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Sunday, December 28, 2014 |  Madison, WI: 25.0° F  A Few Clouds

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Arts 2014: Isthmus critics rate the art performances of the year

Madison's cultural scene just keeps growing and getting better. So much so, in fact, that it's hard to keep up with it all. But we give it our best. Now it's time for retrospection. Five Isthmus critics look back on the year in theater, classical music, dance and comedy. >More
 Solo performers dazzle as Madison Ballet stages its tenth Nutcracker at Overture Center

Madison Ballet is marking a decade of residence at Overture Center with its 2014 production of The Nutcracker, and Saturday evening's performance revealed some changes in both choreography and costumes. >More
 UW Dance Department's 2014 Kloepper Concert showcases a variety of student voices

On Saturday night, the UW-Madison Dance Department presented the 2014 edition of its annual Kloepper Concert, a showcase of new student works by 10 choreographers (solo or in groups) and the Freshman Workshop. >More
 Kanopy Dance explores the human condition through physicality in Mime Body Spirit

Kanopy Dance Company opened its 2014-2015 season Friday evening with Mime Body Spirit at Overture Center's Promenade Hall. "Making visible the invisible" is in pale script beneath the title, and that goal is achieved. >More
 Forward Theater Company's From Up Here is a thought-provoking tale about school violence and family dynamics

Filled with witty yet honest dialogue, Liz Flahive's From Up Here is a compelling dramedy about school violence. Director Jennifer Uphoff Gray leads a gifted cast through the Forward Theater Company production. Gray's interpretation is carefully crafted yet never heavy handed, reminding us why she's the company's artistic director. >More
 Madison Fall Arts Preview 2014: Theater and dance

When copious amounts of television are making you feel like a zombie, trekking to Spring Green's American Players Theatre for a classical Greek tragedy is the perfect remedy. High-art performances can engage your brain in restorative ways, and seeing them onstage has a visceral impact most TV shows can't replicate. >More
 Swathed in moonlight, American Players Theatre's Romeo and Juliet enchants with passion, humor and tragedy

While pop culture is currently enthralled with a pair of young, doomed lovers in The Fault in Our Stars, the hearts of theatergoers around the world have remained true to William Shakespeare's tragic couple for more than 400 years. The new American Players Theatre production of Romeo and Juliet is proof that audiences will care about this couple's story for years to come as well. >More
 Li Chiao-Ping's Rise Over Run fills the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery with intriguing movements and questions

Surprises abounded at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery on Friday as Li Chiao-Ping and her dance company presented a program of modern dance set in more than a dozen sites throughout the building. A complex undertaking in a complex that's a mixture of public and private spaces, Rise Over Run: Off the Wall Dances, invites audiences to view dance by moving through WID, guided by ushers. >More
 Li Chiao-Ping's Rise Over Run takes viewers to 13 intriguing sites at the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery

Inside the Wisconsin Institutes for Discovery's Town Center, dancers from Li Chiao-Ping's company lie on the ground, pressing their feet against a wall below a large video monitor. It's easy to forget about walls in a building containing a water clock that bubbles every 15 minutes, a garden filled with plants dating back to when dinosaurs roamed the earth, and tons of other fascinating features. >More
 Madison Ballet's Repertory II is a rare chance to see George Balanchine's works performed locally

Madison Ballet closes its 2013-14 season with Repertory II, a program at the Bartell Theatre. It has three works, two from artistic director W. Earle Smith and one from iconic choreographer George Balanchine, and features former New York City Ballet principal dancer Charles Askegard. The last two performances are on Saturday, March 22, at 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. >More
 UW Dance's Unearth digs into questions of the mind, body and spirit

I am taking a meditation course, and one of my assignments has been to approach things with a "beginner's mind." As a result, I tried something new at Unearth, the latest faculty concert by the UW Dance Department. I didn't peruse the program before the production. I wanted to have fewer preconceived notions about which choreographer's work I was seeing and which dancers would appear in each piece. >More
 Theatre LILA's No Child... examines public education's challenges

Theatre LILA, one of Madison's newest theater troupes, received a hearty Wisconsin welcome for its production of No Child... (through Jan. 11 at Overture Center's Promenade Hall). No Story Left Behind, a free program of short plays from the community, is also being staged at Overture Center on Jan. 11. >More
 Madison Ballet's The Nutcracker fills Overture Hall with magical characters, vibrant costumes, and gorgeous music and dancing

It might have been cold and gray outside, but the Madison Ballet production of The Nutcracker (through Dec. 24) made Overture Hall colorful and inviting on Saturday afternoon. The Madison Symphony Orchestra, conducted by John DeMain, sounded even better than last year. >More
 In Digging, Kate Corby & Dancers explore meditation through movement with UW Dance

UW dance professor Kate Corby presented Digging, an evening of contemporary works at Lathrop Hall's Margaret H'Doubler Performance Space (through Nov. 23). Her Chicago-based company, Kate Corby & Dancers, appeared with students and faculty from the UW Dance Department. >More
 Kanopy Dance's Lisa Thurrell and Robert Cleary channel Martha Graham's genius

"Take risks! You should feel like you can fall on your nose!" These exclamations resonate in Kanopy Dance's State Street studio as director Lisa Thurrell leads a class on Graham technique for high school and middle school dancers. A highly influential "movement vocabulary" that modern dancer Martha Graham started developing in the 1920s, the technique engages both the brain and the body. >More
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