Danceworks Performance MKE, formerly Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) – is an ensemble of performing artists with dynamically different movement training and experiences that uses its diverse breadth of techniques to strengthen the virtuosity of art making through dance performance. The group maintains a commitment to celebrating the vitality and diversity of the Milwaukee arts community, creating works with curiosity and rigor, heightening the voices and talents of our skilled performers and community members.
Danceworks Performance MKE strives to make its work relevant and accessible to a wide range of audience members by regularly performing and teaching workshops and residencies in diverse communities throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.
History of DPMKE:
Danceworks Performance Company was founded in 1997 by a group of talented young dancer/choreographers who spilled from the halls of the UW-Milwaukee dance program and onto the Milwaukee dance scene. These dancers included Anina Bacon, Becky Blong, Cynthia Collins-Sinotte, Joan Fernandez, Andrea Hill, Jen Moore, Laura Teska and Sarah Wilbur, and they shared three things. First, they had been trained by the faculty of the UWM dance program (Marcia Ruth Parsons, Ed Burgess, Janet Lilly and Ferne Caulker) as well as a series of stellar visitors to the program. They also shared an interest in staying in Milwaukee to create and perform their own work. Finally, they envisioned a company of dancer/choreographers, a highly trained ensemble that supported several distinct voices within a shared aesthetic. The Danceworks board of directors invited Sarah Wilbur to become the artistic director of Danceworks Performance Company, the first contemporary dance group to emerge in Milwaukee in over a decade.
Less than a year after Danceworks Performance Company’s debut, Dani Kuepper became a member of the new company, immediately establishing herself as an up and coming choreographic talent. After many years of collaboration, Sarah Wilbur and Dani Kuepper became Co-Artistic Directors in 2006, sharing choreographic responsibility and artistic vision. Since Sarah Wilbur’s 2007 move to the west coast, Dani Kuepper has taken the reins of leadership as the Artistic Director and has maintained and grown collaborative partnerships during her tenure.
As of July 2019, Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) became Danceworks Performance MKE (DPMKE). The name change is a reflection of the group’s desire to rebrand itself as a performance ensemble that is represented by artists trained in a variety of dance styles as diverse as Ballet, Modern, Hip Hop, Tap, Jazz, African, Swing, Salsa and more! The artists that represent Danceworks Performance MKE onstage are the same artists that teach dance in the Danceworks Studio as well as in schools and community centers all over the city of Milwaukee. DPMKE artists are making an impactful difference in the Milwaukee community every day, by inspiring audiences with virtuosic skill onstage and empowering students of all ages to dance!
Photos taken by Mark Frohna and Christal Wagner
Questions? Contact us at 414.277.8480 or via email.