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Saturday, December 20, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 30.0° F  Light Snow Fog/Mist
The Daily


Madison Ballet's 'Pure Dance' is a stripped-down delight

Madison Ballet wrapped up the season in Overture's Promenade Hall last weekend with Pure Ballet, the organization's first repertory concert in its new professional configuration. For Madison audiences accustomed to nothing but Nutcracker, the stripped-down format's an education. There's no story, no props, no sets - just dance, with all its effort and sweat. >More
 The UW Dance Program: Good move

The Spring Concert last weekend in Lathrop Hall's Margaret H'Doubler Performance Space continued the UW Dance Program's recent trend toward stronger offerings. For the most part, the mostly student dancers looked good. The seven premieres on the bill were substantial, the choreography wide-ranging. >More
 Battle at the Terrace: Breakin' the Law delivers 5inal sentence in Madison

Strong winds and a day of rain didn't keep a large, loud and diverse crowd from filling the Grand Ballroom of Monona Terrace for "Breakin' the Law," an international bboy and bgirl break dancing competition held in Madison on Friday night. This fifth annual edition of the free event -- dubbed "5inal Sentence" -- drew break dancers from here in the Midwest and around the world. By all accounts it was a resounding success. >More
 Choreographer for hire

It's dark in Lathrop Hall's Margaret H'Doubler Performance Space. From the shadows, Maureen Janson counts "four, five - go deeper into that plié!" Two dancers, lit by a single spot, sweating, start to laugh. They've run through this sequence a half-dozen times, but there's humor in perfectionism. Janson laughs too. She jumps into the scene, demonstrating with lean, muscular arms the quality she's looking for in this knee-bend move. >More
 Peter Pan: Ready for takeoff

Some local arts organizations may get ground down in the recession, but for Madison Ballet, which added a professional component this season, the stars look well aligned. The premiere of its all-new Peter Pan this weekend at the Capitol Theater is the company's second production with the soloist-driven configuration. >More
 Complexions Contemporary Ballet: Soul + speed

Sunday night's Union Theater performance by Complexions Contemporary Ballet is a wakeup call for Madison dancers and dance patrons of all stripes. This is what dance performance oughta be in the 21st century, and we see precious little of it around here. This multiethnic company's got the strongest post-Balanchine ballet technique in New York, plus the funkiest moves. The Complexions experience can be relentless - critics often long for a little adagio, but for my money you can't beat the sheer guts and soul these dancers lay over their exquisite training. >More
 Ballet Folklorico México: Stepping up

You owe it to yourself to see the ticketed headliner for Overture's International Festival, Ballet Folklorico México de los Hermanos Avila. This world-class Mexican folk dance troupe is Madison-based, and its Feb. 16 debut on an Overture stage is long overdue. >More
 DecaDanceTheatre: Sister style

Jennifer Weber's all-grrrl DecaDanceTheatre brings an evening of vanguard Big Apple hip-hop dance to Overture's Capitol Theater on Valentine's night. Weber's here to demolish the perception that men have a lock on popping and locking, and she's gonna succeed. >More
 Nutcracker: Raising the barre

Madison Ballet's Nutcracker took a leap forward this year. At a time when many American companies are using canned music, or are on hiatus for lack of funds, Madison Ballet is buoyed by the Overture Center for the Arts. It's the company's great fortune to perform in posh Overture Hall with maestro Andrew Sewell and the vibrant Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra. And the metamorphosis, from the once unwieldy pre-professional group to the sleek new studio company blended with 12 newly hired young professionals, is artistic director W. Earle Smith's gift to Madison - a pointe corps and soloists any rising midsize city should be delighted with. >More
 Nutcracker Fantasy: The alternative Nut

Dance Wisconsin's Nutcracker Fantasy - an alternative take on the ubiquitous holiday ballet, complete with a partly original score by Madison composer Taras Nahirniak - is a shoestring affair, compared to Madison Ballet's well-financed production. But artistic director Jo Jean Retrum, who's been presenting pre-professional ballet in Madison for 30 years, is adamant about offering her aspiring young dancers this important performance opportunity. >More
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