Though we have seen changes at Danceworks over the last decade, there are many things that remain constant. Danceworks Performance Company’s collaborations with Present Music are at the top of that list, with a total of seven collaborative concerts dating back to 1999. The most recent is our upcoming Temptation’s Snare, opening March 6 at Next Act Theatre (Information on tickets).
Collaborations like DPC’s and Present Music’s—performing arts groups of two different disciplines—are a great example of why our DanceLAB’s annual Art to Art concerts have such a strong foothold in the local arts scene. Artists thrive on collaboration, and audiences enjoy the exciting unexpectedness that comes out of their joint efforts. I think we all love to see how dance comes alive in new ways when it’s influenced by another art discipline. That’s what Art to Art is all about.
There was a progression of events that led up to our first Art to Art Concert. It began the summer of 2003 when Danceworks artists came alongside Sarah Wilbur, artistic director of Danceworks Performance Company at the time, with a goal of raising enough funds to build out our performance space. Amy Brinkman-Sustache and DOT, Van Collins and other Danceworks’ affiliate artists donated their time and talents to produce The Summer on a Shoe-String Performance series (SOS).
We found that SOS was successful on three levels—it provided dance to the community during the off- season performance months, it raised the necessary funds, and it grew to become an annual summer dance series.
In 2004, with a newly installed lighting grid, along with a professional technical crew —thanks to Jan Kellogg and Tony Lyons—Danceworks’ inaugural Summer Dance Series was launched with full production values. It became apparent that a venue for artists to develop work and grow as performers in a low-risk environment was needed.
The first Art to Art performance came about by Sarah in 2005 as a collaborative concert showcasing emerging dance artists with emerging artists in other disciplines. It included familiar choreographers Kelly Anderson, Sofi Askenazi, Liz (Hildebrandt) Tesch, Diana LeMense, Monica Rodero and Dan Schuchart, all creating works with local composers. It was a hit!
Since then, Art to Art has provided some of the most exciting and experimental new works in Milwaukee dance through collaborations with film, music, theatre and visual artists to create unique dance works. To its merit, it has been well-loved and consistently sponsored by Tim and Sue Frautschi.
Because of the many committed artists—from Ed Burgess to Clare Byrne to Gerald Casel to Simone Ferro to Andrea Hill Johnson, Elizabeth Johnson, Janet Lilly, Heidi Latsky, Deb Loewen, Annie Melchior, Catey Ott and Luc Vanier to name a few—in 2007 Sarah lead the way for Danceworks to formalize its commitment to creating new works and developing artists with the year-round Danceworks DanceLAB.
We have learned a lot along the way, and the DanceLAB continues to strengthen our ties within the community, providing artists a place to take creative risks, helping to develop a broader audience by offering a wide spectrum of dance styles.
Come be a part of Art to Art 2014—Recycled Edition. I encourage you to join Dani Kuepper and Kim Johnson-Rockefellow in our call for participation. Proposals are due Friday, March 14. Send to Danceworks c/o Dani Kuepper. (Information on the DanceLAB).)
Photo Credits: Mark Frohna. Art to Art 2012 top to bottom: Mauriah Kraker, Petr Zahbradnicek (Milwaukee Ballet) and Chad Piechocki, Kellie Radermacher and Leah Schreiber, Andrea Hill Johnson and Phylis Ravel
Temptation’s Snare Performance Dates and Times:
Thursday, Mar. 6, 2014: 7:30pm
Friday, Mar. 7, 2014: 7:30pm
Saturday, Mar. 8, 2014: 7:30pm
Sunday, Mar. 9, 2014: 2:30pm
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.