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1 week ago

Danceworks, Inc.
BIOME opens in LESS then a week! Let’s learn about the choreographer and director behind DPMKE’s upcoming show, BIOME! Read about Gina Laurenzi below and then join us for the show premiering February 29-March 3, 2024. Tickets are selling fast, grab them here! Laurenzi (@gina_laurenzi )graduated from the University of Wisconsin – Milwaukee (UWM) with a BFA in Dance: Choreography & Performance. Before beginning her chapter in Milwaukee, Gina was awarded a full merit scholarship to train at Giordano Dance Chicago and later performed with Giordano II and Inaside Chicago Dance, among other Chicago artists.Since living in Milwaukee, Laurenzi has been able to perform the works of Daniel Burkholder, Simone Ferro, Marie Gillespie, Dani Kuepper, Deb Loewen, Dawn Springer, Christal Wagner, and Morgan Williams among many others. Laurenzi continues to set work on the Gina Laurenzi Dance Project and has created works for Danceworks Performance MKE (DPMKE), Danceworks Youth Performance Company, Danceworks Intergenerational Performance Company (DIPC), Makaroff Youth Ballet (Appleton, WI), the Milwaukee Ballet’s Pre-Professional Program students, Milwaukee’s High School of the Arts, UWM Dance Dept., and Water Street Dance Milwaukee. Laurenzi is currently on faculty at both Danceworks and the Milwaukee Ballet and continues to teach at UWM where she is also pursuing her MFA in Dance. Laurenzi is happy to be able to continue to work with the wonderful artists of DPMKE after performing with the company since 2013.📸: ... See MoreSee Less
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1 week ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Danceworks DanceLAB presents Get It Out There! Learn about the show and showtimes below⤵️💥March 16, 2024 | 5:30pm & 8pmat Danceworks Studio Theatre1661 N. Water St.Milwaukee, WI 53202About the show: Danceworks Artistic Director, Christal Wagner, is set to unveil the latest edition of Get It Out There, a biannual showcase of works in progress by both emerging and established artists. This spring’s event, presented through Danceworks DanceLAB, will feature a diverse array of 22 new works from talented performers across Milwaukee and its surrounding areas. Scheduled for Saturday, March 16th, 2024, the performances will take place in two separate concerts at the Danceworks Studio Theatre. Following each show, attendees are encouraged to stay for an opportunity to interact with the artists, offering feedback and fostering dialogue. With a spectrum of genres on display including contemporary dance, dance theatre, poetry, and music composition, the evening promises a dynamic exploration of artistic expression.Tickets now available at link in bio. Artist line up coming soon…!💥📸: Christal Wagner ... See MoreSee Less
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2 weeks ago

Danceworks, Inc.
Did you know that we have merchandise?! Head to Danceworks to check out all that we have available!•T-shirts•Beanies •Zip-up Hoodies•Joggers•Fanny Packs•ThermosStop in today at 1661 N. Water Street Milwaukee, WI!#danceworks #dance #merchandise #newgear #fall #tshirt #zipup #fanny ... See MoreSee Less
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Danceworks Blog

Spotlight on Gretta Assaly

Posted on by 10Web Support

I know the whimsical days of summer are coming to a close when I hear Miss Gretta’s Spotlight Theatre kids rehearsing.

The door was shut on their final dress rehearsal but I snuck into the theatre and took a seat in the audience behind her.

Gretta and Cindy

Gretta with faculty member Cindy Collins

“Blackout…and…blackout!” Miss Gretta is directing. “Benji, your job is to get the wolf. Can we have lights on for the end of the dance please? Is Mimi in the dance?”

Gretta’s week-long theatre intensive has been the close of our Summer Creative Arts Camps for almost as long as I have been at Danceworks. She has a magic touch with kids and is part magic herself, pulling a full production together with 24 children–a lot of them new to the business of acting–in just five days. But if anyone can open up a child to stand and speak in front of an audience, Gretta can. She also brings along with her great set pieces that help transform our black-box performing/studio space into the imaginary world she is helping her students create. They make the rest of the sets and props and costumes themselves with the help of our visual arts teachers and assistants.


“Great job! Excellent, excellent! Let’s try that blackout again. Can you fit in there, Mimi? Let’s try it again for Mimi.” I remember hearing that same direction myself years ago.

I know firsthand the influence Gretta Assaly has on children. She recognizes the special quality of each child and has a way of bringing it out. There’s no one size fits all with her. She did it for my own son, Charlie.


“Lights up! Judge in, Squiggy in, Wolf in–you all made it! Great job!” The show is a fun takeoff of several fairy tales and of the wolf getting to tell his side of the Three Little Pigs story to a courtroom jury. “We all deserve that chance,” I hear wolf say. Then, “Why do they always blame it on the wolf?”

One of the actors named Dorthea raises her hand and Miss Gretta calls on her. “I have a suggestion,” Dorthea says. “Instead of staying up after we say ‘Guilty!’ can we sit down one at a time?”

“Did everyone hear that? If you all agree, we can try it,” Gretta responds.

Good manners and respect go along with the memorizing of lines. Gretta leans over to me and whispers, “That little guy is great. He’s never heard of discipline but he’s very good.” You can be sure he got a good dose of it this week.

“Let’s try it once more. Can we take our places for the end of the dance? 1, 2, 3, lights up, and…..bow!”

After the bow, one at a time the children go down the line saying their names and the part(s) they played and the responsibilities they carried out from costumes, to props to stage managing.

Several of the actors gather around Gretta when they are finished with the rehearsal. “Do you have a safety pin?” Gretta pulls a little box out the purse she carries on her arm at all times. Now I see why. She opens it up like Mary Poppins and hands the child a safety pin.


Gretta asks me if I have anything to say to the actors and I tell them what a remarkable job they are doing but to get rid of the fidgets, focus and follow Miss Gretta’s directions. I watch the performance and there is no doubt about it, they all did just that and much more. They performed. Like magic. Gretta works hard to make sure each one has a moment to shine.


And why wouldn’t they? Miss Gretta is magical.

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.