‘Art to Art’: Experiments in Dance
Danceworks recognizes that it is a community’s job to
provide laboratories for artists and they have accepted their share of the
responsibility. Liz Hildebrandt, a graduate of UW-Milwaukee’s dance department,
was a grateful participant in the company’s first DanceLAB project six years
ago. She is now its director. DanceLAB currently produces several events each
summer, including the recent “ScreenDance”program of dance-film collaborations and an upcoming tap concert. “Art to Art”seems to me to be
central to its vision: a concert of new work by early career choreographers
teamed with creative people from non-dance disciplines. It provides a
potentially illuminating show for audiences and a significant step for artists
new to the field.
“If they don’t
leave town, we can help them find their place,” Hildebrandt says. “We provide a
situation in which they won’t lose their shirts.”
Anyone can submit a proposal. Collaboration defines
the performing arts today, so it makes sense that proposals must come from
teams. This year, eight teams were selected. Lauren Hafner Addison and design
engineer Elizabeth Alstad address the impact of the physical environment on the
body. Puppeteer Kurt Hartwig helped Julianna LaRosa and graphic designer Jordan
Melrood realize their fantasy Who Wants
to Be the Bearded Lady? Mary-Elizabeth Fenn teamed with industrial designer
Chris Metcalf and sound designer Dakotah Cornelius on Dinner With Mike and Barb, which involves an unusual dining event.
Alison Leonard, Hannah Marquardt, Molly Mingey, Jessie Mae Scibek, Katie Rhyme,
Karen Zakrzewski, and Alexandria Watry are the other choreographers. Their
distinguished collaborators include composers, musicians, costumers, writers
and theater artists.
The teams participate in 12 hours of choreographic workshops with Danceworks professionals to experience a range of approaches to dance-making. They receive a stipend to cover costs. Six weeks before opening, they present their unfinished work to an audience of DanceLAB participants and a growing general public. Using a guided feedback process developed by renowned choreographer, teacher and former Milwaukeean Liz Lerman, the artists and audience talk critically about the works in progress. Then it’s back to work. The finished performances will be presented at 7:30 p.m. July 30-31 in the Danceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N. Water St.