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‘Ignite: A Hip-Hop Dance Experience’

Milwaukee dance crews on the Danceworks stage

Aug. 25, 2015
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Photo by Ernie Reyy Photography

Original homegrown hip-hop dance will fire up the Danceworks Studio Theatre, Aug. 29-30. If the third annual edition of Ignite: A Hip Hop Dance Experience meets the standards of the past two summers, it will be fantastic entertainment.

This local hip-hop showcase is the precocious child of Danceworks’ Artistic Manager Kim Johnson. “The more we expose Milwaukee audiences to this genre, the more they embrace it because it’s fun,” she says. “Danceworks is getting more requests for hip-hop performances. The United Performing Arts Fund is laying out dance floors for them.”

Ignite is part of Danceworks’ summer DanceLAB series. The artists Johnson has befriended through Ignite also have a passion, she says, for the study of other dance styles, especially ballet. “They’re used to great precision in hip-hop and they ask precise questions about the movement of other styles. Their work is a fusion of styles. That’s what hip-hop is now, at least in Milwaukee.”

Choreographer Richard Brasfield has been an anchor of the program from the start. Thirteen dancers from his fine company, Revamped, will perform a collaboratively choreographed medley by Brasfield and company members Tyara Bennett, Ayanah Harts and Clavon Savage. Savage will also introduce his own new eight-member company, PoisoneD, with a new work.

Prodigy (two members of KTS aka the Project Q Dancers) will make their Ignite debut. These talented young men hold a special place in my heart for their beautiful work with my summer theater program, Project Non-Violence. Also new this year is the intergenerational dance crew named I’m Popular, directed by Champ Thompson, and UW-Milwaukee dance department alumna Marissa Jax’s group. Jax’s “Embrace Your Shake” is a humorous dance for five women and one man, says Johnson.

The dramatic Boombox Babies are back for a third year with a new group work. In addition, two of their talented number, Gabi Sustache and Tray Roundtree, will present new solos. Demar Walker, brilliant in last year’s program, returns with a new solo.

SueMo, named for co-founders Morgan Williams and Melissa Sue Anderson, will present their all-female adult crew CupCakez at the 8 p.m. Saturday show and their youth company at Sunday’s 2:30 and 6 p.m. shows. After their hit performance in one show last summer, Take Notez Dance Crew, led by UWM dance alumna Diamond Jones, will blaze in all three shows this year.

Ignite has three performances Aug.29-30 at Danceworks Studio Theatre, 1661 N. Water St. For tickets, call 414-277-8480 ext. 6025 or visit danceworksmke.org.

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