University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Chair's Letter

Welcome to the Universe of Dance in its Most Dynamic and Interdisciplinary Way!

Ferro_SimoneThis is the place where you will find what you were looking for. This is the place where your artistic goals become reality. This is the place where you will find support, attention, knowledge and fulfillment. This is the place where artistry and technical sophistication coexist in every class, in every performance, in every interaction. This is the place where you will experience world-class training and vision. This is the universe of UWM Dance. Welcome!

Here you’ll find top-ranked professionals engaged in each student’s individual goals, needs and aspirations. Our faculty commitment to each student’s uniqueness is displayed in the pluralistic nature of our programs’ structures. Our BA, BFA (Contemporary or Africa and the Diaspora Tracks), and MFA degree programs, as well as the EC-A Teacher Certification, are designed to prepare our students for a multitude of careers in the field of dance. In addition, we offer three BFA Interdisciplinary Arts Degrees, (Dual Discipline, Interdisciplinary Arts & Technology, or Musical Theatre) and a Minor in Somatics.

Training UWM dance artists is a faculty that is one of the most professionally skilled and diverse in the school or any school that I have ever encountered. Prepare to be impressed! In addition to the remarkable faculty, the Terpsichorean People (our student organization, named after the Greek muse of dance), promote the activities of the Department and advocate for resources from student government. Their activities enhance the student experience by providing support for production activities, travel opportunities, and guest artist fees. In addition, student representatives sit on the Black and Gold Commission, meeting regularly with the Dean and faculty to determine the future of the Peck School of the Arts.

This year, the Department of Dance celebrates its 50th year of existence with a plethora of special events and celebrations aimed to honor the work of our faculty, students, alumni and all those who have helped to bring this department to the place where it is today.

The kickoff of this celebration will be marked by the African Dance area event a Throwdown/Bantaba as part of Welcome Week activities. In December, our undergraduate students will present their capstone works in New Dancemakers: Limitless. At the Winterdances concert in January 2014, the Department will feature three world premieres by Dance MFA Alumni: Deb Loewen, Artistic Director of local creative engine Wild Space Dance Company, New York Artist Keely Garfield and Visiting Assistant Professor Christina Briggs-Winslow, as well as a work of our Faculty Maria Gillespie. In February, Dance students will perform at the INOVA gallery in a collaboration between UWM Dance, INOVA and Wild Space Dance Company. In late May, the Department will feature MFA Alumna Rebecca Stenn, winner of the 5th Annual New Work Award, as well works by dance faculty members and alumni in Summerdances. In July 2014, our program will feature Thesis and New Works from our MFA students.

The 2013-2014 academic year brings us artists from across the United States. We are proud to welcome Taryn Koschock, from Hubbard Street Dance Chicago II, Dance icon Irene Dowd, LA-based artists Cheng-Chieh Yu, Kevin Williamson Lionel Popkin and Nguyen Nguyen, in addition to Taisha Paggett, Amaniyea Payne, Dan Schuchart, Jeanine Durning, Gabrielle Lamb and Morgan Thorson. Our students will have the opportunity to work and interact with teachers and students from all over the Midwest as we host the 2014 North-Central Region Conference of the American College Dance Festival (ACDFA). Furthermore, they will share our studios with company members from the LeeSaar Company and with staff members from the Milwaukee Ballet. The Department will once again partner with the Milwaukee Film Festival (Community Partner) this fall for the screening of a dance film. The Department’s faculty will also partner with the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, Milwaukee Opera Theatre, Danceworks Performance Company, Alverno Presents, Your Mother Dances, Milwaukee Ballet, Oni Dance, Incidents Dance, Wild Space Dance Company, as well as our company-in-residence Ko-Thi Dance Company.

From coast to coast the achievements of our alumni continue to show fingerprints of the work we develop at UWM Dance. From Pilobolus in the east to bobbevy in Portland, Oregon, our former students – now mature working professionals – are the best evidence of our commitment to living an artistic life.

Simone Ferro, Chair
Department of Dance