Danceworks Inc.
Press Release

Danceworks Performance Company, composer Allen Russell reunite to tell Milwaukee’s intergenerational stories in Secrets from the Wide Sky

April 14-15 & 19-21, 2018

By - Mar 20th, 2018 04:29 pm
Secrets from the Wide Sky. Photo by Jeff Zmania.

Secrets from the Wide Sky. Photo by Jeff Zmania.

MILWAUKEE – Danceworks Performance Company, composer and violinist Allen Russell, and poet Jennifer Kohnhorst team up to present Secrets from the Wide Sky, April 14-15 & 19-21, 2018 at Danceworks Studio Theatre (1661 N. Water Street in Milwaukee). Audience members are invited to explore the secrets of Milwaukee’s intergenerational community in this evening length concert of original dance, theater and live music. Compassion, inspiration and joy unify us all – and are celebrated in this season closer.

Danceworks Artistic Director Dani Kuepper began the choreographic process by asking the performers to share, either openly or anonymously, their own secrets on topics including shame, fear, empathy and joy. “My hope is that by hearing the secrets and stories of a variety of people with different life experiences, we can understand more about how we are different, and ultimately, how we can identify with one another compassionately and generously,” Kuepper explained. “Secrets from the Wide Sky is a study in empathy.”

Original music, played live by composer/violinist Allen Russell, accompanies the dancers, including Danceworks Performance Company members (Kim Johnson, Gina Laurenzi, Liz Licht & Christal Wagner), guest dancers (Elisabeth O’Keefe, Zachary Schorsch, Maggie Seer, Liz Tesch & Morgan Williams), Danceworks Youth Performance Company members (Finley Gresnick, Olivia Johnson, Lily Karnes, Thalicia Melendez, & Naila Reaves-Sanchez; along with several members of the Danceworks Studio community.

All of the performers recite poetry, written by Saint Paul, Minnesota-based Jennifer Kohnhorst, honoring the group’s stories and secrets. Kuepper has worked with her on past choreographic works, and saw Kohnhorst’s objectivity as a tool to tackle this very personal material, saying, “[Jennifer] wrote poetry that evokes the truth of each secret with a level of abstraction that allowed for all the secrets to be shared tangibly and artistically without risking confidentiality.”

“In both sound and movement, the weight of secrets was evident,” says Kuepper. “Joyful secrets are light and buoyant. But keeping a secret of shame or fear can be a heavy burden. Sharing that secret can be terrifying, but ultimately, a relief.”

That tension and relief of secret-keeping was a theme for Russell in creating the original music for Secrets from the Wide Sky. “I felt there was an inherent musicality to our concept,” says Russell. “I hope the show can be said to have evoked suspense as well as catharsis in looking at the idea of secrets in their many positive and negative, helpful and hurtful, and tangible and imagined forms.”


Secrets from the Wide Sky runs Saturday, April 14 at 7:30pm, Sunday, April 15 at 2:30pm, Thursday, April 19 at 8:00pm, and Friday & Saturday, April 20-21 at 7:30pm at Danceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N. Water St. in Milwaukee.

And don’t miss:

Post-show talkbacks (20 min): April 14, 19 and 20

Pre-show meet & greet with Artistic Director Dani Kuepper: April 21


Advance purchase tickets to Secrets from the Wide Sky are $27 for reserved seating, $22 for general admission and $16 for students and seniors; walk-up tickets are $25 for general admission and $18 students and seniors. Box Office: 414.277.8480 x6025. Tickets are available online at

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