Danceworks Inc.
Press Release

Danceworks Performance Company delves into the mysterious for season opener: Footsteps, Shadows and Whispers

November 5-8, 2015 • Next Act Theatre

By - Oct 1st, 2015 01:28 pm
Footsteps, Shadows and Whispers. Photo by Paul Ruffolo.

Footsteps, Shadows and Whispers. Photo by Paul Ruffolo.

MILWAUKEE…Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) explores themes mysterious, dreamlike and otherworldly in Footsteps, Shadows and Whispers, November 5-8, 2015, at Next Act Theatre (255 S. Water St., Milwaukee).

The company is collaborating with a few favorite artists to cover the items in the concert’s title. Guest choreographer Dawn Springer brings footsteps to the forefront in setting her Dreams of Flight (2010) on DPC. This piece was originally a solo that she herself performed. It is now a group work, performed almost entirely in unison, and in total silence. Filmmaker Kym McDaniel again collaborates with DPC, but this time she is credited as choreographer as well. Shadows are prevalent in the premiere she is creating for four dancers. DPC member Christal Wagner has created a haunting piece highlighting whispers of memory in her new collaboration with The Cadance Collective. Christal is one of the three founding members of the group, along with flutist Emma Koi and cellist Alicia Storin, who will perform live during Wagner’s solo.

Finally, DPC Artistic Director Dani Kuepper has reconnected with composer Allen Russell (Paleontology of a Woman, 2014) to create a new work inspired by dreams and the juxtaposition of what is real, imagined and hyper real.

“When I’m consumed by the dance-making process, I often work out choreographic puzzles in my sleep,” Kuepper explained. “I refer to them as ‘working dreams,’ and they are quite lucid and useful.

“I’ve been listening to dream research experts talk about the importance of dreams in the evolution of humans and development of problem-solving capabilities—for example, overcoming fears or role-playing interpersonal conflicts,” Kuepper continued. “In an effort to decipher the problem-solving reality that exists in what is often assumed to be only ‘a dream,’ I’ve collected dreams from the dancers and engaged in discussion about what they perceive to be useful about those dreams. We are juxtaposing the random dream scenarios together into a sequence that includes language and imagery from the dancers’ dreams.”

For Kuepper’s work, Allen Russell has created a score that the Tontine Ensemble will realize in live performance to create an abstract soundscape in conversation with the surreal dream world created.

In addition to the DPC dancers, this concert includes guest dancers Halie Bahr, Nadin Bailey and Madeleine Schoch.


Footsteps, Shadows and Whispers opens Thursday, November 5, at Next Act Theatre, 255 S. Water Street. The full schedule of performances is:

Thursday, November 5, 7:30pm
Friday, November 6, 7:30pm
Saturday, November 7, 4:00 & 7:30pm
Sunday, November 8, 2:30pm

Fifteen-minute talkbacks will follow the performances on November 5 and 6 and will precede the 7:30 pm performance on November 7, beginning at 7:00 pm.


Tickets to Footsteps, Shadows and Whispers are $27 for premium reserved seats, $22 for general reserved seats and $16 for students and seniors. For tickets, please call the Next Act box office at 414-278-0765, or purchase online at Please note: a Next Act facility fee will be added to the price of each ticket.

Subscriptions for the DPC 2015-16 are also still available through Danceworks. Season subscriptions cost $60, offering reserved seating, exchange privileges and a savings of more than 25% off single ticket prices. To purchase a subscription, please call the Danceworks Box Office at 414-277-8480, ext. 6025, or visit our studios, located at 1661 N. Water Street.


DPC Dancers: Melissa Anderson, Alberto Cambra, Kim Johnson, Dani Kuepper, Gina Laurenzi, Christal Wagner, Jöelle Worm, Andrew Zanoni, Liz Zastrow

Guest Dancers: Halie Bahr, Nadin Bailey, Madeleine Schoch

Additional Guest Artists: Cadance Collective (Emma Koi, flute; Alicia Storin, Cello; Christal Wagner, Dance), Kym McDaniel (filmmaker), Allen Russell (composer), Dawn Springer (choreographer), Tontine Ensemble (Barry Paul Clark, double bass; Molly Lieberman, viola; Patrick Reinholz, cello; Allen Russell, violin)


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, Danceworks Artistic Manager, joined the company in 2000 upon graduating from UW-Milwaukee with high honors and a BFA in Dance. Originally from Kingsford, Mich., Johnson 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 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 DanceLAB. Johnson is a dance lecturer at UWM, where she teaches modern technique and body sense.

Cadance Collective, founded in 2012, creates an interface where music informs dance and dance informs music. This ensemble treats music composition and dance choreography as common tools in creating original performance pieces. After training at the highest levels as both a classical flutist and modern dancer, founder Emma Koi saw an opportunity for artists of many disciplines to collaborate in the artistic process. With dancer Christal Wagner and cellist Alicia Storin, the Milwaukee-based Collective has performed at MKE Follies, as part of DPC’s Intersect (2013) and Breathe (2015), and as featured performers at the Cedarburg Cultural Center’s “Throwback Thursdays” series (2014). Cadance Collective also offers outreach programs for senior centers, schools, and community centers. 

Kym McDaniel, filmmaker, is an honors graduate from UW-Milwaukee who holds a BFA in Dance and BA in Psychology. She has taught dance in Romania, Maine, Milwaukee and Chicago. Kym has also interned with GERALDCASELDANCE and filmed works by mauriah kraker/kitchendances, Oni Dance and Your Mother Dances. Her film, Groundswell, was screened at the Dance Camera West Emerging Artists Competition in Los Angeles. She is a current MFA Candidate in Film, Video, New Genres at UWM.

Allen Russell, Composer, is a violinist/composer/producer from Milwaukee. GLOOSTIKK is the name for Allen’s endeavors in the electroacoustic arena. A fusion of human and computer generated elements, GLOOSTIKK combines loose hip hop beats with live violin improvisations to create a unique blend of genre-bending textures and grooves. He appears with the gypsy swing band, Swing Chevron, at venues such as The Jazz Estate, Von Trier and Riverwest Filling Station and is a member of the Tontine Ensemble contemporary string quartet.

Dawn Springer has choreographed, taught and performed in festivals and universities throughout the United States and abroad. Recent work in Milwaukee includes a collaboration with composer Jon Mueller that premiered at the 2015 Eaux Claires Music and Arts Festival, and a two year choreographic residency with Alverno Presents. Her latest writing will soon be published in a new anthology on Dance in American Culture. She has an MFA from Hollins University and a BFA from the University of North Carolina School of the Arts.

The Tontine Ensemble was founded in 2014 with the mission to perform improvisational works and to champion the compositions of Milwaukee composers. Its four current members first played together for a Blank Radio recording session and immediately began rehearsing regularly. Allen Russell, Molly Lieberman, Pat Reinholz and Barry Paul Clark are all classically trained musicians who teach and regularly perform in a variety of styles around the Milwaukee area and beyond. The Tontine Ensemble has appeared as guest artists with Danceworks Performance Company, Formations Series, Mike Neumeyer and Friends, and the Milwaukee Follies.

Christal Wagner is back for her ninth season with DPC. She holds a BFA in dance from UW-Milwaukee. Wagner has performed with Your Mother Dances and Edwin Olvera, and she has been a featured performer with Present Music. She is also a co-founder of the Milwaukee music and dance trio, Cadance Collective. Wagner choreographs musical theatre for Divine Savior Holy Angels High School and Community Theatre Works, and she has won two Tommy Awards for outstanding choreography in 2013-2014.

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).

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