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5 days ago

Danceworks, Inc.
There's a LOT going on this 💕February💕 at Danceworks. We don't want you to miss a thing, so we are giving you a run down of the #monthinaminute that you can quickly watch to find just the right class, workshop or performance for you! Head to danceworksmke.org/february-happenings/ for more information! ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Please join us in congratulating Li Chiao-Ping and Danceworks very own Christal Wagner & Elisabeth Roskopf, the creative team behind “Provenance: a letter to my daughter”. This film won Best Direction at the Experimental Dance Film Festival, and was also selected to screen at Radfest in early March! 🎉✨This is a stunning film about a transnational adoptee’s personal experiences with struggling with identity, belonging and inclusion growing up in the Midwest of America. Directed and choreographed by Li Chiao-Ping, dancer Elisabeth Roskopf’s exquisite gestures and personal story reclaiming her heritage are captured beautifully by cinematographer and editor Christal Wagner. The film originally premiered at Danceworks Performance MKE’s show SOBRIQUET back in May 2022.CONGRATULATIONS to these three artists🎊 ... See MoreSee Less
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Danceworks Blog

Come In and Lift Your Spirits

Posted on by Deborah Wenzler Farris

Showbiz

As I walked into the studio to assist a new teacher with a class, I noticed one of the students huddled beside the door—in tears with her mother. I decided to give them a few moments of privacy and went on in. The other students were busy removing coats and piling book bags haphazardly on the observation chairs, tossing their shoes underneath and chatting away as they changed into their ballet slippers. I set my own things down across the room beside the sound system, reached for the attendance book and worked my way back to the door.

 

I smiled at the mom and student, commending her good work in class so far this session. The daughter’s eyes glanced my way but she didn’t turn her head.

 

“We just got a divorce,” the mother said. “She doesn’t want to go with her father after class today.”

 

“Ah…..I understand…..I’ve been there too……” The young girl turned her face towards me then. “Do you want to be my assistant today? You can observe class. You learn a lot by watching others dance…..Want to help me take attendance?” She turned back to her mother for assurance.

 

“I’ll be here when you’re finished,” the mother responded, and then with a hug, I was relieved when her daughter entered the studio with me. Without yet realizing it, she was slipping into a place of safety and routine that would separate her, if just for an hour, from her troubles. She joined the flurry of last minute arrivals and I noticed her putting on her slippers as I called attendance.

 

When I closed the book, I leaned over and whispered, “Want to just give barre a try? I’ll do it with you.”

 

She shrugged, stretched a little and I was surprised when she stood up. Suddenly feeling like I had to catch up with her, and although she was still wearing her outer clothes, we went to the barre together. Miss Cari began class. The music of the introduction to plies filled the studio with its gentle 6/8 tempo. We listened and then bent our knees and ankles and hips first towards the floor, then away, methodically following the instructions we were given. This is when life’s problems begin to leave your mind—moving to the music, finding a structure to fit into when you feel you can’t fit into life.

 

“Can I go take off my warmup pants so I can do the splits?” She asked me when we finished barre.

 

“Yes, yes, of course, then take your place in the center. Okay?” She was already on her way.

 

Afterwards, her mother was at the door. When I told her, “She danced!” I was reminded in the best way, why we do what we do at Danceworks.

 

As I watched the child walk out the door, she suddenly stopped and turned back, her face now relaxed. I got to say the great words, “See you next week!” Then she was gone and I was left holding the picture of her smile.



About Our Blog

Welcome to the Danceworks blog, where we're hoping to share a little bit more about the heart and soul behind Danceworks… what made us join the dance and keeps us dancing, what keeps us inspired, and where we can share some of the stories worth telling.