Danceworks Performance Company’s roots are grounded in the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Dance Department. In the early 90’s, UWM Department Chair Marcia Parsons and faculty including Ed Burgess, Janet Lilly and Fern Caulker inspired an environment and work ethic for artists to grow and thrive. UWM’s Independent and Emerging Artist Series was a place for students, local dancers and choreographers to develop work and take risks.
Around this same time, co-founders Polly Morris and Mary Newton were busy presenting emerging and independent artists at Danceworks, and collaborating with UWM. When Danceworks received the support of the United Performing Arts Fund in 1997 to launch a resident company, again, UWM played a significant role. It was UWM dance graduate, Sarah Wilbur, who was identified to lead the company as Artistic Director. Along with a group of fellow UWM dance major graduates, Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) was launched and became the first new dance company to appear in Milwaukee in a decade.
Since then, DPC has performed hundreds of concerts and developed dozens of choreographers and dancers who have shared their work with thousands upon thousands of audience members in Milwaukee and far beyond. DPC has staying power and is a company that has found a niche in collaboration and, not surprisingly, in giving back.
In honor of the Company’s 20th Anniversary I am going to be sharing monthly guest blog posts from our DPC artists that will give you a behind the scenes look at our artists and the impact they are having on stage, in the studio, and in the community.
The dancers from DPC’s early days are still driving momentum organizationally and far beyond as performers, teaching artists and now parents of artists themselves. Catey Ott, Cindy Collins, Becky Blong, Joan Fernandez, Anina Bacon, Andrea Hill, Jen Moore, Laura Teska, and more recently, Liz Tesch and Joelle Worm, to name just a few, have all contributed to the dance community in important ways that have traveled far beyond Danceworks.
Thanks goes to Polly and Mary, to Sarah and to our current Artistic Director Dani Kuepper. Dani, along with Artistic Manager Kim Johnson, picked up the torch and ran with it. They have continued the tradition of creating work that appeals to many, both in the theatre and out in the community. Thanks also goes to the members of DPC and the many, teachers, choreographers and dancers who have contributed to creating this significant milestone.
Twenty years is quite an achievement for a dance company. Congratulations to all who have been a part of this journey. I can’t help but imagine what the next 20 years will bring.
Don’t miss Dance In or Take Out.
November 3-6, 2016 at Next Act Theatre
$22 – Reserved | $15 – General/Student/Senior
$27 – Reserved | $22 – General | $16 – Student Senior
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.