Tom Strini

Rooftop Dances ascend again

Steven Moses and Jaimi Patterson stage new dances on the sixth floor of the Kenilworth Building. Opens 9 p.m. Thursday.

By - Jun 26th, 2013 04:00 am

Steven Moses and Jaimi Patterson rehearse Gerald Casel’s “Armistice.” Madeline Pieschel photo for TCD.

Steven Moses and Jaimi Patterson, like most alums of the dance program at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, know that they can’t wait for a dance company to hire them full time or an impresario to produce them. They must be not only choreographers, dancers and producers, but also entrepreneurs.

Last summer, they found a nice marketing hook when they built a temporary stage on the roof of a building overlooking the Milwaukee River and put on a concert up there.  They’ll be elevated again this week, but with a roof over their heads instead of under their feet. Thursday through Sunday, Moses, Patterson and friends will dance on the sixth floor of the Kenilworth building.

The panorama windows and spacious balcony offer spectacular views of Lake Michigan, but the program is not about the scenery. The big, open room is just a pleasant place for dances that would be just fine on a conventional stage.


Mauriah Donegan Kraker and Jose Luis in Kraker’s “High Plain.” Madeline Pieschel photo for TCD.

Moses is serving as the artistic director, dancing in one piece and choreographing another. He brought back Javier Marchan Ramos,  Hilary Anderson, both dancers and choreographers, and Kao Zhong Xiong, dancer, from last year’s program. Rooftop newcomer Mauriah Donegan Kraker, a standout with Wild Space over the last year, will join José Luis in her new high plain. Another newcomer, Brenna Marlin, will unveil Patterson’s Rebel Red, and  Libby Faye Schmitz will make her Rooftop debut in a new duet by and with Anderson.

“There is no overriding theme to the concert,” Moses said, between rehearsals on June 21. “But we all share values that make the program cohesive. As dancers and choreographers, we all have a certain visceral quality.”

“Human experience is part of it,” said Patterson, associate artistic director for this production. In addition to artistic duties, she’s seeing to most of the business side to the enterprise. “We don’t try for specific topics or narratives, but we want people to be moved in some way.”

I saw what she meant during rehearsals of Moses’ and then we try again and Kraker’s duet with Luis. In the former, Patterson, Anderson, Luis and Xiong weave rapidly and tightly. When Patterson takes a dive, the others arrest it mid-fall, then let her down gently. A little later, Luis pursued Patterson and planted light kiss after light kiss on her cheeks as the two dancers darted about the room. Twice in Kraker’s high plain, Luis dropped Kraker as if the feathery young woman were a sack of potatoes (her call, remember, as the choreographer).

Such actions tell no specific stories, but both speak to human interaction.

“These dances have the potential for multiple meanings,” Moses said. “We’re looking to connect with audiences, but not tell them exactly what the connection is.”

“Last year, we had a lot of comedy,” Patterson said. “This year, it’s quieter, more serious.”

“Everyone making work for this program,” Moses said, “feels that bodies create context. When people move, relationships will be there.”


Concert Information: 9 p.m. Thursday June 27, 8 and 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday, June 28-29, 6th Floor of UWM’s Kenilworth Square East building, at Prospect and Keniworth. Tickets: General $20 | Artist Student $15, at the Rooftop website and at the door.

The Program

Choreography:  Gerald Casel
Performance: Jaimi Patterson and Steven Moses
Music composition and performance:  Tim Russell

Before the First
Choreography and Performance:  Javier Marchan Ramos
 Alva Noto & Ryuichi Sakamoto

Come Full Circle
Choreography:  Hilary Anderson
Performance: Hilary Anderson and Libby Faye Schmitz

Rebel Red
Choreography: Jaimi Patterson
Performance:  Brenna Marlin
Music composition and performance: Tim Russell

high plain
Choreography:  Mauriah Donegan Kraker
Performance: José Luis and Mauriah Donegan Kraker
Music: Castanets, Neil Young

and then we try again
Choreography: Steven Moses
Performance: Jaimi Patterson, José Luis, Libby Faye Schmitz, Kao Zhong Xiong, and Hilary Anderson

Categories: Dance

0 thoughts on “Rooftop Dances ascend again”

  1. Anonymous says:

    ** THURSDAY’S SHOW IS AT 9PM (not 8pm)

    Friday/Saturday — 8pm & 10pm

  2. Anonymous says:

    Thanks, Jaimi. All fixed. — Strini

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