Danceworks Inc.
Press Release

Danceworks Performance Company, Milwaukee Opera Theatre reunite outdoors: Fairy Queen Fantasy

June 19-20, 2015 • Lynden Sculpture Garden

By - May 20th, 2015 02:52 pm
Fairy Queen Fantasy. Photo by Dan Bishop.

Fairy Queen Fantasy. Photo by Dan Bishop.

MILWAUKEE…Danceworks Performance Company (DPC) and Milwaukee Opera Theatre (MOT) reunite to celebrate the summer solstice with dance, opera, Shakespeare, sculpture…and fairies, in Fairy Queen Fantasy, June 19-20, 2015, at Lynden Sculpture Garden (2145 W. Brown Deer Rd., Milwaukee). This concert is co-presented by Lynden Sculpture Garden.

Fairy Queen Fantasy is an adaptation of Henry Purcell’s 1692 masterpiece, The Fairy Queen—which is an operatic adaptation of William Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Resplendent with woodland fairies and other mythical, mystical characters, the production is an extravagant collaboration featuring 53 dancers, 11 singers and 4 instrumentalists. Guest artists from both Danceworks and MOT range in age from 7 to 77.

“It has been a joy to connect with so many aspects of the Danceworks organization on this project!” exclaimed DPC Artistic Director Dani Kuepper.

“The combined rehearsals that bring together professional dancers from DPC with dancers from our youth studio classes, as well as our adult and 50+ classes, have been inspiring for all of us. The intergenerational aspect of this concert is a beautiful nod to the immortality of fairies,” Kuepper added. “Seeing the generations dance together is truly magical.”

The studio dancers will portray fairies in the production. Many of the young dancers are the children of the professional and student adults—including Kuepper’s own 10-year-old daughter, Natalie.

Fairy Queen Fantasy marks the two organizations’ third artistic collaboration—following Maria de Buenos Aires in 2008, performed in a church; and Façade—An Entertainment in 2011, performed in the lobby of the Milwaukee Theatre. Kuepper and MOT Artistic Director Jill Anna Ponasik each praised the mutually gratifying experience of collaborating together.

“Working with Jill Anna is always rewarding, both artistically and personally,” Kuepper said. “She is a true collaborator, makes work of the highest caliber and constantly surprises audiences with inventive projects.”

Ponasik concurs. “Danceworks Performance Company develops spirited, invigorating, joyful work, wherever they are. It is our great pleasure to join them at the Lynden Sculpture Garden for another wild adventure.”

Kuepper and Ponasik are especially pleased with the outdoor setting of the concert at Lynden Sculpture Garden. While some seating will be available for those who require it, audience members will stroll the garden, encountering various sections of the production along the way. Dressing for the weather and wearing comfortable shoes for walking are recommended.

Picnicking is also encouraged. The Lynden Sculpture Garden grounds will open at 5:30, allowing guests to arrive early and enjoy the splendor of the surroundings before the concert begins. Free shuttle service to and from the grounds will be available at the I-43/Brown Deer R. Park and Ride lot.


Fairy Queen Fantasy opens Friday, June 19, 7:00 pm at Lynden Sculpture Garden, 2145 W. Brown Deer Road, with an additional concert on Saturday, June 20, at 7:00. Rain date is scheduled for June 21, 7:00 pm.

Lynden Sculpture Garden will open each evening at 5:30. Free shuttle service to and from the I-43/Brown Deer Rd. Park and Ride begins at 5:20 pm. Picnics welcome.


Tickets to Fairy Queen Fantasy are $25 for general admission and $15 for students and seniors; children under 10 receive free admission. Tickets are available online through Brown Paper Tickets; please visit or call1-800-838-3006. Please note: Brown Paper Tickets adds a small service fee to the price of each ticket.


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

Milwaukee Opera Theatre Singers: Evelyn Alumbreros* (age 12), Bob Balderson, Ami Bouterse, Ruth Brown, Cecilia Davis, Jill Anna Ponasik, Ellie Quint, Sarah Richardson, Matthew Richardson, Maureen Smith, Nathan Wesselowski

Guest Dancers – Youth Studio Classes: Sofia Delgado*, Addison Drake*, Clare Fricke*, Katrina Hjelmgren*, Syrena Hjelmgren*, Natalie Kuepper*, Elizabeth Nielsen, Marcia Olson, Marissa Taylor, Anna Wilson, Elsa Zielinski

Guest Dancers – Danceworks Youth Performance Company: Catherine Carroll, Ryienn Draper, Finley Gresnick, Massara Hunsicker, Olivia Johnson, Emily Koranda, Julia Schuessler, Trinity Riley

Guest Dancers – Adult: Halie Bahr, Gabrielle Becker, Kyra Boprie, Carlos Cortez, Ava Golner, Marissa Jax, Posy Knight, Nadin Nowak, Catey Ott, Natasha Posey, Jenni Reinke, Shelby Reuss, Madeleine Schoch, Christa Smutek, Maria Tordoff,  Kao Zhong Xiong

Guest Dancers – 50+ Studio Classes: Jolie Collins, Jan Disman, Dianne Dziengel, Janice Hjelmgren, Tom Hjelmgren, Keith Knox, Anne LeBaron, Natalie Lloyd-Jones, Adolf Rosenblatt, Suzanne Rosenblatt, Julie Vance

* – child of adult artist


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.
Jill Anna Ponasik, Artistic Director, MOT, is in her sixth season as artistic director of Milwaukee Opera Theatre. Ponasik continues to revel in the opportunity to direct, perform, program and support artists and their work. Since joining MOT in 2009, she has directed or produced more than 28 projects, including collaborations with Danceworks Performance Company, Skylight Music Theatre, Milwauke.

Chamber Theatre, Present Music, Nautilus Music-Theater, UWM, UW-Parkside, and Carroll University.  Ponasik holds degrees from the University of Minnesota and Rice University.

James Zager, Artistic Associate, MOT, is proud to be the current President of the Board of Milwaukee Opera Theatre. In addition, as an Associate Artist with MOT he has partnered with Jill Anna Ponasik to direct, stage, and/or choreograph more than a dozen critically acclaimed productions, including Master Class, The Mikado and Fortuna The Time Bender vs. The Schoolgirls of Doom. Zager has been directing, choreographing and designing movement for 25 years in professional theaters throughout the U.S., winning numerous awards for his efforts. He is currently the Head of Theatre & Arts Management for the department of Visual & Performing Arts at Carroll University. You can view the full pantheon of his professional work at

About Lynden Sculpture Garden: The Lynden Sculpture Garden offers a unique experience of art in nature through its collection of more than 50 monumental sculptures sited across 40 acres of park, lake and woodland. The former home of Harry and Peg Bradley opened to the public in May 2010. The Bradleys purchased the Lynden house and grounds in 1927. They retained Chicago landscape architects William Langford and Theodore Moreau to transform the flat farmland into an English country garden. The lake and rustic bridge spanning the water were designed to match Harry Bradley’s memories of the municipal grounds in Kansas City where he swam as a boy. In 1962, Peg Bradley—already an experienced art collector—began collecting the contemporary monumental sculptures that secured Lynden’s international reputation. She collected actively until her death in 1978, often inviting artists to Lynden to site their works. The collection includes sculptures by Alexander Archipenko, Henry Moore, Barbara Hepworth, Clement Meadmore, Marta Pan, Tony Smith, Mark di Suvero and many others. Today the Lynden Sculpture Garden is committed to promoting the enjoyment, understanding, and appreciation of art, sculpture and the environment through the exhibition of art and sculpture, educational experiences and connections with the community.

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).

Mentioned in This Press Release

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