Rhythmworks: Artist Bios

Danceworks DanceLAB presents…

Rhythmworks

Saturday, August 7, 2021 | 4:30pm & 6:30pm
Sunday, August 8, 2021 | 2:30pm & 4:30pm

Location: Danceworks Parking Lot

 

View the playbill About the Performances See 2021-22 DPMKE Season

 

Meet the Artists

Click through the performance groups below to learn more about the talented performing artists of Rhythmworks.

 

We are eager to present a full season of exciting concerts next year featuring Danceworks Performance MKE and numerous community artists and collaborators! But we can’t do it without you. Please help Danceworks make a strong return to the stage with a donation.

 

Donate Today

 

Your gift will help us celebrate the diverse artists in the DanceLAB: Rhythmworks concert, position us for a strong 2021-22 Concert Season, expand our reach into the community and strengthen our offerings for both in-person and virtual classes. Thank you for your support!

Danceworks Performance MKE

Christal Wagner – Artistic Director
Christal is a skilled visual artist versed in Movement, Choreography, Video and Photography. Upon receiving her BFA in dance from the University of Wisconsin Milwaukee in 2007, she joined Danceworks Performance MKE and has performed in over 40 regular season shows with the company. She is an 8 time Jerry award recipient for her work in Musical Theatre and has choreographed for Skylight Music Theatre, Milwaukee Ballet II, Present music, and Danceworks Performance MKE. Christal is a cofounder of the music and dance trio Cadance Collective, co-creating pieces through processes where music and dance are worked on simultaneously through improvisational practices and original soundscapes. Her Video work has been presented in collaboration with Danceworks Inc, Milwaukee Dance Theatre Network, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, UWM Dance, The Saint Kate Arts Hotel, The Cactus Club, and Li Chiao-Ping Dance where she was a 2020 SEED Creation Fund grant recipient. In 2020 Christal Wagner became the Saint Kate Art Hotel’s FIRST artist in co-residence and their weekly resi-dancer. Christal’s mission is to support and elevate the voices of her community, collaborators, and fellow artists.


Nekea Leon
Nekea Leon is a Milwaukee based dancer and a native of the city. She began her love of dance at the age of 5 and continued her studies at her middle and high school. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin- Milwaukee with her BA in dance in 2018. She has also performed with DanceCircus, wildspace, and other community dance experiences.

 

 

 


Andrew Zanoni
Andrew Zanoni graduated with a BFA in Modern Dance performance and choreography in 2010 from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Upon graduation, Andrew spent two years living and dancing in New York City. He performed with David Parker and The Bang Group, Mary Elizabeth Fenn, and a few others. Since the move back to Milwaukee in 2012, Andrew has been dancing (on and off) with Danceworks Performance MKE and serving Milwaukee’s favorite Bloody Mary in the third ward at The Wicked Hop. Andrew would like to thank his incredibly supportive family for always being there for him and always allowing him to express himself in whichever way he wanted.


Maggie Seer
Maggie Seer received her BFA in Dance from UW-Milwaukee in 2016. She has been a company member with Danceworks Performance MKE since 2017. She has performed with Skylight Music Theatre, Wild Space Dance Company, Hyperlocal MKE, the Gina Laurenzi Dance Project, among other local artists and groups. She has choreographed several times for the Danceworks DanceLAB Get It Out There concert series, and was selected as a presenting choreographer for the 2020 Danceworks’ Emerging Choreographers concert. She has choreographed a number of musical theatre productions for numerous high schools in the Milwaukee-area. Maggie is also the Development Director, and teaches in the studio and community for Danceworks.


Gina Laurenzi
Gina Laurenzi graduated from UW-Milwaukee with a BFA in dance. Before beginning her chapter in Milwaukee, Gina performed with Giordano II and Inaside Chicago Dance among other Chicago artists. For seven years, Ms. Laurenzi owned and operated Laurenzi Dance (Kenosha, WI) where she presented work regularly and mentored many youth artists. Gina has set work on UW-Milwaukee dance majors, Makaroff Youth Ballet, Danceworks Youth Performance Company, Danceworks Performance MKE and Milwaukee Ballet summer intensive students. GIna currently guest teaches for several dance studios, is an Associate Lecturer at UW-Milwaukee and the Artistic Director of the Gina Laurenzi Dance Project. Ms. Laurenzi has performed with Danceworks Performance MKE since 2013 is excited to return as a full-time member.

Danceworks On Tap

Amy Brinkman-Sustache – Artistic Director
Amy Brinkman-Sustache (Artistic Director) founded Danceworks On Tap in 2000 and is currently the Education Director for Danceworks. She has a long history with the organization as a teacher, choreographer, performer, and administrator. Amy has an extensive background in both dance and musical theater and has choreographed both concert dance and musicals for many high schools, community theaters and universities over the past 29 years. Tap has always been Amy’s “thing”. She has had the privilege to study and take class with amazing tap dancers like Tommy Sutton, Donna Peckett, Bruce Bristol, Reggio “the hoofer” McLaughlin, and Maurice Hines. In addition to teaching at Danceworks, Amy also serves on the ad hoc dance faculties at Marquette University and UW-Milwaukee. frequent teacher for Dance Masters of Wisconsin and the National Association for Dance and Affiliated Arts (NADAA).


Annette Grefig Smedema
Annette Grefig Smedema has been tapping and choreographing for Danceworks on Tap since 2010 and is thrilled to be reunited with the company after the COVID hiatus. Having a year off of tapping has helped her find the courage to finally switch from her 12-year old tap shoes to a new pair she purchased 3 years ago. She would like to thank her old pair of shoes for all of the joy they brought her and helping her gain the nickname sweet feet. In addition to being a tapper, she also has a background in modern dance and works as a Physical Therapist at the Milwaukee VA working in the Spinal Cord Injury and Disorder Center.


Victoria Isaac
Victoria “Tori” Isaac is a dancer and educator currently based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. A recent graduate of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, she received her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Sociology (double major). A dancer of 18 years, Tori enjoys performing and teaching and is especially excited to be performing with Danceworks on Tap. She is also a performing and teaching artist with Wild Space Dance Company, and has worked with various choreographers including Bernard Brown, Melanie George, Jade Charon, and Maria Gillespie. Much of her advocacy work lies in expanding arts accessibility and resources, and she has worked closely with organizations such as ArtsEco, Milwaukee Public Schools, and Parts of the Whole.


Kate Krause
Kate Krause first performed with Danceworks On Tap as a guest artist in the summer of 2016, and officially joined as a company member in 2017. Additionally , she taught for Danceworks Mad Hot Rhythm (formerly Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap) from 2011-2019. Kate attended the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee where she earned her Bachelor of Arts in Dance and Journalism (double major) in 2009, and Masters in Library and Information Science in 2015. Currently, Kate is a Youth Services Librarian at the New Berlin Public Library where she gets to share her love of dance and movement in a different capacity!

 


Kelly Kotecki
Kelly Kotecki is a founding member of Danceworks On Tap. She attended UW-Milwaukee and has a BFA in dance with a K-12 certification. She has been on faculty at Danceworks since 2000, and taught for Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap program for many years. Kelly currently teaches dance for Milwaukee Parkside School for the Arts and continues to teach for Danceworks Summer Creative Arts Camps every summer.

 

 


Rachel Payden
Rachel Payden is a music, movement, and poetry lover. She has been connected with Danceworks since 2006 through teaching, administrative, and performance roles and is so happy to remain a part of Danceworks on Tap! She received a Master of Divinity degree from Chicago Theological Seminary in 2020 and values communities where story-sharing and creative expression are used to listen deeply, honor our personal and collective experiences, and to build a more compassionate global neighborhood.

 

 


Gabrielle Sustache
Gabrielle Sustache received her BFA in dance from UW-Milwaukee in 2020. She began her dance training at Danceworks at the age of three and hasn’t stopped dancing since. She was a member of Danceworks Youth Performance Company from 2011-2013 and is currently a member of Danceworks On Tap, Danceworks’ resident tap dance company. Gabi first danced with Danceworks On Tap as a guest performer at the age of five and became a full-fledged company member in 2010. In addition to dancing with Danceworks On Tap, Gabi often performs with various Milwaukee-based hip hop crews. She has performed as part of Danceworks’ DanceLAB concert series in Ignite: A Hip Hop Dance Experience from 2013-2019, as well as Get It Out There in 2017. Gabi is a member of the studio and outreach teaching faculty at Danceworks where is she currently serves as both the Artistic Manager of Danceworks Youth Performance Company and Outreach Coordinator.


Angela Weidner
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, 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 is 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 now a member of DPMKE. She especially loves sharing her love and passion for dance, as well as the lessons/values/healing it can instill, throughout the MKE community.

Aarambh Kathak Dance School

Cyenthia Vijayakumar
Cyenthia Vijayakumar is a trained Kathak/North Indian classical dancer. She is a teacher, performer and choreographer in Milwaukee. She is the artistic director of Aarambh Kathak Dance School that she started in 2019 after she moved to Milwaukee from Bangalore, India. She has been trained by her Gurus Murari Sharan Gupta and Hari and Chetna both from Bangalore, India. She is currently under the guidance of Guru Sujatha Banerjee from London. She has been associated with Danceworks since 2017 teaching and performing.

 

 

McNamara McCarthy School of Irish Dance

McNamara McCarthy School of Irish Dance is a new irish dance school in the Milwaukee area. The McNamara McCarthy instructors and choreographers (Michelle McNamara, Anne Blume and Laura Donaldson) have coached dancers to a combined nine world championships in team and solo categories and have the experience to teach children everything from their first steps to competing at the highest level. Through Irish dance, McNamara McCarthy dancers learn to embrace their true selves, work hard, and lift each other up, allowing them to achieve feats they never thought possible. The dancers performing in the Rhythmworks shows are Haley G., Annie H., Anna R., Micah R., Maddie S., Haley T., Reagan T., Lucy C., Xanthe E., Brielle M. and Emma W.

 

Hip-Hop Artists

Joshua Yang
Joshua Yang is one of the many bright, young minds in the professional dance world today. Recently obtaining a Bachelor’s of Marketing from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (2020), Joshua continues his artistic endeavors and seeks to expand his reach as a choreographer, teacher, and dancer. With choreography, Joshua has positioned himself as a versatile artist. Utilizing foundations from “Hip-Hop” and blending other principles. He is able to stretch the bounds of what dance is and can be. His work has been performed across the Midwest, and looks to grow beyond.

As a teacher, Joshua works hard to spark confidence, passion, and movement quality for his students by facilitating a dynamic class. Joshua’s versatility allows him to teach a range of classes such as Hip-Hop, Improv/Freestyle, and “Contemporary-Fusion”. His classes have a reputation for being extremely engaging, knowledgeable, and challenging. Joshua has become a leader in the community of young dancers and has established an inclusive dance company called “Origins”, which provides accessible training to all.

Along with dancing, Joshua enjoys being behind the camera. He has found a passion for directing, photography, and videography, both of which are assets to his brand. Joshua’s versatile mind and risk-taking ambition are what sets him apart from the rest.


Yoshi Halmar
Yoshi Halmar is an aspiring dancer in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Having only been dancing and training since 2018, he has exceeded many expectations. Yoshi trains consistently throughout the Midwest expanding his knowledge of dance and people. He finds great joy when being put on the spot and is a natural star. Hoping to one day become a professional dancer and become recognized by many. His commitment to dance is unmatched and hardwork is definitely recognized.

Musicians, Lighting and Technical Design

Colin Gawronski – Lighting and Technical Design
Colin Gawronski (Lighting Designer) Colin could not be happier to be back with DPMKE after the brief hiatus of the Pandorica. They have worked extensively with Danceworks, Inc. as well as such local companies as Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, UWM Dance, Next Act, PrideFest Milwaukee, Bard and Bourbon, Gina Laurenzi Dance Project, Black Arts Milwaukee and the Bronzeville Arts Ensemble as well as Theatre Lila of Madison. Favorite productions include: Ignite: A Hip Hop Experience, Secrets From the Wide Sky, Black Nativity, King Lear, Jesus Christ Superstar, Stories From a Life, Any Given Monday, Serendipity, In A Black Mood, Gruesome Playground Injuries, Lamps for My Family, and Vagabondare. Give Love Always.


Jennifer Roriguez – Flute Performance
Jennifer Rodriguez is a collaborative flutist and educator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Described as a “breakout flutist” by Danceworks Inc., Jennifer has a passion for sharing musical experiences within local communities in solo and chamber settings. Recent projects include performing at the Sō Percussion Summer Institute and facilitating MOVE MKE, a cross-curricular fundraiser recital featuring flute and dance.

Along with being a solo artist, Jennifer Rodriguez performs with the Black Cat Ensemble, and Microcosm Ensemble with co-artist and fiancé Alec Burke. Jennifer is also an avid teacher in the Milwaukee area at the Wisconsin Conservatory of Music, Brass Bell Music Store, and Brookfield Academy. Jennifer is a member of the Chicago Flute Club, President of the Flute Player’s Guild at UW-Milwaukee, and is certified in Every Child Can through the Suzuki Association.


Paul Westfahl – Percussion and Original Composition
Paul Westfahl is an active performer and educator in Southeast Wisconsin. He earned his BA in Music from the University of Wisconsin-Parkside in 2012 with an emphasis in Percussion Performance, Composition and Jazz Studies. Paul has worked with many Milwaukee organizations including but not limited to: The Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra, UWM Dance Department, Danceworks, Young Dance Academy, The Milwaukee Children’s Choir and The Dead Man’s Carnival to name a few. In addition to teaching privately, working with dancers and maintaining a demanding freelance performing schedule, Westfahl leads and composes for several of his own projects and is also involved as a sideman and co-conspirator/performer/composer with dozens of ensembles throughout the Milwaukee area. Since 2015, Paul has dedicated himself to studying tabla and is a disciple of Pandit Hindole Majumdar.