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Danceworks, Inc.
K-Pop with Alex Vanissaveth (@_xandervan) is BACK every Saturday at 1:30-2:30pm this Fall! Drop in anytime for $16/class OR check out our class card packages. Register today at dwmke.org/fall22 📣Did you know that NEW students at Danceworks receive their first class #free!? Register online, select “new student”, and your first class is on us! See you in the studio 🤗Teaching Artist: @_xandervan Song: TWICE - Talk That Talk ... See MoreSee Less
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Danceworks, Inc.
Danceworks current and past staff, faculty and board, came together yesterday evening to kickoff celebrating Danceworks 30th Anniversary at Lynden Sculpture Garden! 🎉🎊💙We are celebrating #30yearsofdanceworks all year long! 🎊🎉 Join us throughout 2022-23 as we honor the legacy of people and programs that helped form where Danceworks is today. We will celebrate through retrospective performances, enhancements to our outreach programs and events that acknowledge the footprints that have led us to this point. We will also welcome new voices and new partners as we begin to shape the next 30 years of Danceworks in Milwaukee, envisioning more collaboration, diversity and access to the arts. Danceworks is inviting YOU to leave your footprint on our path to 30 more years and participate in imagining how we might touch the lives of others through dance. Look forward on the year when you go to dwmke.org/30years ⬅️#danceworks #Danceworksmke #performingarts #milwaukee #mke #MilwaukeeNonProfit #nonprofit #anniversary ... See MoreSee Less
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6 days ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Danceworks is proud to announce that we’re celebrating our 30th Anniversary in 2022-23: dwmke.org/30years 🎉 Join us throughout the year as we honor the legacy of people and programs that helped form where Danceworks is today. We will celebrate through retrospective performances, enhancements to our outreach programs and events that acknowledge the footprints that have led us to this point. We will also welcome new voices and new partners as we begin to shape the next 30 years of Danceworks in Milwaukee, envisioning more collaboration, diversity and access to the arts. Danceworks is inviting YOU to leave your footprint on our path to 30 more years and participate in imagining how we might touch the lives of others through dance. ... See MoreSee Less
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Danceworks Blog

“Let Joy Be Unconfined!”

Posted on by Danceworks

I chose this quote to launch Danceworks’ blog five years ago as we stepped into our 20th Anniversary. I love it so much I’m bringing it back to kick off our 25th Anniversary year! I’m so excited about the year ahead I can hardly sit still! Oh right, that’s just the point–on with the dance!

In honor of those who made it all possible, I’m reblogging one of the first blogs. I hope you enjoy!

IN THE BEGINNING…

FEBRUARY 20, 2013 BY DEB FARRIS

The call came two days after I had submitted a resignation. I was ready for a new challenge but had no idea what it would be. I showed up at a Danceworks board meeting for an interview, and as I recall, was hired that night. I wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Polly Morris and Mary Newton. None of us would be. Without them, there would be no Danceworks! Read on to discover our delightful history and remember…sometimes new doors don’t open until you close old ones. – Deb

Some thoughts from Mary and Polly… When we got together recently to reminisce about Danceworks, our common thought was that we barely recognize Danceworks these days… but that’s a good thing!

Our original mission of providing performanceoutreach and instruction is clearly alive and well, but the activities and personnel that populate those focus areas have shifted and multiplied exponentially. That’s a logical outgrowth of the agile flexibility that has characterized Danceworks since its inception. When an organization is not tied to the vision of a dominant personality or the expectations of a traditional audience, it is free to explore new partnerships and take advantage of a shifting community landscape. It has been exciting, but not surprising, to see Danceworks thrive in the midst of constant change.

Looking back 20 years to the beginnings of Danceworks, we were both in a similar phase of life, with young kids and bodies that moved a lot easier than they do these days. We were also both on a hiatus from our academic and professional lives, and we had the mental energy to take on the organizational challenge of creating and growing a new non-profit. Fortunately, our skill sets were complementary, and we usually agreed on where we needed to go. As an added bonus, our personalities meshed as easily as if we had grown up together, which may be why we were often mistaken for each other.

More people than we can count seemed to appear just when their skills or talents were needed. Some stayed with us for just a short time, and others—like Amy Brinkman-Sustache—are still with Danceworks. Regardless of their tenure, they were all critical to our success. We really feel that we had the best, be it teachers, performers, accountants, office workers or financial angels. And the students and audiences always showed up, too, as we moved the studio from Milwaukee Street to Bay View and back to Water Street, and performed in diverse venues from the tiny Walker’s Point Center for the Arts to the grand old Pabst Theater.

Along the way, we developed computer skills (starting on an old Apple IIE!) and became experienced at grant writing, both of which have paid long-term dividends. We also developed expertise in the more dubious specialties of bulk mail and VHS tape dubbing, for which we now find little demand. Achieving UPAF membership was a significant milestone, permitting the gradual turnover of the operational and artistic direction of Danceworks to paid staff. It’s been great to watch from the sidelines as Deb Farris, Sarah WilburDani Kuepper and the others have moved Danceworks forward.

We’ve moved on now to other things. Polly first went to UW-Milwaukee as an arts administrator, and now is the Director and Curator of the Lynden Sculpture Garden in River Hills. Mary teaches reading and spelling at the Children’s Dyslexia Center in Milwaukee, and advocates for improved reading instruction statewide through the Wisconsin Reading Coalition. Our seven kids, one of whom wasn’t even born when we started Danceworks, now range in age from 19 to 30. We all continue to treasure our many Danceworks memories and wish Danceworks the very best as you enter the next 20 years!


Here’s to another quarter of a century, and beyond! Cheers to you, friends. Thank you for helping us fulfill our mission, year after year.



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.