Tom Strini

Dancing about the movies

By - Feb 24th, 2010 06:21 pm
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In the early days of the Danceworks Performance Company, everyone danced and everyone created dances. Over the years, choreography duties swung toward former artistic director Sarah Wilbur, current A.D. Dani Kuepper and the occasional guest.

Things change, and things change back. Eight Danceworkers and one guest will show their new creations Feb. 26-28 and March 5-7.

“I thought I really had to provide the opportunity for those who wanted it,” Kuepper said, in an interview Tuesday (Feb. 23). Almost everyone did. “Then it was up to me to figure out how to make them live in the same universe.”

Kelly Anderson helped her out, by suggesting that everyone base his or her dance on a movie genre. Anderson pitched in with a noir drama and a steamy Italian romance.

Starting lower right and clockwise, dancer-choreographers Kim Johnson-Rockafellow and Holly Keskey, dancer Sarah Wols, and dancer-choreographers Christal Wagner and Melissa Anderson.

Starting lower right and clockwise, dancer-choreographers Kim Johnson-Rockafellow and Holly Keskey, dancer Sarah Wols, and dancer-choreographers Christal Wagner and Melissa Anderson. Photos by Peter DiAntoni for Danceworks.

Melissa Anderson, with DPC for several years after a long career in the Milwaukee Ballet, stepped up with Dames. The music is Harry Warren’s tune of the same name, from Busby Berkeley’s 1933 42nd Street. This will be Anderson’s debut as a Danceworks choreographer.

“I’m so pleased,” said Kuepper, mother of four. “We get to wear swimsuits.”

Diane LeMense looked to The Big Night, a film about friends opening a restaurant, for her Take a Bite. Kuepper said that the piece captures LeMense’s warmth and hospitality.

“Diana has a warm and welcoming way that makes everyone relax,” she said. “Take a Bite is a group of friends, a choreographed party.”

Holly Keskey looked at the cliches of war movies in “This Is My Rifle,” and guest Simon Eichinger took up this challenge from Kuepper: What if you were the killer in a horror movie?

“He does a really good job of pushing the limits of what our audience might be able to take,” Kuepper said.

Kim Johnson-Rockafellow’s husband is a big fan of kung-fu movies, so she looked there for inspiration. But she focused on the meditative side of it rather than the keee-YAH WHACK!

“It’s very calm and beautiful, like Kim,” Kuepper said.

Liz Hildebrandt will revive a two-year-old solo, Bound Struggle Release, which fits the suspense category. Kuepper, who was Maria in her high-school production of The Sound of Music, will contribute a number called When the Dog Bites. She also provided scenes that link the offerings of the other choreographers in this show, which runs about 75 minutes without intermission. Linking styles and subjects this diverse is no simple task.

Christal Wagner didn’t make it any easier. Wagner took her cues from The Jungle Book, the Disney animated feature.

“It’s a monkey dance,” Kuepper said. “Every show should have a monkey dance.”

Times and dates: Fridays Feb. 26 and March 5, 7:30 p.m.;  Saturdays Feb. 27 and March 6, 4 and 7:30 p.m.; Sundays Feb. 28 and March 7,  2:30 p.m. Location: Danceworks studio, 1661 N. Water St. Tickets: $25 and $20, $15 for students and seniors; visit the Danceworks website or call 414-277-8480 ext. 6025.

Categories: A/C Feature 2, Dance

0 thoughts on “Dancing about the movies”

  1. Anonymous says:

    When will they be touring to sunny Los Angeles?

  2. Anonymous says:

    Really, I think this show could play off Broadway for months.–T.

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