Danceworks Inc.
Press Release

Danceworks Performance Company mixes it up with DJ, hip hop dancers: Plugged In

April 24-26 & May 8-10, 2014 • Danceworks Studio Theatre

By - Mar 25th, 2014 02:37 pm
Plugged In. Photo by Dan Bishop.

Plugged In. Photo by Dan Bishop.

MILWAUKEE…Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) transforms its theatre into both a smoky bar room and a hot dance club, working with a live DJ and local hip hop dance artists, in Plugged In, April 24-26 and May 8-10, 2014, at Danceworks Studio Theatre (1661 N. Water St., Milwaukee).

Local artist Jason Powell, who just finished his acclaimed turn as the Narrator/Satan in the DPC/Present Music collaboration Temptation’s Snare earlier this month, generated the concept for Plugged In.

“Jason proposed the idea to write a set of ‘80s inspired pop songs, as if he was a washed-up singer who used to play huge stadiums, but now appears at county fairs and small town bars,” said DPC Artistic Director Dani Kuepper. “Jason and I brainstormed that DPC would be the backup dancers to his faded front-man persona.”

That brainstorming session led Kuepper to re-imagine the Danceworks Studio theatre as an intimate bar/club scene, where an evening of music and dance could unfold.

“I imagined the patrons and employees you might see in a bar or a club, weaving the evening together in episodic transitions,” Kuepper explained. “Between larger dances, audiences will interact with the cocktail waitress, the barfly, the flashy juggling bartender, the lonely guy recovering from a breakup, the screaming bachelorette party, the couple in an argument, the go-go dancer, the bouncer…

“I’ve asked the company members to help me explore who’s at the club and what their backstory is,” Kuepper said.

Following Powell’s set, guest artist Tyrone “DJ Bizzon” Miller will bring the audience into a dance club.  He will improvise live at each performance in DPC member Jöelle Worm’s latest improvisational structure for the company, with guest hip hop dancers Rasheeda Panniel, Samantha Patrick and Richard Brasfield.

Other contributions to the concert include a new piece by DPC dancer and Danceworks Artistic Manager Kim Johnson-Rockafellow that takes its cues from techno music; a new dance by DPC dancer Gina Laurenzi; and a remix of an older dance choreographed by Kuepper, …in the night, which premiered in 2002.

Please Note: The Plugged In after-party originally scheduled for May 10 at the Miramar Theatre has been canceled.

PERFORMANCE DATES

Plugged In opens Thursday, April 24 at Danceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N. Water Street. The full schedule of performances is:

Thursdays, April 24 and May 8, 8:30 p.m.

Fridays, April 25 and May 9, 7:30 p.m.

Saturdays, April 26 and May 10, 7:30 p.m.

TICKET INFORMATION

Tickets to Plugged In are $25 for reserved seats, $20 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors. For single tickets to Plugged In, please call the Danceworks box office at (414) 277-8480, ext. 6025, or visit our website, www.danceworksmke.org.

ARTISTS

DPC Dancers: Melissa Anderson, Alberto Cambra, Kim Johnson-Rockafellow, Dani Kuepper, Gina Laurenzi, Liz Tesch, Christal Wagner, Jöelle Worm, Liz Zastrow
Guest Artists: Richard Brasfield, Tyrone “DJ Bizzon” Miller, Rasheeda Panniel, Samantha Patrick, Jason Powell, Andrew Zanoni

CONTRIBUTING ARTIST BIOGRAPHIES

Dani Kuepper, Artistic Director, DPC, received both her BFA and MFA from UW-Milwaukee, where she has been a faculty member of the UWM dance department since 1999. She is the artistic director of Danceworks Performance Company (DPC), the resident contemporary dance company of Danceworks.

Kuepper joined DPC in 1998 and has since choreographed more than 30 dances for the company. She has choreographed extensively in the Milwaukee community; and as DPC’s artistic director, she has enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, Florentine Opera Company, Present Music, First Stage and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Kim Johnson-Rockafellow, Artistic Manager, DPC, joined the company in 2000 upon graduating from UWM with high honors and a BFA in Dance. Originally from Kingsford, Mich., Johnson-Rockafellow served as associate artistic director from 2009-2012 before taking on the role of artistic manager of performance and studio. She has created works for DPC as well as for Milwaukee Ballet II. Johnson-Rockafellow has helped to write curriculum for both Danceworks Studio and Milwaukee Ballet School, where she served as faculty, branch manager and children’s division coordinator. She has helped grow Danceworks’ dance fitness program as well as other facets of the organization, including the DanceLAB. Johnson-Rockafellow is a dance lecturer at UWM, where she teaches modern technique and body sense.

Jason Powell, Composer, is the author of the full-length musical Invader? I Hardly Know Her, which premiered at the Alchemist Theatre in Bay View and went on to participate in the Fringe Festival in New York City in 2010. His comic opera, Fortuna the Time-Bender vs. The Schoolgirls of Doom, commissioned by Milwaukee Opera Theatre, premiered at the Alchemist in 2012 and will enjoy a remount in the same venue later this year. Most recently, Jason enjoyed critical acclaim in his reinvention of the narration of The Soldier’s Tale and portrayal of the Narrator/Devil in the Danceworks Performance Company/Present Music collaboration of Temptation’s Snare in March of 2014.

Gina Laurenzi is in her first season with DPC. She previously trained as a Giordano Jazz Dance Chicago scholarship student, under Elements Contemporary Ballet’s Artistic Director Michael Gosney, and later performed with Giordano II and Inaside Chicago Dance. Founder of Laurenzi Dance, Gina serves as Artistic Director for her youth performing dance companies, producing themed events with her family of young artists at Laurenzi Dance. She graduated with a BFA in Choreography and Performance in December 2013.

Tyrone “DJ Bizzon” Miller is the winner of Vocalo Radio’s 2013 “Quest For The Best DJ” battle. DJ Bizzon’s creative turntablism skills, original production and hands-on style has made him one of the Midwest’s most sought-after DJs. Bizzon prides himself on rocking the party without compromising artistic music selection. The same work ethic and originality that make him a standout on the turntables carry through to his other roles in music—radio host, music columnist, event organizer and youth organization music director.

Jöelle Worm is a Milwaukee native who followed Danceworks from downtown to the south side and back. In between, she earned a BFA in dance from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities and spent nine years dancing and administrating arts education programs in New York City. Jöelle is a member of the choreographic improvisation ensemble De Facto Dance, which performed at Danceworks in 2012.

Danceworks, Inc. enhances the joy, health and creativity of our community through

performances, classes and outreach activities integrating dance and other art forms.

Danceworks is a member of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

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