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Tuesday, April 13, 2010

‘Monsters, Mayhem & Mac ’n Cheese’

Danceworks presents five ‘seriously silly’ pieces

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In art, it’s as great a challenge to capture the ridiculous as the sublime, and sometimes they are two sides of a coin.

As the mother of four, choreographer Dani Kuepper has learned to value the absurd as a bond and silliness as a language. In her decade-plus with Danceworks Performance Company, she’s created a body of original work that has helped her define a personal, “seriously silly” aesthetic. Four of these dances and one new work will be performed by company dancers in a program for all ages called “Monsters, Mayhem & Mac ’n Cheese” at the Milwaukee Youth Arts Center from April 16-18 and the Oconomowoc Arts Center from April 30-May 1.

Only the new piece was originally conceived for all ages. Three dances (“Wild Things,” “Frogs” and “Potluck”) were made in collaboration with Present Music at the behest of its imaginative director, Kevin Stalheim, and another (“When the Bough Breaks”) was featured in a 2009 Danceworks program, all for adults.

But Kuepper wants to bring the generations together. She recognizes that each benefits from interaction with the others: adults can learn from children how to play, take risks and savor illogic. Thus, parts of the new “Maestro” will be rehearsed and performed with adults and children who arrive an hour early to join Kuepper in a monster-making workshop. I’ll reveal more soon!

Milwaukee Youth Arts Center, 325 W. Walnut St.: April 16, workshop at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m.; April 17, workshops at 2 and 6 p.m., shows at 3 and 7 p.m.; April 18, workshop at noon, show at 1 p.m.

Oconomowoc Arts Center, 641 E. Forest St.: April 30-May 1, workshop at 6 p.m., show at 7 p.m.

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