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Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Life, Death, Home, Love

Dance Review

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  Rebecca Stenn will bring her New York dance company to Milwaukee later this week for performances at Danceworks. A graduate of the UW-Milwaukee Masters Dance Program and a Juliard-trained choreographer, she deals with the themes of home and sense of place, exploring the effects of the strings that tie us to our place of origin.

  Stenn’s ties to Wisconsin include several works that were created here, including Blue Print Redux, which will comprise the bulk of the Danceworks performance. The initial idea for the evening-length piece was hatched during Stenn’s company’s residency last year at Sheboygan’s KohlerArtsCenter.

  Running just over an hour without intermission, the piece’s aim is to be accessible. “The themes that we dance about and show onstage are completely universal themes that every single person in the world deals with,” she says. “The idea of home and where you’re from, you don’t have to be a dance aficionado to have a real and profound experience…these are things that everyone encounters in their lifetime.”

  The music accompanying the dancers is a vital part of the performance, featuring electric bass, cello and violin. A unique touch has the musicians interacting with the dancers during the performance.

  Stenn takes pride in the distinct visual aspects of her creation. “I consider myself almost like a visual artist, as though I paint with the choreography rather than thinking about the steps,” she says, adding that attendees inclined to appreciate visual imagery will be pleased. “If you’re a person who loves to go to the museum and look at pictures then you will love this because these are pictures that descend one to the next through movement.”

  Opening the evening will be a duet entitled Periphery. This piece, running only 10 minutes, explores the impact of life-changing events and features dancers culled from the UWM Dance Program. This section encapsulates the major moments altering one’s life trajectory and provide a foundation to build on the theme of how life, death, home and love shape human existence.

The Rebecca Stenn Dance Company will perform at 7:30 p.m. on July 18-19 at Danceworks Studio, 1661 N. Water St