Dancing in the sky
Steven Moses and Jaimi Patterson, two of the brightest lights of Milwaukee dance, produce their first show -- on a roof overlooking the Milwaukee River.
Steven Moses and Jaimi Patterson needed a place to put on a dance concert. Theaters are pricey.
“We were brainstorming about spaces, and then I walked up to the roof…” Patterson said, in an interview on the roof Monday.
“We decided we should just call it Rooftop Dance,” Moses added.
The two — partners in life as well as in dance — envision a possible airborne dance series up there — eventually. But first things first, and the first thing is a program of solos, duets and a trio, set for 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, July 6-7. They’re holding the same times for Sunday, July 8, in case of a rainout or heavy ticket demand. They have space for 55 chairs and a little standing room. The 8 p.m. Friday show sold out a few days ago.
Despite the great charm of the venue — the river views are lovely — this first set of Rooftop dances are not site-specific in the way of, say, Wild Space (which once did a piece celebrating the marsupial footbridge just downriver from InVivo).
“The concert really doesn’t refer to the environment at all,” Moses said, noting the program could transfer happily to an indoor proscenium stage.
“The original plan was to seat people (on the north side of the stage), so they’d look past the dancers and see the views,” Patterson said. “But the HVAC makes a lot of noise and would be too close to them. So we’ll give them time to enjoy the space and the views and have a glass of wine before and after the concert. During the dancing, they’ll get the ugly view.”
Another advantage to that: the ugly HVAC unit won’t pull the eye from the dancers, and the graceful bend at the Humboldt Avenue bridge would.
Here’s what you’ll see:
- Love’s Fodder, the profoundly emotional and erotic duet Luc Vanier created for Patterson and Moses in 2010, for a Present Music concert at the Wherehouse.
- A new solo by Hilary Anderson, a senior in the dance program at UWM. (Patterson, 26, and Moses, 27, are also UWM dance alums.) “She’s doing really interesting things,” Patterson said. “I saw her at a class showing and asked her to be in this.”
- Elizabeth Johnson’s Ahem, a solo made just for Patterson. “It’s Elizabeth’s biography of Jaimi,” Moses said. Patterson added: “That’s me — ahem! — I’m here! I’m taking up your time and you’re gonna enjoy it!”
- Javier Marchan-Ramos, a UWM grad now based in Chicago, will do a new solo that involves an unlikely coincidence. “Javier didn’t have rehearsal space in Chicago,” Moses said. “So he rehearsed on the roof of his garage.”
- Moses will revive his brilliant solo, Fata Morgana, first shown on the Art to Art showcase at Danceworks last summer. That dance will be linked with two others as a Moses suite. Holly Keskey and Dani Kuepper premiered the powerful I Have What You Need in April at Danceworks. Moses and Patterson will dance it this time around, and as Moses noted, that will change the dynamic of the work. Patterson, Gina Laurenzi and Kao Zhong Xiong will finish the cycle with a new work.
They all will dance on a 20×30-foot sprung floor borrowed from UWM. Everyone is getting paid at least something. Moses and Patterson have raised $1,690 via Indigogo, even though they do not have non-profit standing for this, their first self-produced show. Patterson, who’s tended to more of the business end, smiled and fist-pumped when Moses shared the number.
They’ve put together a portable concert that could play anywhere, and they stand ready to move it to another venue if the opportunity arises. But it does have one roof-specific element, thanks to lighting designer Iain Court.
“At the 8 o’clock shows, the sun will still be setting,” Moses said. “Iain was adamant about using it for side lighting.”
Concert Info: Showtimes 8 and 10 p.m. Friday-Saturday, rain/overflow same times Sunday. Tickets are $20, $15 for students. The concert will take place in the InVivo building, 2060 N. Humboldt Ave., on the north bank of the Milwaukee River, at the bridge. Note: The only access to the roof is via a stairway.
Video preview by Garrett Katerzynske for TCD.