Danceworks Performance Company Members

Dani Kuepper, Artistic Director of DPC

Dani Kuepper joined DPC in 1998 and has since choreographed more than 30 dances for the company. As a Danceworker, she has enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate extensively in the Milwaukee community with established organizations as well as independent artists. Dani received both her BFA and MFA from UW-Milwaukee, where she has been a faculty member of the UWM dance department since 1999. As an undergraduate at UWM, Dani performed the solo, Mrs. Schultz, at the national American College Dance Festival at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. She was honored in 2009 as a “Forty Under 40” recipient by the Business Journal of Milwaukee and also received the UWM Alumni Association Teaching Excellence Award for non-tenure track in instructors in 2010.

Kim Johnson, Artistic Director of DanceLAB

Kim Johnson joined DPC in 2000, shortly after graduating from UW-Milwaukee with high honors with a BFA in dance. A native “Yooper,” Kim served as DPC’s associate artistic director from 2009-2012 before taking on the role of artistic manager of both performance and studio. She has created works for DPC as well as Milwaukee Ballet II. Kim has helped write curriculum for both Danceworks Studio and Milwaukee Ballet School where she served as faculty,  branch manager and Children’s Division Coordinator. She has enjoyed growing Danceworks’ dance fitness program and other facets including DanceLAB. She is passionate about bringing dance to the community and providing established and emerging artists with performance opportunities. Because of this commitment, in 2017 she began to serve as the Artistic Director of DanceLAB. Kim is on faculty at Danceworks and at UW-Milwaukee.

Gina Laurenzi, Artistic Director of DYPC

Gina Laurenzi, a UWM Dance Department graduate and second season Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) member, previously trained as a Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago scholarship student, under Elements Contemporary Ballet’s Artistic Director Michael Gosney, and performed with both Giordano II and Inaside Chicago Dance. A desire to give back to her community and spread a knowledge of the arts compelled Gina to create Laurenzi Dance where she ran the studio class program until 2013. Currently, Gina serves as the  Owner/Artistic Director of her youth performing dance companies and she continues to produce thoughtful themed events with her young artists of Laurenzi Dance in Kenosha. Gina is thrilled to further share her love of the arts here in Milwaukee by teaching for Danceworks, being a part of the the MHBT program and in working with the young movers of Danceworks Youth Performance Company (DYPC) as part of the DYPC Artistic Team.

Melissa Anderson

Melissa Anderson joined the company in 2002 and has previously performed with Milwaukee Ballet, Ballet Teatro Municipal de San Juan of Puerto Rico, Southern Ballet Theater (now Orlando Ballet) and Islenski Dansflokkurinn (Icelandic Ballet). Melissa teaches ballet at all levels at Danceworks, as well as at Nancy Dianne Studio and UW-Milwaukee. She frequently choreographs and teaches for dance organizations such as Chicago National Association of Dance Masters, Dance Masters of Wisconsin and Texas Association of Dance Teachers.

Christal Wagner

Christal Wagner is back for her eighth season with DPC. She holds a BFA in dance from UW-Milwaukee. Christal has performed with Your Mother Dances and Edwin Olvera, and she has been a featured performer with Present Music. She is also a co-founder of the Milwaukee music and dance trio, Cadance Collective. Christal choreographs musical theatre for Shorewood High School, Divine Savior Holy Angels High School, and Community Theatre Works, and she has won two Tommy Awards for outstanding choreography in 2013-2014.

Liz Licht

Liz Licht joined DPC in 2011 and has worked at Danceworks as development and marketing assistant, a Mad Hot Ballroom assistant instructor, and Art to Art production manager. Other performance credits include Valentín Projects, Skylight Music Theatre, the Gina Laurenzi Dance Project, Cooperative Performance Milwaukee, Wild Space Dance Company, Your Mother Dances, Li Chiao-Ping Dance, and internship performances with the Liz Lerman Dance Exchange. She also studied on full-tuition scholarship at Garth Fagan Dance. Her Dance BFA, Journalism Minor, Honors College Degree, and Dean’s Honors Award are from UW-Milwaukee (2010), where she participated in one summer of the Master of Fine Arts dance program through the Honors College. Liz completed her yoga certification from YogaOne Studio and teaches in Sheboygan. She is a writing tutor and freelance editor specializing in the genres of somatics, wellness, and spirituality, having previously tutored student through faculty writers across disciplines in the UWM Writing Center. A book she edited, Clearing the Path by Stephen Parker, PsyD, on Patañjali’s Yoga-sūtra, neuroscience, and emotion is available through Ahymsa Publishers. Contact her at www.elizabethlicht.com.

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