Erin Petersen

Choreographers vie for top spot in Milwaukee Ballet’s “Genesis”

By - Mar 4th, 2009 10:46 am
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Next month, three choreographers will get a unique opportunity to showcase their work during Milwaukee Ballet’s third international choreographic competition, Genesis: Choreography for the Next Generation, March 26-29. Held every other year, the competition demonstrates Milwaukee Ballet’s continued commitment to generating new and innovative works. While ballets internationally often follow the same model, Milwaukee Ballet is one of few companies in this country hosting a truly international competition.

Milwaukee will be among the first to witness the evolving new talent in international ballet production. Genesis will include three Milwaukee premieres choreographed by finalists Maurice Causey, Cameron McMillan and Timothy O’Donnell. The winner receives $3,000 and is offered the chance to create an original piece for Milwaukee Ballet the following season. Second place receives $2,000; third place receives $1,000; and the audience favorite receives $500.

The three choreographers are handpicked by Artistic Director Michael Pink, who watches and critiques over 30 submissions from across the globe. This year, Pink received entries from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, United States and Vietnam. “I look for musicality and creativity in the steps; the original way in which the choreographer brings together music and dance,” Pink said.

Pink also invites a panel of renowned judges to select the winner. This year’s panel includes André Lewis, artistic director of Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Gil Boggs, artistic director of Colorado Ballet; Katherine C. Kersten, founder and artistic director of The American Ballet Competition; and John McFall, artistic director of Atlanta Ballet.

Each choreographer is given a dance team of eight performers to create a 20-minute work. The dancers and choreographer will then have three weeks, a total of 90 rehearsal hours, to make their piece ready for the panel of judges and the audience.

As in year’s past, this year’s competition takes place at Milwaukee’s Pabst Theater, providing audiences with a rare opportunity to get an up close experience with the Ballet’s dancers. In the ornate Baroque and Renaissance style of this intimate auditorium, audiences will discover the athleticism, strength and versatility of the dancers—every muscle and bead of sweat is distinguishable. The show’s choreography pushes the boundaries of dance from ballet to contemporary, providing an incomparable performance for experienced ballet-goers, and an accessible introduction to ballet for novices. Milwaukee Ballet also runs a voting process, allowing ballet goers to pick an audience favorite by the end of the show’s run.

Genesis: Choreography for the Next Generation runs March 26-29 at the Pabst Theater, 144 E. Wells Street, Milwaukee. Tickets to the performance begin at $22. To order tickets or for additional information, call (414) 902-2103 or visit is sponsored by Briggs and Stratton.

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