Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Dance Lab

Art to Art tests ideas in progress

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Art to Art is Danceworks’ inter-arts performance laboratory. Seasoned and emerging choreographers who want to test ideas in collaboration with artists from other disciplines apply to participate. The selected teams periodically present work in progress to one another for questions and comments during the months prior to public performance. Qualified mentors also offer non-directive advice as the performances crystallize. At nine years old, Art to Art has become a powerful nurturing force for Milwaukee dance and almost a rite of passage for young choreographers. This year’s concert on Aug. 2-4 offers six works:

■ Well-known choreographer Catey Ott Thompson and visual artist C. Kai Marquardt based their composition on the autobiography of the Incomparable Hildegarde, the mid-20th Century’s international cabaret star from Milwaukee. Hildegarde was Liberace’s muse and Thompson’s grandmother's cousin.

■ Danceworks Performance Company member Joelle Worm co-choreographed a dance with Colleen Hooper, who lives in Philadelphia, to music composed for them by Philadelphian Drake Z. Taylor. Many rehearsals occurred via email, Skype and YouTube. Their dance about long-distance communication employs the multi-media work of video artist Rori Smith.

■ Film/media artist Kellie Bornikowski, an adjunct faculty member at UW-Milwaukee’s Film Department, created a visual environment for choreographer/dancer José A. Luis, a senior in UWM’s BFA Dance Department, for a performance based on the Mirror Stage Theory of controversial psychoanalyst Jacques Lacan.

■ Laura Murphy, a prolific Milwaukee choreographer/dancer and member of Wild Space Dance Company, teamed with composer/musician Steve Schlei to create a music-dance improvisation structure for three dancers on the theme of departure. Schlei is an adjunct lecturer in UWM’s Music Department.

■ I’ve not seen the work of choreographer Marquita Redd, an MFA graduate of UWM’s Dance Department who has danced professionally in St. Louis, Philadelphia, Memphis, Chicago and Milwaukee, but her project is fascinating. She’ll dance while visual artist Kim Loper, beside her on stage, creates a mask. Loper teaches and exhibits in Milwaukee.

■ Choreographer Dawn Springer is a visiting assistant professor at Beloit College. Musician Aaron Schleicher is the guitar/vocalist with Milwaukee’s Juniper Tar and a remarkably productive, genre-leaping composer and multi-instrumentalist. They’ve somehow re-contextualized a 1971 solo by Trisha Brown, one of America’s leading modern dance choreographers.

Performances are at 8 p.m. Aug. 2-3 and 2:30 p.m. Aug. 4 at Danceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N. Water St. Call 414-277-8480 or visit danceworksmke.org for tickets.