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Wednesday, July 10, 2013

MKE FOLLIES Showcases a New Generation of Milwaukee Performers

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The UW-Milwaukee Peck School of the Arts produces many promising artists who quickly leave town to build careers elsewhere. Katie Rhyme and Karen Zakrzewski, graduates of the dance program in 2009, founded Dance Revolution Milwaukee to create opportunities for themselves and others of their generation who wish to make lives here as performers and teachers.

On Saturday, July 13, Dance Revolution Milwaukee will present the fifth installment of its hit variety show, MKE FOLLIES. Recognizing that building an audience for work by emerging artists is as important as providing a performance platform, Rhyme and Zakrzewski include music, comedy, theater and dance in every episode. The co-founders have faith that fans of each art form will learn to better enjoy the others through exposure to the full spectrum.

Since artists often find inspiration in disciplines other than their own, this approach serves the performers, too. Our times are especially characterized by interdisciplinary collaborations and experiments in hybrid forms. MKE FOLLIES would appear to be both a peek into the minds and hearts of young Milwaukeeans and a “scene” for performers to meet and share ideas.

Some of the most interesting, hard-working dance artists in town have participated. MKE FOLLIES is presented in two-month intervals. Rhyme and Zakrzewski select six to eight new acts from proposals they receive. Each act is given ten minutes. Some are presented in the bar area of the former Carte Blanche Studios—now Theatre Unchained—in Walker’s Point, others in the adjoining theater space. This arrangement fosters a relaxed sociability, the women said, that continues as audience members and performers stay to converse in the bar when the show ends.

This Saturday’s program includes the band The Flyaways, comedian Jason Hillman and spoken-word artist Ryan Hurley. Choreographer Molly Mingey will premiere a lighthearted quartet on the subject of brunch. Chloe Gray has a new duet for herself and dancer/choreographer Kelly Radermacher in which one represents the other’s ego. Sarah Wallisch will premiere a quiet, dramatic duet for herself and dancer Sara Truex.

Dance Revolution Milwaukee will present the public premiere of a work commissioned by the John Michael Kohler Art Center and performed there last April in connection with the unveiling of new art from China.

Tickets are sold at the door on a first-come-first-served basis at the artist-friendly price of $10. The box office opens at 7:30 p.m. Each past show has sold out.

MKE FOLLIES starts at 8 p.m. on Saturday, July 13. Theatre Unchained (nee Carte Blanche Studios) is located in Walker’s Point at 1024 S. Fifth St.