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2 days ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Angela Weidner is our next Friday #FacultyFeature! Drop-in or sign up for one of Angela's Adult Tap classes which run Monday's from 12-1pm! Learn more about her below👇🏼Angela Weidner began dancing at the age of three and hasn’t stopped since! She is versed in many styles, but she primarily focuses on jazz, tap with past foci on hip hop and dance team. Angela trained in the Madison, WI area for 15 years, competing at regional and national levels. In 2013, she graduated with her bachelor’s degree in Economics from UW-Milwaukee, minoring in Actuarial Science, Math, and Business. She is a proud alumni of the UW-Milwaukee Panther Dance Team, and she professionally danced for both the Milwaukee Brewer’s Diamond Dancers and the Milwaukee Buck’s Dancers. She has been choreographing, teaching, and coaching for numerous Milwaukee-based studios and high school dance teams throughout Wisconsin since 2010. In more recent years, Angela has been grateful to be a member of the Danceworks faculty in various capacities: Development and Programs Coordinator, Studio Faculty, Mad Hot Teaching Artist, Performer in the Ignite Hip Hop and Danceworks on Tap showcases, and member of Danceworks Performance MKE from 2019-2022. She especially loves sharing her love and passion for dance, as well as the lessons/values/healing it can instill, throughout the MKE community.Sign up for one of her Fall Classes at the #link in our #bio! ... See MoreSee Less
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3 days ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Today we’re highlighting a special program we offer called EMOJI YOGI! This is an outreach program for K5 and 1st grade students that guides them 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 click the #linkinbio ⬆️.....#danceworks #danceworksmke #mke #milwaukee #milwaukeemonday #mkedance #milwaukeedance #dancemke #dancemilwaukee #nonprofit #mkenonprofit #mkenonprofits #milwaukeenonprofit #milwaukeenonprofits #outreach #communityoutreach #yoga #yogi #emojiyogi #chooselove #chooselovemovement #performingarts #artseducation ... See MoreSee Less
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5 days ago

Danceworks, Inc.
DPMKE opens their season with BOUNDLESS October 27-29! Join them for this jazz dance inspired concert, where you will witness the diverse branches of the form come to life through visionary choreography of company members Christal Wagner, Gina Laurenzi and Gabi Sustache. Each of these talented choreographers draws inspiration from their roots in swing dance styling, Chicago jazz dance, or hip-hop, resulting in a concert experience that promises to captivate and entertain! 4 shows only!DPMKE presents: BoundlessFriday, October 27th: 8pmSaturday, October 28th: 4pm & 7pmSunday, October 29th: 2:30pmDanceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N Water St. MilwaukeeTicket link: ... See MoreSee Less
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Danceworks Blog

One More Chance

Posted on by Deborah Wenzler Farris

It was the end of the day on a Friday. As I stepped over students waiting for class, maneuvered around parents’ knees with computers and children in their laps in our crowded studio hallway, I had an upcoming Monday morning appointment on my mind. I would be visiting a school where, even with teacher and principal assistance to our faculty, the situation had grown out of control. One student was disrupting the entire class, running, not dancing, and yanking the phone cord out of the wall when the teacher tried to call for help.

I thought about Wanyah, a Mad Hot program alumni, and how he might be able to help mentor the student but figured it was too late in the day to try to arrange it. I walked up to the desk to say my goodbyes and guess who was there?


Wanyah and Jolie

Wanyah Frazier with Jolie Collins, Registrar and Customer Satisfaction Manager

Recently hired as a new front desk assistant, he was already on duty and his bright smile preceded his, “Hello Miss Debbie!” We had a good chat and he agreed to meet me at 7:45 a.m. Monday morning.

We walked into the school office together and explained who we were to the principal who was there alone, answering the phone. We were soon to find out that the young man we had come to meet had been pulled out of Mad Hot and was, as of the preceding Friday, suspended.

“The only break I get when he is here in school is when I go to the restroom,” the principal said. We learned that in five years, the student had been expelled from four schools.

“We’re here to support you,” I said. “We have found, time and again, that students such as this one benefit most from our program.” (Please don’t pull him!) I asked if she would allow us to come back the following week to meet with him one on one.

“Well, that is the kindest…,” a woman who had entered the office was listening and spoke up.

“We want to help…” I continued and the principal soon agreed to give us one more chance.

Wanyah and I went on that morning to visit the Mad Hot class in progress where Ryan Cappleman already had everyone dancing.

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Ryan Cappleman teaching a Mad Hot Ballroom Tap class

The class ended in a circle, as they often do, a time to connect and share thoughts before sending students on with their days. Ryan asked Wanyah to share with the class how old he was when he had started dancing in Mad Hot.

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Mad Hot teacher Emily Higgins, assisting Ryan in the ballroom class.

Wanyah: I was eleven just like you guys and I was really, really short. I was the shortest person, at least a foot shorter than most of the girls in class so dancing with them was a real challenge. It took me forever to grow. When my teacher, Miss Sarah (DiMaggio), taught us the Salsa, she nicknamed me Mr. Hips (giggles from students) because I liked moving my hips. It felt right so I did a whole lot of hip stuff. I remember being really nervous because I had always been scared to dance. I liked to talk a lot. I wanted to be a lawyer so I would be able to talk all the time and argue. I still do (more giggles). I kept at it and pretty soon realized I was really good. The girls noticed too and wanted to dance with me. I was semi-popular for the first time in my life. When I went to the competition, I messed up and I felt so scared that after all the work it would end. But, apparently no one saw me.

Ryan: Wanyah committed to it and kept going and that’s probably what the judges saw. I want to honestly say, I taught two steps in the wrong order last year. My kids ended up winning anyway. They committed to it and they kept going. They didn’t let my mistake get in their way. They kept going and won. So, Wanyah, what made you want to pursue dancing after Mad Hot?


I can’t wait to see this little guy at the Competition. He LOVES to tap.

Wanyah: It was fun! I really enjoyed it. After you go through the program you get to take free dance classes at Danceworks. So I took as many classes as I could and one day Miss Jacqui (Lefebvre), who choreographs all the Mad Hot Ballroom dances, came into class and saw me and said, ‘You’re a good dancer.’ After that I started performing. Now I teach for the program, work at Danceworks and have a double major at UWM in Dance and Law.


Ryan demonstrating with a ballroom student.

So, after my visit with Wanyah that day, there is more than one success story. The suspended student was allowed to return to the next Mad Hot class and Ryan almost couldn’t contain his excitement when he told me the news.

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Ms. Crosby (classroom teacher) really enjoyed dancing with Wanyah.

“Deb!” he said as he joined me for a recent board meeting to help recruit Competition volunteers. “He is back and did great! He became my class leader!”

It was a great story for us to share that day and as I write, have news that the student is still doing well. From running circles around other students and pulling out cords, he is now, instead, dancing.


This blog is being posted a while after I wrote it and I need to update you that I was back at the school for a follow-up visit this week. I learned the student had been transferred to a new school, making it five schools in five years for the young man. I don’t know the details but I did find out his new school is a Mad Hot school.  We will work to see if it’s possible for him to finish the program and be at the BMO Harris Bradley Center for our Mad Hot Competition.

What I do know is that the student discovered he was capable of being a class leader, that he is an amazing dancer and a strong partner. That will stay with him. So the story continues…

And if you would like to help support our Milwaukee students and cheer them  on, volunteer  opportunities are still available for this year’s 10th Anniversary Mad Hot Competition at the BMO Harris Bradley Center on May 21! It’s an amazing day that is sure to change your life as much as it does the students. For more information, please contact Ryan Cappleman at or feel free to reach out to me at or 414.277.8480, ext. 6000.



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.