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Milwaukee Ballet 'Pushes the Boundaries' This Winter

Mayara Pineiro, Photo: Jessica Kaminski,

During this dark and cold time of the year, the Milwaukee Ballet traditionally heats up the Marcus Center with its Winter Series – it’s yearly a performance of three new dance works made for the ballet.

Milwaukee Ballet’s 2014 Winter Series explores “Pushing the Boundaries of Ballet” in the works of three different choreographers. The aim of the series is to challenge traditional definitions of ballet – to stretch the boundaries of both the dancers and the audience.

This year’s series gets underway tonight with new works by American Gabrielle Lamb, Italian Luca Veggetti, and Australian Tim O’Donnell. O’Donnell is also a member of the Milwaukee Ballet company.

But what does “pushing the boundaries” mean to each of them?

Timothy O’Donnell, who trained at the Australian Ballet School, is working towards breaking down the classical, operatic structure of the classically-trained dancers at the Milwaukee Ballet.

“When I’m choreographing, my movement is always quite contemporary,” says O’Donnell. “But when it comes to working primarily with classically-trained dancers who actually work mainly as classical dancers, it’s really about breaking down their classical structure.”

Luca Veggetti, from Italy, says when he is choreographing, he just does what he does. He does not think of it as pushing boundaries. He draws a comparison between dance and ballet; dance is a language that is constantly developed and is constantly redefined, ballet is a theatrical genre of dancing. Veggetti says that classical techniques have developed over time.

Gabrielle Lamb, who has worked in Prague, Finland, Canada, and America says that she is focusing on pushing the perfection of form and technique. She hopes to cover more stage space and might incorporate some explosion. However, she does plan to incorporate ideas and emotions from other forms of dance.

“So it’s about letting other influences infiltrate ballet, which has been happening as long as ballet has been in existence,” says Lamb. “It’s been infiltrated by folk dance and then by jazz dance later on, and it’s just continuing that process.”

Milwaukee Ballet’s Winter Series will be performed Thursday February 13th through Sunday February 16th. Tickets are now available.

Bonnie North
Bonnie joined WUWM in March 2006 as the Arts Producer of the locally produced weekday magazine program Lake Effect.