University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee

Photo: Craig Kroeger

Photo: Jessica Kaminski

Ed Burgess

Join us for a remembrance of Ed Burgess

Sunday, Feb 5th at Zelazo Center for the Performing Arts
10am-1:30pm. Ceremony from 11am-Noon.
Perpetuate Ed’s Passion

Join us at this celebration of Ed’s life and plan to stay for the UWM Department of Dance Winterdances: Fate/Love & Loss performance at 2pm in the Mainstage Theatre.

Please consider making a gift in support of The Ed Burgess Legacy Scholarship Fund.

Send to:
UWM Foundation/Ed Burgess Legacy Scholarship Fund
1440 East North Avenue, Milwaukee, WI 53202

Or Online at
• Click on Give Online, then Make a Gift
• Click on Gift Designation and select “Arts”
• Click on Additional Instruction and type in “Ed Burgess Legacy Scholarship Fund”

About Ed Burgess

Ed Burgess, 58, lived and worked in Milwaukee since 1989, following several years of touring with Jennifer Muller and the Works (NYC) and teaching internationally in Ireland, Norway and Taiwan. Burgess began his dance training in 1974 at the Houston Academy and then received a scholarship to attend Southern Methodist University in Dallas from 1975-1977. He joined the Connecticut Dance Theatre in 1977 in Hartford and then moved to New York City in 1979 to join Muller.

Burgess then moved to Milwaukee in the late-eighties to join the UWM Peck School of the Arts Dance Department as a faculty member, ultimately becoming a full professor and Chair of the Theater and Dance Department in 2002, and became the first chair of the independent Dance Department in 2003.

Burgess choreographed, directed or performed with Milwaukee Shakespeare, Wild Space Dance Company, Milwaukee Dance Theater, Your Mother Dances, Milwaukee Ballet, The Skylight, Renaissance Theaterworks, Milwaukee Repertory Theater, Danceworks, The Cleveland Playhouse, The Monomoy Theatre on Cape Cod, The Hartt School in Hartford, CT., and the Bay View Music Festival on the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Recent productions in Milwaukee have included Woyzeck and Antigone for Milwaukee Dance Theater, Tartuffe and the world premiere of Armadale for Milwaukee Repertory Theater. In the 2008-2009 season, he was the Movement Director for the Rep's A Christmas Carol, danced in David Parker's Nutcracked for Your Mother Dances, and co-produced (with Danceworks) an independent project, A Guy Thing, focusing on male dancers in Milwaukee. Most recently he choreographed "Sin City" for the Dance Department production of Winterdances and just last weekend played an aging Nijinsky in an original performance by Theatre Gigante, called Isadora & Nijinsky.

His interests ranged from original work in contemporary dance and performance art to theatre, cabaret, and musical theatre. Burgess was named both "Performer of the Year" (Dance) and "Choreographer of the Year" by the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, received the Wisconsin Arts Board Choreographic Fellowship Award and their Independent Project Award. For the Dance Department, he collaborated on and assisted the Department in receiving two DANCE/USA National College Choreography Initiative grants. He was also instrumental in the planning and visioning of the Harmony Initiative, the recent collaborative project with the Milwaukee Ballet, The Medical College of Wisconsin, and the Peck School. Burgess was on the board of the North Central Region of the American College Dance Festival Association, and a member of the Society of Stage Directors and Choreographers.

Performances/works in Ed's memory in the 2011-2012 season:

Tributes to Ed

Read a tribute article about Ed on Third Coast Digest.

View a You Tube video posted as an ode to Ed of his work, "Thick Skin" from 2009. The dance features UWM dance alumni Andrew Zanoni, Ben Follensbee and Dylan Baker.

Tap/JSonline - Damien Jacques' Blog

Express Milwaukee

Ed Burgess memorial blog

Memorials for Ed

A new fund has been set up to honor Ed’s dancing and teaching legacy:

The Ed Burgess Legacy Scholarship Fund has been created at the UWM Foundation to provide scholarships and awards to students enrolled in a degree program leading to a degree in Dance at the Peck School of the Arts. The first awards will be made for the 2012-2013 academic year based on funding available.

Gifts may be made three ways:

  1. Send check payable to UWM Foundation/Ed Burgess Legacy Scholarship Fund and mail to:

    UWM Foundation
    1440 East North Avenue
    Milwaukee, WI 53202
  2. Make gift online at the UWM website:

    Please click on Gift Designation and select "Arts"

    Please click on Additional Instruction and type in "Ed Burgess Legacy Scholarship Fund"
  3. Gifts may also be dropped off at the Dean’s office, Art Building A284.

For more information, please contact Diane Grace, Director of Development, 414-229-3902 or