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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

NomadicLIMBS: Milwaukee's New Summer Dance Collective

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Thom Dancy, a young dancer and choreographer just graduated from the Milwaukee Ballet II (MBII) professional training program, has founded a Milwaukee summer contemporary dance collective called NomadicLIMBS. Its members include artists from Milwaukee Ballet, MBII, Your Mother Dances and the UW-Milwaukee dance program, along with accomplished out-of-towners eager to enjoy Milwaukee's summer and the chance to make new work in a new company.

NomadicLIMBS will give its first performances this Friday and Saturday, June 29-30, at Carte Blanche Studios in Walker's Point, with two shows on Saturday. The hour-long concert includes six dances. All but one are Milwaukee premieres; most are brand-new.

Professional dancers are nomads, traveling around and beyond the nation for jobs during the season. The goal of this group is to make Milwaukee a regular summer home, giving indoor and outdoor performances at city sites, and eventually touring Milwaukee-made work to places near and far. This is a worthy vision. Strong ties to the city on the part of many of these artists give reason for hope.

Their first show looks terrific. I've seen the one non-premiere, a moving duet called There's This, created by Milwaukee Ballet artists Nicole Teague and Isaac Sharratt, who will dance it. Mary-Elizabeth Fenn (Milwaukee, Amsterdam, Chicago), Cheyla Clawson (Kansas, Oklahoma, Utah) and Ariel Asch (Milwaukee, New York, Chicago) each contributed one dance of a personal nature. Dancy made two: a solo for Fenn to Nina Simone, and a trio set against a sensitively erotic video of the dancers.

“Honesty” is the word Dancy uses to describe the group's aesthetic. It's contemporary work, but different from other modern dance in Milwaukee because of the artists' ballet backgrounds. “We're trained,” he says, “to hurl ourselves through space.”

NomadicLIMBS performs 7:30 p.m. June 29 and 3 and 7:30 p.m. June 30 at Carte Blanche Studios, 1024 S. Fifth St. Admission is $7 Friday; $7-$15 Saturday. For more information, visit www.nomadiclimbs.com.