Li Chiao-Ping Dance celebrates 20 years of work

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 04 December 2015 12:09

Armature: In Medias Reswill include works from Li’s past, like “Aqueducks,” a humorous, absurd work featuring “swimmers” dancing in 1920s bathing attire.
—Photo: Kat Cameron

Friends of Li Chiao-Ping would describe her, first and foremost, as a dancer and choreographer extraordinaire. Other words that come to mind include athlete, educator and, most certainly, fighter.

Michael Pink tells Cinderella’s story once again

Written by Julie Steinbach,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 07 May 2015 11:47

The beauty of Sergei Prokofiev’s narrative score and Milwaukee Ballet artistic director Michael Pink’s enchanting vision will unite later this month, to wrap up the ballet’s 2014–15 season with the timeless tale of "Cinderella." 

Madison’s Kanopy Dance channels Martha Graham

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 30 January 2015 07:08

As a student of noted choreographer Martha Graham, Lisa Thurrell learned early the power and grace found in her mentor’s works. Now, as the co-artistic director of her own company, Kanopy Dance, Thurrell will recreate that power and grace in Madison.

Milwaukee Ballet’s ‘Romeo and Juliet’ is true to sources

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 October 2013 16:09

David Hovhannisyan and Luz San Miguel star in Milwaukee Ballet’s Romeo and Juliet. -PHOTO: Jessica Kaminski

Romeo and Juliet live happily ever after? Fortunately, that’s not how Michael Pink sees it.

Kanopy Dance opens its season with compelling, contradictory works

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 05 November 2015 10:58

Kanopy Dance will open its season with Juxtaposition, a program of diverse works including the social commentary “Lynchtown” and the Steinbeckian “Promise.”
—PHOTO: Kanopy Dance

Dance is often considered the ultimate art form, one that uses the original instrument — the human body — as the medium for its message. When that artistic message also involves social commentary, dance can have a profound impact on its audience.

Hubbard Street Dance embraces the ‘original’ art form

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Saturday, 11 April 2015 06:45

Hubbard Street Dance Company will perform at Overture Center, a much-loved touring destination.
— PHOTO: Todd Rosenberg

Think of humanity’s earliest forms of art, and the average expert may point to the Paleolithic painting of a dun horse in the Lascaux Caves in southwestern France as a prominent example. Glenn Edgerton, artistic director of Hubbard Street Dance Chicago, suggests we look elsewhere.

‘Spring Series’ offers pure dance — without a narrative

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 20 March 2014 13:00

For aficionados of ballet, nothing is more evocative of its possibilities than narrative-free, abstract dance pieces like those showcased in the Milwaukee Ballet’s upcoming Spring Series.

The work of three guest choreographers is to be featured during the April 3–6 performance at Marcus Center for the Performing Arts’ Uihlein Hall. Two of the three half-hour works are world premieres. 

Joffrey Ballet’s ‘Romeo & Juliet’ takes novel approach

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 17 October 2013 16:03

Alberto Velazquez and Mahalia Ward star in next spring’s unconventional staging of Romeo and Juliet at Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet. -Photo: Christopher Duggan

Take Romeo and Juliet, imagine them traveling in a time machine set for three distinctly different stops in the 20th century, and you’ll have some idea how Chicago’s Joffrey Ballet will bring the star-crossed lovers to the stage next spring.

Dueling ‘Draculas’ offer ballet with a bite

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 08 October 2015 10:01

Both the Madison Ballet and the Milwaukee Ballet will be staging productions of Draculathis October, each with their own take on the Bram Stoker tale
Photos: Andrew Weeks/Tom Davenport

Call it coincidence, or credit dark forces dancing in the human psyche. Either way, Wisconsin’s two premier ballet companies are opening their seasons with productions of a story that ballet fans will really be able to sink their teeth into: Dracula.

Milwaukee Ballet's 'Giselle' makes grand jeté into 1941

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 12 March 2015 18:58

— Photo: Rick Brodzeller

In 1841, composer Adolphe Adam wrote the music for Giselle, the consummate ballet of mid-19th-century Romanticism. The story of heartbreak, loss and forgiveness is timeless. A young peasant girl falls in love with a nobleman who encourages her affections but is betrothed to another. When she discovers this, she dies of heart failure, only to be resurrected by the Wilis, supernatural beings that dance men to death for betraying women. But in the end, Giselle forgives the nobleman, forcing him to live with his sins.

Madison Ballet stretches its legs with 'Spring Repertory'

Written by Michael Muckian,
Contributing writer
Friday, 24 January 2014 12:33

Madison Ballet’s Rachelle Butler. –PHOTO: J. Laaser

In spring, the young dancer’s fancy turns to repertory performances, at least at the Madison Ballet. The company, now in the midst of its 30th season, will explore new themes and showcase its skills during Spring Repertory, a two-part program of choreographic talent to be presented at Madison’s Bartell Theatre.

NomadicLIMBS dances into Milwaukee’s summer

Written by Mike Muckian,
Contributing writer
Thursday, 11 July 2013 19:47

PLANNING THE NEXT MOVE: NomadicLIMBS founder Thom Dancy intends to expand the troupe’s programs and reach.

Summer in Milwaukee means few performance opportunities for dancers. The absence of activity perfectly suits out dancer and choreographer Thom Dancy, whose NomadicLIMBS troupe is again filling the void, and the dancers have been busier than ever.