Danceworks Inc.
Press Release

Danceworks Performance Company and Present Music: Temptation’s Snare

March 6-9, 2014 • Next Act Theatre

By - Jan 30th, 2014 01:44 pm

MILWAUKEEDanceworks Performance Company (DPC) and Present Music join together to reimagine and reinvigorate the classic fable, The Soldier’s Tale, with a contemporary twist, in Temptation’s Snare, March 6-9, 2014, at Next Act Theatre (255 S. Water St., Milwaukee).

Temptation’s Snare will blend Igor Stravinsky’s classic music of The Soldier’s Tale with new music from the Sleeping Giant composers’ collective. The evening-length work also includes narration by local actor Jason Powell, who will play Satan. Powell appeared with DPC in last season’s What’s So Funny?.

“When Kevin (Stalheim, Present Music Artistic Director) presented the idea of coming up with a new take on The Soldier’s Tale, making use of both the Stravinsky and Sleeping Giant music, I felt a bit overwhelmed!” DPC Artistic Director Dani Kuepper admitted. “It meant studying two completely different collections of music, the fable—and trying to rearrange it all into a new configuration that worked to drive the storyline, satisfy the musical ear and ensure that the dancing was engrained in all of it. Just to complicate things, we had the idea that the narration should be made new as well,” Kuepper said.

Stalheim and Kuepper agreed that this new Soldier’s Tale should have a whimsy to it, like the original narration, but with more contemporary references and updates.

“Kevin and I are alike in that way; we enjoy being serious and ridiculous in equal doses,” Kuepper said.

According to Stalheim and Kuepper, audiences should expect something very different in DPC’s and Present Music’s retelling of this story—including the gender of the title role, which will be played by DPC dancer Christal Wagner.

“We’ve changed the story’s protagonist from a soldier to a violinist, who makes a deal with the devil,” Kuepper said. “We came to the conclusion that The Soldier’s Tale is really about greed and temptation above all else; hence, the new title.”


Temptation’s Snare opens Thursday, March 6 at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water Street. The full schedule of performances is:
Thursday, March 6, 7:30 p.m.
Friday, March 7, 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 8, 7:30 p.m.
Sunday, March 9, 2:30 p.m.


Tickets to Temptation’s Snare are $20 on Thursday, $30 on Friday and Sunday, and $35 on Saturday. Students with valid ID receive a 50% discount on tickets. For tickets to Temptation’s Snare, please call the Present Music box office, at 414-271-0711, ext. 2, or visit the website,


DPC Dancers: Alberto Cambra, Kim Johnson-Rockafellow, Gina Laurenzi, Liz Tesch, Christal Wagner, Liz Zastrow
Guest Artists: Kendra Kramas, Madeleine Schoch, Morgan Williams, Andrew Zanoni


The Sleeping Giant Collective is comprised of six emerging composers, all Yale School of Music graduates: Timo Andres, Ted Hearne, Jacob Cooper, Christopher Cerrone, Andrew Norman and Robert Honstein. Their first collaborative work, Histories, was commissioned in 2012 by the Deviant Septet ensemble. Histories is a companion piece to L’Histoire du Soldat (The Soldier’s Tale) that examines and contrasts our personal histories with Stravinsky’s seminal 1924 work. The instrumentation of both works is the same, allowing Present Music to weave between the two.


Dani Kuepper, Artistic Director, DPC, received both her BFA and MFA from UW-Milwaukee, where she has been a faculty member of the UWM dance department since 1999. She is the artistic director of Danceworks Performance Company (DPC), the resident contemporary dance company of Danceworks. Kuepper joined DPC in 1998 and has since choreographed more than 30 dances for the company. She has choreographed extensively in the Milwaukee community; and as DPC’s artistic director, she has enjoyed the opportunity to collaborate with Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, Florentine Opera Company, Present Music, First Stage and the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra.

Kim Johnson-Rockafellow, Artistic Manager, DPC, joined the company in 2000 upon graduating from UWM with high honors and a BFA in Dance. Originally from Kingsford, Mich., Johnson-Rockafellow served as associate artistic director from 2009-2012 before taking on the role of artistic manager of performance and studio. She has created works for DPC as well as for Milwaukee Ballet II. Johnson-Rockafellow has helped to write curriculum for both Danceworks Studio and Milwaukee Ballet School, where she served as faculty, branch manager and children’s division coordinator. She has helped grow Danceworks’ dance fitness program as well as other facets of the organization, including the DanceLAB. Johnson-Rockafellow is a dance lecturer at UWM, where she teaches modern technique and body sense.

Kevin Stalheim, Artistic Director, Present Music, is committed to commissioning new music and supporting residencies and has worked closely and extensively with many of the most important composers of our time. Among Stalheim’s accolades and honors are a 2012-13 UW-Milwaukee Alumni Fellow honor, 2011 UWM Distinguished Alumni Award, City of Milwaukee Arts Board 2002 “Artist of the Year” award, the Civic Music Association 2001 “Distinguished Citizen Award” and the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel nod as 1989 “Musician of the Year.” In addition to serving as Present Music’s artistic director, Stalheim has participated on funding panels for the National Endowment for the Arts, the Aaron Copland Fund, Meet the Composer (now New Music USA), Chamber Music America, and the American Composer’s Forum.  He was formerly a board member for the American Music Center in New York City. Stalheim received a Bachelor of Music Degree from Oberlin College and a Masters of Music Degree in conducting from UWM.

Jason Powell, Script/Narrator, is the librettist/lyricist/composer of two full-length musicals: the Alchemist Theatre premiere Invader? I Hardly Know Her and the Milwaukee Opera Theatre commission Fortuna the Time-Bender vs. The Schoolgirls of Doom. He wrote and performed in the Skylight/ Milwaukee Opera Theatre 2013 cabaret One Stop Opera Shop. Other companies with whom he’s worked include the Boulevard, Windfall, In Tandem and Theatre Gigante. He also wrote, sang and acted for Danceworks’ What’s So Funny? in fall 2012.

Christal Wagner, “Violinist,” is back for her seventh season with DPC. She holds a BFA in modern dance from UW-Milwaukee. Christal has performed with Your Mother Dances, Edwin Olvera Dance and Creative Services, and is a collaborator with local group the Cadance Collective. She was a featured performer in Present Music’s Around 30 concert and currently serves on ART Milwaukee’s Creative Arts Council. Christal is an adjunct faculty member at UWM and serves as rehearsal director for guest choreographer Keely Garfield. She enjoys teaching studio classes and for Danceworks Mad Hot Ballroom and Tap.

Danceworks, Inc. enhances the joy, health and creativity of our community through performances, classes and outreach activities integrating dance and other art forms.

Present Music engages artists and audiences in imaginative and provocative experiences with new music through ensemble performance, education and commissioning.

Danceworks and Present Music are members of the United Performing Arts Fund (UPAF).

NOTE: This press release was submitted to Urban Milwaukee and was not written by an Urban Milwaukee writer. It has not been verified for its accuracy or completeness.

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