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6 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

Here she comes again!

Posted on by Deborah Wenzler Farris

sarah wilbur

Sarah Wilbur, DPC co-founder, artistic director (1997-2007)

Reflections from Sarah:

Who makes a dance?
Or, perhaps more appropriate to this 20th anniversary blog series, the question might be better phrased: Who makes a dance work?

In my experience, we do.

During my decade at Danceworks, I had the privilege of moving through some explosive successes and failures as a dancer and as a person. As a dancer-choreographer-teacher-administrator-collaborator, I gained a heightened sense of my self and others through the privilege of dancing. The hyphens in that previous sentence evidence the many personal and professional attachments that I continue to hold in my memory and in my body since I left the organization in 2007.

For me, Danceworks holds a very personal purpose. It is where the invisible work that dance does and is, became visible to me.

[Pause, while she does a big kick, and settles into a slow, not so dramatic, lunge…]

So…here we are. I wish this were less of a monologue. Bound to go nowhere unless you are still reading. Still dancing. Returning to dance. That’s something that Danceworks is and does, for a lot of people. For twenty years and counting.

For me, ten of those years meant dancing around my own type-os, lackluster press releases, audacious titles, and overblown ideas. So here I am, still struggling to find the right way to to frame, to label, to “say” what Danceworks means to me.

So… for all that I won’t say, can’t begin to describe. For all that I see and I feel when I close my eyes and think of Danceworks, I offer the following list of one liners.

Incomplete. Still moving. No one person did any of these things. But, in my memory, we all had a pretty amazing time.

So, maybe, dance works, because…
No one can stay calm in a crisis better than Mary Newton.
No one can transform my breathless utterances into a lucid press release with the feminist glory of Polly Morris.
No one asked Amy Brinkman-Sustache to come strutting through the office door just weeks after Gabi was born, carrier-in-tow, ready to help with the next bulk mailing.
No one can stop Janet Lew Carr.
No one can spot optimism and “robust enthusiasm” like Terry Hueneke.

Or, if you prefer, dance works because…
No one can smile, “sell it” and then turn around and schlep all the gear back to the car than the original DPC misfits: Anina Bacon, Cynthia Collins, Joan Fernandez, Andrea Hill, Jen Moore, Laura Teska (Kariotis), Brinkman was there too, I’m quite sure (wasn’t it an Aretha Franklin medley?)…

No one, that is, except for maybe some of the later rebels: Becky Blong, Jeni Frazee, Dani Kuepper, Kelly Nellis, Megan McCusker (Licht), Kim Johnson (Rockafellow), Derek Rusch, Joe Pikalek, Kelly Anderson, Dorothy Kulke, Diana LeMense, Liz Hildebrandt (Tesch), Paula Koss, Catey Ott, Natasha Posey, Melissa Anderson, Korey Olivier, Dan Schuchart, Renee Griswold…and so many more beginnings and elliptical endings…

_MG_9790Or, quite probably, today, dance works because…
No one can remember how many times we’ve moved the ballet bars out of studio A for an evening performance.
No one can remember to get the lock on the second stall in the women’s restroom fixed.
No one can remember ALL of the UPAF gigs.
No one can spot the type-os on sweatshirts like Melissa Dineen (Feldmeyer).
No one can laugh louder than Liz Hildebrandt (Tesch).
No one supports like Dani Kuepper.
No one is more poised and ready than Kim Johnson-Rockafellow.
No one can set the sail in as many directions as Debbie Farris.

Or from where you sit, reading, dance works because…
No one can…(close your eyes, think for a moment, and insert your memory here).

It’s getting really crowded in here. That’s my point.

No one can. No ONE can. Danceworks, to me, is a midpoint in human connection. A space to return to dance, for whatever reasons, and to experience new results.

I am so lucky to have joined Danceworks, a space to bumble and stumble, to sweat and to fight, and to learn to stomach the taste of my own words. I am so thankful for the people that I hold close today, due to my time with the organization. And I am still, so inspired by the promise of these elliptical endings.

Sarah Wilbur
DPC co-founder, artistic director (1997-2007)
Choreographer-turned-academic-hopeful
UCLA Department of World Arts and Cultures/Dance



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.