic, partnered together to create Veza, Bosnian-influenced dance show to reach out to our Bosnian community and honor their culture.
Story of MADCO, “Veza” and Bosnian community started more than two years ago, when in March of 2010 Stacy West first reached out to the Bosnian community in St. Louis in search of partners for the project. She found her parnters in the form of young Bosnian choreographer Haris Fazlic and volunteers at Cultural and Educational Center Aria. Haris was a member of Bosansko Kolo, traditional Bosnian Dance Company from St. Louis. Still in high school, energetic and very enthusiastic about dance, he was ecstatic when Stacy offered him a part in her new play. Armed with the letter of support from Aria, Bosnian nonprofit organization that was at the time working on cultural and educational programs within Bosnian community, Haris and Stacy collaborated to create beautiful modern dance performance.
“Veza” as a modern dance was enriched with a touch of Bosnian heritage through music and choreography, which created eye-catching performance while honoring rich culture of a small European country.
More than a year later on April 1st, 2011 MADCO’s “Veza” had its premiere at the University of Missouri St. Louis Touhill Performing Arts Center. Dance Company went to perform “Veza” on numerous occasions and in the process HEC TV (Higher Education Channel) spotlighted MADCO’s “Veza” on their “State of The Arts” show produced by Jacqui Poor, winner of six Emmy TV Awards.
Fast-forward to more than a year after the premiere of “VEZA”, while updating the St. Louis Bosnian Facebook page, we have received a message from one of our Facebook followers who wanted to let us know that there is this extraordinary young man in our community whose work was recognized few weeks earlier. It took us a moment to connect the dots after reading his name in the message, but sure enough Haris’s performance, and MADCO’s “Veza” did not pass by unnoticed. They won Jacqui, her seventh Emmy Award.
Significant for the Bosnian community in St. Louis is that we had one of our own take important part in such an achievement, even more importantly he is a very young talented first generation Bosnian-American. As noted earlier, Haris was just a high school student at the time of his first encounter with MADCO and Stacy West, driven by the passion for what he loves to do. Today is no different for Haris. He attends the University of Missouri Colombia (Mizzou)-double majoring in International Journalism and German. He published a book when he was 17, titled “Memories and Revelries”, and he is one of the writers for MOVE Magazine. Currently, he is also working on a book of short stories that will get published most likely by the end of this year, while at the same time he is conducting research on as he calls it his “biggest project to date”, which is a collective look at the way culture has shifted in Bosnia from the death of Tito to the present as seen through the eyes of the people that lived through it.
Photo by: Elzina Fazlic – October 6, 2012 – Touhill Performing Arts Center