No More Discombobulation, Radermacher Dance Declares

Kelly Radermacher will unveil the Radermacher Dance Company’s Milwaukee premiere, “Recombobulation Area.”

By - Dec 3rd, 2013 02:35 pm
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"Recombobulation Area"

“Recombobulation Area

I remember coming across the “Recombobulation Area” sign at the Milwaukee airport’s security line some years ago. It was a clever play on the idea of discombobulation. All of us who have ever been discombobulated by something would probably appreciate the chance to become recombobulated.

Choreographer and dancer Kelly Radermacher has recombobulated her own life, moving from the Twin Cities to Milwaukee. Having danced and worked in the city for three years now, she will unveil the Radermacher Dance Company’s Milwaukee premiere, “Recombobulation Area,” a reference to her new home base and a larger metaphor for that sticky business of being human.

She says the work is inspired by cellular biology, where “you see small pieces of a whole coming together for specific purpose… It is an abstract narrative of a single character surrounded by others. We see this character from the inside and from the outside… perhaps taking things apart and putting them together.”

The dance also acts as an edited version of a prior work from Raderbacher entitled “Nucleus…& Other Cell Bodies.” The performance enjoyed a one-night engagement at Studio Lounge on Kinnickinnic Ave. last summer before it took to the road to the MN Fringe Festival a month later.

Radermacher has also worked with other companies: she danced in Wild Space Dance Company’s “Acts of Wilderness,” which took place in Menomonee Valley’s Three Bridges Park this September. She also created a piece for Danceworks’ 2012 Art to Art show, working with visual artist Leah Schreiber to create a giant dance floor canvas where the artist could dance and the dancer could “art.”

Since moving here, Radermacher can’t help but feel the difference between the Twin Cities’ arts scene and our own, noticing that ever-present MKE humility.

“The Twin Cities has larger quantities of choreographers and dancers dancing in that work,” said Radermacher. “Milwaukee’s dance scene is smaller…While the Twin Cities felt established in its dance community status, Milwaukee feels like it is still growing and has the potential to to be something more.”

The smaller scene here has advantages, she says. “What is exciting  is that there are still so many ways to be a pioneer in your craft and to take on leadership roles, roles you may not have the opportunity to experience in a larger arts community. The more intimate community provides kind of a psychological safety net to just try things and see if they work.

“I like that in Milwaukee’s art scene, everyone is really excited for everyone else that is creating. There is a lot of lifting up and not a lot of judgment.”

In addition to her work as a dancer and choreographer, Radermacher teaches dance. She holds degrees in Dance and Anthropology from UW-Madison, and Elementary/Preprimary Education Certification from Augsburg College. She admits that her varied background has a way of sneaking into her choreography.

“I enjoy laughing and being goofy. This playfulness makes my children’s dance classes successful. I have a similar approach in rehearsals with my dancers, just with a very different result,” Radermacher muses.

“In a sense, many of my dances turn into anthropological studies, but it is not intentional. I am interested in human experiences and how peoples’ individual experiences shape their own lives. When making dances I attempt to use that information to inspire movement.”

Radermacher has already started research for the follow-up to “Recombobulation Area,” though she prefers to keep any details mysterious for now. She does hope Radermacher Dance Company can become a significant addition to the city’s culture.

“I would like my company to be a unique voice in the Milwaukee dance scene. I would also like to take a role in providing additional platforms for choreographers to show work.”

Alright, Radermacher. Come on in and recombobulate the town.

Radermacher Dance Company presents: “Recombobulation Area,” Thursday December 5th @ 8:00pm, Friday December 66h @ 8:00pm, Saturday December 76h @ 8:00pm, at the Underground Collaborative, 161 W. Wisconsin Ave., Lower Level in the Grand Avenue Mall’s Plankinton Building. Tickets: $15

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