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10 hours ago

Danceworks, Inc.
#ThrowbackThursday to "Enchanted Park(ing Lot)" with Danceworks Performance MKE & Milwaukee Opera Theatre! It's humbling to see how far we've come from performing outside in a parking lot. Our artists are excited to be back indoors, performing at the Baumgartner Center for Dance for DPMKE's upcoming show, “I Am Because You Are”. Purchase tickets today at dwmke.org/purchasetickets 🎟 𝐈𝐧𝐭𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐝 𝐢𝐧 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝟐𝟎𝟐𝟐-𝟐𝟑 𝐬𝐞𝐚𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝐬𝐮𝐛𝐬𝐜𝐫𝐢𝐛𝐞𝐫? A Subscription to the 22-23 DPMKE 3-show season is only $90 (a $115 value!). Each subscription includes premium seating of your choice and an exclusive champagne toast at our first show of the season. Season Subscriptions must be reserved by November 5. Find more information when you go to dwmke.org/purchasetickets ⬅️ ... See MoreSee Less
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2 days ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Now is the perfect time to mark your calendars for the first show of Danceworks Performance MKE's 2022-23 season, “I Am Because You Are…”! 🗓📲💃🏻I Am Because You Are…November 12-13, 2022Baumgartner Center for Dance128 N Jackson St. Milwaukee WI🎟️ dwmke.org/purchaseticketsExcited to learn more about the show? Read all about it below 👇“And you are because I am.” In DPMKE’s 25th anniversary season, the company explores the philosophy known as “Ubuntu” by looking back at the unforgettable work that has shaped Danceworks, Inc. through the years. This philosophy, a belief in which our common bonds with others shape us deeply, single handedly reflects our community’s investment in helping shape our identity. We are also able to fully become who we are by unapologetically sharing ourselves with others and our history as a company runs through the veins of each new work we present.Please venture back in time with us to remember through a documentary telling and live embodiment of the company’s touching, comedic, and curious works that have become Danceworks favorites. Los Angeles artist and Milwaukee Native Taryn Vander Hoop (@tarynvanderhoop ) will set new repertoire on DPMKE and Dawn Springer (@dawncspringer), Gina Laurenzi (@gina_laurenzi ) and Christal Wagner (@waitingforutah ) will revisit and craft brand new works for the stage respectively. ... See MoreSee Less
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3 days ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Happy #MKEMonday! Today is a special day because it is the first day of Emoji Yogi, an outreach program for K5 and 1st grade students that guides students through movement, breathing exercises, yoga and storytelling. 🧘🏿🧘🏻‍♀️ Danceworks is proud to be partnering with the Choose Love Movement for this program. The Choose Love formula of 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐚𝐠𝐞+𝐋𝐨𝐯𝐞+𝐅𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬+𝐂𝐨𝐦𝐩𝐚𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐢𝐧 𝐀𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 will help form each lesson. 💙 You can learn more about Emoji Yogi & the Choose Love Movement when you go to www.danceworksmke.org/emoji-yogi/ ⬅️ ... See MoreSee Less
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Danceworks Blog

“Kids Say the Darndest Things”

Posted on by Deborah Wenzler Farris

It’s true; they still call me “Miss Debbie,” but it’s been a long time since I’ve taught pre ballet classes.

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A Pre Ballet and Tap class

There was a stretch in my life when I taught eight a week. I remember my first class vividly. I had the good fortune of working at a studio (Ballet School of Chapel Hill) which had exceptional faculty and great creative dance curriculum. M’Liss Dorrance prepared me well, and I planned my first lesson carefully. It was great—except I was done with the entire class plan in ten minutes, leaving 35 minutes left to fill and nine little faces staring up at me. So I imagined what it was like to be four years old again and had a lot of fun with them.

I learned how to pace myself and also learned that kids are a lot smarter than you think they are. I learned quickly that these were big people in little bodies—their personalities well formed. When I stopped talking to them like they didn’t understand English, we had a great time. Just as a side note—there were often big tears in front of whomever it was who brought them, but as soon as the door closed, long faces turned into happy ones and they were ready to go.

Technique was never talked about; everything was approached from a creative perspective. We opened and closed a big flower with points and flexes. Pliés in second position were French doors opening and closing. Ronde de jambs were trips through the forest that finished with cups of tea in the castle—you would get there (en dehors) and have to return home (en dedans). Grand battements were the Three Bears.

The studio was filled with horses of different colors that galloped across the diagonal, and you got to ride your favorite color. Piqués were Prince and Princess walks, and there was an imaginary wardrobe filled with costumes that we were constantly returning to. We splashed and tiptoed through puddles. We made popcorn along with raindrops, lightning and thunder. We jumped over the river high enough so the crocodile couldn’t bite your feet. You get the idea.

My classes grew larger, but I became a better teacher and was able to manage them with the same level of delight and structure. I learned as much as my little dancers. I learned quickly that when recital time came, they were able to show that they had indeed learned a lot through carefully choreographed little “dances” made just for them.

Though I don’t teach these classes anymore, I have been so impressed with our Danceworks youth faculty because I believe they fully embrace and imbue Danceworks’ joy, health and creativity.

I visited one of our four-year-old classes on a recent afternoon, thinking I could do an interview with the students and ask why they liked coming to Danceworks. I entered and found a circle of stars—one for each student to sit on. There was one extra. I sat down and we exchanged our names. I used to have students clap their names as they said them—I should have remembered this; it makes it so much easier.

I asked my first question: Why do you like to dance?

Ilya

Aya

Aya: We have an extra star!

Nina

Nina

Nina: (Drums her hands on the floor.)

Emunyah ( Muni) and Minnie

Muni: My Mom brings me. I come here every week.

Minnie: I like marching.

A.J.

Alexander (A.J.)

A.J.: I get to tip toe.

Aya: It’s so much fun running and dancing at home.

Moving on to question number two: What do you like about your teacher?

Nina: I like wearing tap shoes.

A.J.: (Silence—Okay, maybe not the best question.)

Minnie: She teaches me to dance. (There we go.)

Muni: She teaches flips and hops. (Ms. Faith is nine months pregnant …just saying.)

Last Question: What do you like best about putting your dance shoes on?

A.J.: Tapping!

Muni: Ballet!

Minnie: Marching!

Nina: (taps her feet on the floor. Nina likes rhythm.)

Aya: Running!

I remembered why I liked teaching these little guys. You never know what to expect out of them—they keep you on your toes. They say what they think, they are full of life and they love you unconditionally.

Glossary
Plié – to bend ankles, knees and hips
Ronde de Jambe – circle of the leg; en dehors – outward; and en dedans – inward
Grand Battement – great beat
Piqué – to prick

Learn more about youth classes at Danceworks here. Our fall session registration is going on now, and the session begins September 4, 2013!



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.