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Monday, Aug. 30, 2010

Fall Dance Preview

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In the fields of dance and hybrid performance, almost every work presented in our town is brand new. Debra Loewen is among the most original of the originators. She has been making dances here for so long that the life energy of our city is somehow always her subject and everything her Wild Space company presents is significant. Premiering Sept. 9-11 with a Sept. 12 rain date, A Place for Everything is her newest response to a specific local site, in this case the newly reopened Lynden Sculpture Garden at 2145 W. Brown Deer Road. The dance will spread across the grounds and incorporate the sculptures. Josh Schmidt, a Milwaukee composer heralded across the country for his opera and theater scores, created music for the piece.

The “Performance Art Showcase” is our city’s most important performance art event, a window to the relatively underground work of an array of local artists. Curated by Pegi Christiansen and John Loscuito, it will have its sixth annual incarnation at MIAD, 273 E. Erie St., on Wednesday, Sept. 22. The immensely generous show ($5 suggested donation, $3 for students) will present work by 28 artists in tents, booths or the indoor gallery. The title and springboard theme is Souvenirs, and each performance will somehow offer one.

Danceworks is a professional dance laboratory. A show of new work, titled Lying,will be presented in the company’s Studio Theatre Oct. 1-9. Guest artist Amii LeGendre, whose fields include alternative dance, contact improvisation and community building, will join the company choreographers and dancers to address the theme of deceit. Can the body lie?

Alverno Presents” imports distinguished original work from around the world. On Oct. 16, Compagnie Jant-Bi from Senegal will perform in the Pitman Theatre. Eight dancers and five drummers under the leadership of the legendary choreographer Germaine Acogny, will perform Waxtaan. The word means “discussion.” The work employs traditional African dance to discuss “the naked aggression of 21st-century power politics.”

The Milwaukee Ballet will open its 41st season Oct. 28-31 at the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts with a revival of Michael Pink’s grand dance spectacle Esmeralda,based on Victor Hugo’s Notre-Dame de Paris. The score is by Philip Feeney, who composed Peter Pan. Pink finds Hugo’s heroine unusual in 19th-century literature for her courage to take on church and state. I find Pink unusual in his ability to assemble a great company and inspire them to theatrical excellence.

Isabelle Kralj and Mark Anderson have amassed an army of accomplished Milwaukee actors, dancers and musicians to de- and re-construct King Lear, my favorite Shakespeare play. Their Theatre Gigante remains exemplary in its commitment to forward-looking, risk-taking hybrid performance. The new show runs Nov. 18-21 at Studio 508, Kenilworth Square East, 1925 E. Kenilworth Place.

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