In the News
It is with sad hearts that we inform you of the death of our beloved Jean Ada Adams.
A link to her obituary is here. Jean touched so many lives with her brilliant costume designs, choreography and amazing ability to teach the art of dance to her students. We love you Jean. Thank you for the joy to brought to our lives.
Dates for summer choreography are set. Save these dates: Dance Wisconsin Choreography: are June 10th-14th and August 5th - 26th
Dr. Coppelius' Tea and Coppelia tickets are now on sale! Click here and you will be taken directly to the Mitby Theater ticket sale site.
Dance Wisconsin's February Newsletter http://conta.cc/14Mwosc
Dance Wisconsin welcomes a mid season addition with Alicia Pliner. Alicia welcome to Dance Wisconsin. It is a pleasure to have you apart of the Company.
Thank you for representing us so professionally: Miss Celia, rehearal assistant and choreographer, Carlen, dancer, and Anthony, dancer.
Update from the 2012 Golf Outing: Congratulations Mr. Chad Schwenn on winning the 2011-2012 Autographed Packer Football. Thank you for supporting Dance Wisconsin and thank you again to the Green Bay Packer Organization for their donation.
Monday, March 26, 2012. Jo Jean Retrum is pleased to announce that her tap piece Take Five was selected to be performed at RDA in Montreal Canada the week of May 1, 2012. The Dance Wisconsin dancers are busy preparing for their international travels. Scholarship audition forms are being filled. Head shots being taken. Some French is even being heard throughout the studio. The dancers are more than thrilled to have this extraordinary opportunity.
Saturday, February 11, 2012. Thank you to everyone that attended An Afternoon of Dance. We appreciate your patronage. The show was fantastic. The Performing Arts Center at the Sun Prairie High School was a fabulous location and the Sun Pairie Community was so welcoming. We hope to return soon.
Dance Wisconsin's Nutcracker Fantasy reworks a traditional favorite
Katie Reiser on Monday 12/05/2011 12:13 pm
This past weekend, Dance Wisconsin's Nutcracker Fantasy ran at the Wisconsin Union Theater in a 35th-anniversary presentation. It is a sometimes trippy reworking of the holiday classic. Artistic director JoJean Retrum has done some serious tinkering, and at times these new ideas work. But at other times I missed a more traditional approach.
A young girl listens to her grandmother's fanciful tale about her uncle's toy workshop, and then she lives the magical story, first at a party, then in a wintery land where the lonely Nutcracker longs to dance with the frozen Sugar Plum Fairy. Retrum augments Tchaikovsky's famous score with additional music, some of it original, and she moves several of the act-two variations into act one.
The party at Drosselmeyer's is pretty crowded; there are so many guests that sometimes it's hard to focus on the dancing. Cute elves pop out of Mother Ginger's skirt, toy soldiers move in tidy formations and a giant teddy bear dances with the children. Dolls come to life in the form of lively jack-in-the-boxes (Jonathan Person and Ashlyn Knieriem, doing good work here); Perrot and his girl Pirouette; and two ballerina dolls.
Person and Emily Jamieson's Arabian pas de deux is the highlight of act one. Jamieson is focused and steely, while Person is fiery and a bit sexy. Also doing fine dancing are the Spanish dancers, Anthony Cannarella-Andersen and Jordan Zweifel. The Chinese dance gets a bit long, but the soloist's appearances are a bright spot. Marie (Maggie Batterman with big eyes, bouncing ringlets and a pleasant manner) is introduced to the Nutcracker (Kanyon Elton) before they board a train and are transported to act two.
That act opens with carolers, and we peer into a window where sparkly couples dance at a party. Then there are ice skaters gliding and flirting in charming costumes, and a street scene with a quartet of hilarious little snowmen. They dance, skinny little legs in black boots emerging as they rise from the ground.
In a forest, we see an ice princess (Natalya Weise). She is elegant, but long poles covered in fabric extend her arms, which would be lovely enough left at their natural length. She is convinced by Marie to defrost the Sugar Plum Fairy, who makes a brief appearance before the Poinsettias dance to the sumptuous "Waltz of the Flowers." This is Retrum's best work, and it is quite pretty. She obviously has a good ear for music and a knack for creating interesting tableaux. The soloists, Christina Wyttenbach and Zweifel, are graceful.
The Sugar Plum Fairy is danced by Nicole Teague with crystalline precision that reveals her strength. Her Cavalier is the handsome Justin Genna, looking like a movie star with his slicked back hair and long, muscular limbs. Both are guest artists from the Milwaukee Ballet, and they are very good indeed. Their pas de deux is technically challenging and features many show-stopping lifts.
"Still Still Still" would probably be a pleasant piece not coming on the heels of that triumphant pas de deux, but it feels a bit shoehorned in, more so than some of the other departures. The snow scene, always one of my favorites, is well conceived and executed, but it probably would fare better placed in the lineup where it normally goes.
Retrum does a nice job working with dancers from many different local studios. She definitely has a way with teaching boys. Her most famous former pupil is ballet superstar Ethan Stiefel, and this performance's cavalier, Genna, is also an alum. I see promise, ability and good training in several of the other young men.
If you're in the mood for an out-of-the-box take on the Nutcracker -- with live music (the Dance Wisconsin Orchestra acquit themselves quite nicely) -- you might want to check this out next year. If you're a Nutcracker purist, there are still scenes that will make you happy, but you may be a bit uneasy with some of the proceedings.
DANCE WISCONSIN RECEIVES GRANT FROM RBC WEALTH MANAGEMENT
[Madison, WI] 9-27-2011– Dance Wisconsin announced that it has received a $$2,000.00 grant to from RBC Foundation – USA, to fund the organization for their core mission support- helping to spotlight both their mission and success in the community.
Dance Wisconsin focuses on promoting and fostering dance in Wisconsin and develop appreciation of the arts including dance, music and theatre by creating productions of the highest caliber geared toward entertaining, educating and enriching our diversified audience; to provide opportunities for highly talented and serious dancers to enhance their arts education through active participation in these productions as members of the Dance Wisconsin Company; to provide opportunities for many area youngsters age seven and older to perform on stage with exposure to notable guest artists in quality ballet productions; and to reach out to the community through demonstrations, special discounted shows and Dance in the Schools programs.
“We’re thrilled to receive this funding in order to help us accomplish our mission of success in the community,” said JoJean Retrum, Artistic Director of Dance Wisconsin. “Our organization exists due to the partnerships with corporations like RBC Wealth Management that remain committed to our initiatives regardless of economic climate.”
The mission of the RBC Foundation - USA is to improve the quality of life in the communities where RBC Wealth Management has a business presence by supporting non-profit organizations that make a positive difference. The Foundation focuses on three core areas: arts and culture, human services and youth education.
The culture at RBC Wealth Management is deeply rooted in being a trusted partner of its clients and to the communities the firm serves.
About Dance Wisconsin
Dance Wisconsin is now in its 13th year, but the roots of the company go back decades. The company’s artistic director Jo Jean Retrum and her mother and partner Jean Adams have long believed that audiences in southern Wisconsin deserved to see breathtaking dance productions with choreography, sets, and costumes seldom found outside major metropolitan areas. Their influence on the local dance scene is unrivaled and their productions have earned both critical acclaim and an enthusiastic base of loyal followers. In the past 11 years Nutcracker Fantasy has become a beloved holiday tradition, showcasing the talents of world-renowned dancers from some of the country’s leading ballet companies along with students trained at Dance Wisconsin’s home studio, Monona Academy of Dance. Elements of the production follow the traditional Nutcracker—with a party scene, dancing dolls, the Waltz of the Flowers, and the Sugar Plum Fairy and her Cavalier—but others are more contemporary and fanciful, such as beautiful ballroom and modern pieces accompanied by carolers. Retrum and Adams produced the Madison area’s first Nutcracker in 1976. The next year they founded the Madison Youth Ballet. Before long they began the tradition of featuring professional dancers to perform as guest artists in their Nutcracker, and eventually the production moved to the Civic Center’s Oscar Mayer Theater.
When the Civic Center brought in Pittsburgh Ballet to perform The Nutcracker in 1981, it became more necessary than ever to be able to compete with professional companies. The name of the company changed to Wisconsin Dance Ensemble, and Retrum and Adams sought and secured professional dancers from American Ballet Theatre for that year’s Nutcracker. This started a long tradition of bringing in dancers from ABT.
In 1999 Wisconsin Dance Ensemble became Dance Wisconsin. The company has been fortunate to have its own small orchestra come together for Nutcracker Fantasy each year. Led by conductor Blake Walter, the orchestra features many talented local musicians and also accompanies the beautiful voices of the Monona Grove High School Singers. In addition to Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker score, original music by Taras Nahirniak makes this production unique.
Appreciation for the arts is something Dance Wisconsin believes everyone should share. A critical part of the company’s mission is to remove barriers to discovering the art of dance—which is why, in addition to producing shows that are affordable relative to others in the Madison area, Retrum and Adams have taken their dance instruction to some of Madison’s most economically challenged public schools.
We are proud of the rigorous training we provide and the opportunities we offer our dancers. The many alumni who have gone on to professional careers are testament to the quality of our instruction. Our alumni have danced at companies all over the world, yet they never forget their roots, and many return to perform as guest artists, teach classes, or choreograph new pieces.
About RBC Wealth Management
In the United States, RBC Wealth Management operates as a division of RBC Capital Markets Corporation. Founded in 1909, RBC Capital Markets, LLC. is a member of the New York Stock Exchange, the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority, the Securities Investor Protection Corporation, and other major securities exchanges. RBC Wealth Management has over $183 billion of assets under administration and nearly 2,100 financial consultants operating in nearly 199 locations in 42 states. Through RBC Foundation – USA grants, charitable sponsorships, civic involvement and employee volunteerism, RBC Wealth Management gave $3.2 million to charitable causes in our communities in 2010.
Media Contact: Celia Pierquet Flores Dance Wisconsin, 608.221.4535 firstname.lastname@example.org
9-11-11 Nutcracker Fantasy audtions have concluded. Many wondeful dancers from numerous studios from around Southern Wisconsin auditioned. Thank you!
Dance Wisconsin shines at Regional Dance America
Dance Wisconsin attended its annual RDA Festival conference, but this time it had a twist. Not only was it a large gathering of talented dancers from the Midwest, but also from the Northeast in Pittsburgh, PA. The 52nd Annual RDA/NE/MW Festival consisted of dancers, directors, parents, faculty, and invited guests to come together each spring to celebrate the wonderful talent that is significant to all the regions.
Dance Wisconsin performed two outstanding pieces entitled "Shine", choreographed be Aly Dahmen and Emma Werner that was performed on Emerging Choreography night, and "Hallelujah" choreographed by Danielle Fuhrmann performed as a Gala Credit piece.
The company performed elegantly and with heart helping choreographers Aly Dahmen and Emma Werner to be awarded the Monticello Award for their piece "Shine" giving them a full-tuition scholarship to attend a choreography summer intensive. Danielle Fuhrmann was awarded the Project Tier National Choreography Recognition Award for "Hallelujah" giving her a full-tuition scholarship to attend RDA's prestigious choreography conference. We are so proud of our chorographer's accomplishments and are so pleased to have them with our company.
Dance Wisconsin is also proud to announce that BLOCH Pointe Shoes is going to be Dance Wisconsin's Official Pointe Shoe Brand for the 2011-2012 season. They have donated forty pairs of pointe shoes for our dancers. Dance Wisconsin was also awarded eight tutus for the company to use for practice and performances.
During RDA NE/MW Festival all the dancers had the opportunity to audition for cash, summer intensive, and craft choreography scholarships. The below dancers with Dance Wisconsin were awarded scholarships:
Anthony Andersen Full Scholarship to Point Park Summer Intensive
Jordan Zweifel Full Scholarship to RDA Summer Intensive
Emily Jamieson Full Scholarship to Salt Creek Ballet Summer Intensive
We are so proud of all of our dancers, faculty, and choreographers as they worked hard, performed to their best ability, and succeeded. We are so excited for RDA 2012 in Montreal, Canada and our 2011-2012 Season.
Dance Wisconsin also bids farewell to five graduating seniors: Matt Hunt, Aly Dahmen, Alexandra Schaller, Suzanne Jamieson and Emma Werner. The Dance Wisconsin family wishes you well in your future endeavors and looks forward to your visits and possibly future collaborations.
Dance Wisconsin heads to Pittsburg and Regional Dance America!
Members of Dance Wisconsin are headed to Pittsburg and Regional Dance America. Dance Wisconsin will have two pieces showcased this week, May 19th through 21st. Shine which was choreographed by Dance Wisconsin Company members Aly Dahmen and Emma Werner and Hallelujah choreographed by former Dance Wisconsin Company member and dancing/acting professional Danielle Dickert Fuhrmann. Dance Wisconsin choreographer Chelsey Dahm also has a piece featured. Check back for updates.
Dance Wisconsin and Regional Dance America? Click here to learn more
Thank you to the truly wonderful ballerinas and ballet dancers that attended and danced with Angelina and her Friends!
Thank you all for celebrating National Dance Week with Dance Wisconsin. Dance Wisconsin's Artistic Director, Jo Jean Retrum and Dance Wisconsin dancer, Miss. Emma giggled and smiled their way through the Jazz portion of the afternoon. Choreographer and teacher, Miss. Sally, saw such great talent emerging in the ballet room as dancers learned their positions and danced with Angelina and her Friends. Current and future D.W. Company members and their parents commented on what fun they had making flowers and coloring with all the attendees.
Thank you again for joining us. We look forward to seeing you at future Dance Wisconsin performances.
Celebrate National Dance Week with Dance Wisconsin
Dance Wisconsin will be hosting an Angelina Ballerina Party on Saturday, April 30, 2011 from 2:00pm until 4:00pm. Reservations are being accepted now. Cost is $10. Children will get to dance with Angelina and her friends, have a snack, do a craft and even do some creative movement (Jazz) dancing as well. Please call the studio to reserve your spot now. (608) 221-4535. Kids will be separated into age groups. To see pictures from last year's party click here. http://www.dancewisconsin.com/photo-gallery/fundraising-events/
Friend's of Dance Wisconsin hosts another successful "Latin Night"
Ballroom insturctors, Nan Gilbert and Dan Gorman, once again delighted Latin Night attendees with their great teaching skills. Couples were able to learn various spicy numbers including: Merengue, Cha Cha and Salsa. On site childcare was provided and the child delighted in sneaking a peek and watching their parents dance. Thank you to those in attendance. Your support of Dance Wisconsin is appreciated.
Dance Wisconsin performs at an "Afternoon of Dance"
February 6, 2011 - Dance Wisconsin enjoyed the opportunity to be guest artists at the Monona Academy of Dance "Afternoon of Dance". Dance Wisconsin performed pieces they have been preparing for Regional Dance America adjudication. These pieces were presented along with competition pieces prepared by the competition groups of Monona Academy of Dance or as they are known competitively as the MAD City Dancers.
April 2010 - Chelsey Dahm wins National Choreography Award
This photo shows Mary Kate Hartung in the piece "Requiem" as performed at Dance Wisconsin's New Works "Dance for Life", October 2009.
The choreographer of the piece, Chelsey Dahm went on to win the National Choreography award for "Requiem" at the Regional Mid States Fesitval in April 2010. This is the second year in a row that Ms. Dahm won an award for choreography. Ms. Dahm is a former company member of Dance Wisconsin and continues to work with the company as a teacher and choreographer. She also teaches at Dance Wisconsin's home school, Monona Academy of Dance, and is enrolled at the UW-Madison School of Law.
Dance Wisconsin kids show diverse, grown-up talent
We all grow up.
So too, do members of a children's dance company.
Soft-shoed tweens in tutus become lanky adolescents on pointe, become young adults itching to move to a grittier bite, become fledgling professionals eager to stage their own works.
That progression was evident as dozens of young members of Dance Wisconsin presented new works, and raised funds for the Wisconsin Women's Health Foundation, in a marathon, three-hour "Dance for Life" concert Saturday night at Madison Area Technical College's Mitby Theater.
The fundraising was spurred by the experience of Artistic Director Jo Jean Retrum, who shared at the show's start that she has been battling breast cancer. The night wrapped up with a piece set to a song by rock star Melissa Etheridge, about the singer's own cancer ordeal.
But what was most notable about the evening was not so much that piece, although it was done well, but what came in the couple of hours before it.
Deviating from Dance Wisconsin's safe, secure Nutcracker and Peter Rabbit roots, four former company members and a high school senior sibling duo choreographed eight of the evening's 10 pieces, lending a distinct non-classical feel that sought to emulate the style of grown-up regional modern troupes like Hubbard Street Dance Chicago or what you might see down the street on the Kanopy and UW Dance Program stages.
It's an acknowledgement that in today's economic climate dancers need to be versed in different styles if they are to land one of the few professional jobs available, that might not be with a strictly classical company.
The four returning choreographers -- Chelsey Dahm, Ashley Dahm, Ceilia Pierquet-Flores and Danielle Dickert-Fuhrmanm -- had dancers jogging, making square turns, wind-milling arms, doing large-group lifts and reaching to the heavens to chanted accompaniments.
But the most pleasure came from watching talented Sun Prairie High School twins Mary Kate and Michael Hartung, who co-choreographed one work entitled "Unum" and jointly appeared in six pieces. Mary Kate also danced without her brother in two pieces.
The first hint of the duo's natural talent came in "Requiem," a tribute to Nazi Holocaust survivors choreographed by Chelsey Dahm. Both Hartungs showed they've got the technical depth and emotional maturity required of an intense theme that had barefoot, loose-haired dancers writhing across a kitchen table and included, at one point, a blood-curdling scream.
They contracted and contorted, whipped and squared-up appendages and met the choreographer's demand for fast, unfettered foot and bodywork and for theatrics that included, for Mary Kate, curling on the floor and clenching her ears to avoid hearing piped-in reminisces of Holocaust survivors.
The siblings shined again in the next piece, "Carry me Home," which was largely a duet for them backed by a half-dozen other dancers, choreographed by Danielle Dickert-Fuhrmann. Michael Hartung's strength as an individual dancer -- out from behind partnering the girls -- was particularly evident here with leaps, turns, spins and a general comfort with quick moves and weight shifts.
And even at the end of a long evening, Mary Kate Hartung was able to offer an exuberant, bent-kneed leap that started from a crouch, to help cap "Life's A Climb," choreographed by Ashley Dahm and Dickert-Fuhrmanm.
It's fun to envision where so much talent is going to take them. Perhaps to something juicier than "The Nutcracker."