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Hyperlocal MKE's Dance-and-Music

Off the Cuff with Maria Gillespie and Tim Russell

Feb. 21, 2017
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Photo via hyperlocalmke.com

Maria Gillespie and Tim Russell are the co-founders of Hyperlocal MKE, a Milwaukee-based dance and music collaboration focused on live improvisational performance. The next show, Activate/Ornate, takes place on Sunday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. at the Villa Terrace Decorative Arts Museum, 2220 N. Terrace Ave.

Explain to me, what is Hyperlocal?

TR: Put most simply, it’s dancers and musicians creating together in real time.

MG: It’s an ongoing experiment uniting different artists who each have improvisational practices. It creates an incubator for that exchange through the medium of improv, and then we bring it to different spaces in Milwaukee.

How did this idea originate?

MG: It was a simultaneous solution! We were both thinking of some kind of performance and improv collaboration. 

TR: I think we thought of it in the Shorewood Colectivo. They are paying us to say this, of course.

MG: [Laughs] We were thinking of our creative work at UWM and wanted to do something with local artists. It blossomed from there. 

TR: We wanted a low-stakes creative outlet... 

MG: ...and an ongoing, engaged conversation—something that could keep going to see how the lens would continue shifting.

So how was the name “Hyperlocal” born?

TR: [Points to Maria]

MG: Really? Did we even brainstorm? (Laughs) It came from me both embracing and problematizing where knowledge is formed and stored. A lot of the work that Tim and I do is outside of Milwaukee. We collaborate regionally and internationally, but you come home and ask, “What is home?”

TR: We also get to see who we are not engaging with.

MG: The local part is about reaching across and seeing who is next to you. Something is created and consumed in the same area, which is an important concept in sustainable practices.

Why was it necessary to bring something new to Milwaukee? What were we missing?

MG: While there are so many artists improvising, there wasn’t really something for dance. I think I was questioning “the production” with nine months of preparation. We are artists, we need to create, and when the stakes are too high, you cater to what is desired by others. It’s process vs. product. 

TR: Hyperlocal is making art for the art, to further the art.

MG: It’s about making space for other kinds of art making. Sometimes you just have to put on a show, and with our rotating roster of artists, each practice is shared by the whole.

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