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Tuesday, July 3, 2012

'Rooftop Dancing' Looks to Reach New Heights

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How cool is this? On the flat roof of the INVIVO Wellness building beside Stubby's Pub & Grub, along the Milwaukee River just north of the Humboldt Avenue Bridge, a lighted dance floor and seating will be installed for open-air performances by an exciting group of Milwaukee modern dance artists twice nightly on July 6-7.

Steven Moses and Jaimi Patterson, 20-something alumni of the UW-Milwaukee Dance Department and partners in life, organized “Rooftop Dance.” Both are members of Your Mother Dances, an experimental company led by Elizabeth Johnson and Luc Vanier, husband-and-wife members of the UWM dance faculty and mentors to Moses and Patterson in this and other endeavors.

According to Moses, the spark was a dance he made last summer in the indispensible Danceworks laboratory series “Art to Art.” That work, Fata Morgana, was inspired by a Buddhist tale of the insatiable hungry ghosts that beset us psychologically. With this dance, which he performs alone against a dreamy text by Milwaukee writer Justin Spaller, Moses felt he had found his footing as a choreographer; for the first time, he says, “there was no gap between what I said I was making and what I actually made.”

This led to a trilogy with the working title “Thirst.” It will be premiered in its entirety in “Rooftop Dance.” Part two, I Have What You Need, originally danced by Dani Kuepper and Holly Keskey in Danceworks Performance Company's 2012 spring concert “Want or Need,” has been reconceived for Moses and Patterson to reflect their partnership. Part three is an untitled trio for Patterson, Gina Laurenzi and Kao Zhong Xiong, collaborators in a recent Vanier performance.

In addition, Moses and Patterson will revive “Love's Fodder,” a charged duet made for them by Vanier for a 2011 Present Music concert, largely unseen by dance audiences. Patterson will also premiere “Ahem,” a comic solo made for her by Johnson from a bit of childhood autobiography. “My grandfather brought me to a barbershop in Sussex where I danced for all the old men,” Patterson explains. “After the applause, I told them I could have danced better, but my mom buys my shoes too big.”

“Rooftop Dance” will also feature original solos by Javier Marchan Ramos, an exciting dancer known for his fine work with Wild Space Dance Company, Danceworks and UWM, and UWM senior Hilary Anderson, another Vanier protégé.

“Rooftop Dance” takes place 8 and 10 p.m. July 6-7 above INVIVO Wellness, 2060 N. Humboldt Ave. Stair access only. Tickets at the door. For guaranteed seats, visit www.rooftopdancemke.com.
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