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Monday, July 28, 2008

Cutting-Edge Performances

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The dance department at UW-Milwaukee’s Peck School of the Arts will present two evenings of cut ting-edge performance from its graduate students.

On July 25-26, Dancemakers: Inside and Outside of the Box showcases their work in multiple settings. “A number of the choreographers had pieces that were more like performance installations,” explains Artistic Director Janet Lilly. “We had this combination of regular work that needed to be performed on a stage and work that could have been performed anywhere.

We thought that was fun and decided to make these evenings combinations of environmental work and tra ditional theater work. The range of the work that our choreographers were bringing to the process demand ed that we present the performances in this way.” The theater’s lobby, courtyard and stage are of equal importance for performances created specifical ly for these spaces. A piece by Clare Tallon Ruen greets audiences as they arrive, followed by a hula performance by John Mario Sevilla. An inventive, experimental work by Keely Garfield in the west courtyard wraps up the evening.


The students (many of them also professionals in companies around the country) were mentored by Lilly and fellow UWM faculty members Iain Court, Debra Loewen, Andr Tyson and Luc Vanier in defin ing and shaping the themes of the performances.

Other choreographers in the program include Fareedha Williams-Appah, Eric Jackson Bradley, Jackie Brenner, Leonard Cruz, Kimani Fowlin, Kate Hewson, Holly Jaycox, Stacy Pottinger, James Robey and Miki Saba. “We try to produce as many interesting choreog raphers as possible and these are people that are coming here from all over the place to study, but also to share their talents with the community,” Lilly says. “The diversity of backgrounds and varied artis tic interests of this group is really amazing in that it gives people a chance to see works from all over the rest of the nation.”

After several years as a professional contempo rary dancer in New York, Lilly has found a receptive audience and atmosphere for the arts in Milwaukee.

“I would characterize this as a really vital, growing dance community and I’m really happy to say that the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee has been a large player in the growth of this community.”

Dancemakers: Inside and Outside of the Box will be performed 7:30 p.m. July 25-26 at Mainstage Theatre, 2400 E. Kenwood Blvd.

Leonard Cruz | Photo by Hans Jurgen Sieker