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Dancers Say Goodbye to Milwaukee Ballet After 'Alice in Wonderland'

As Benjamin Franklin famously wrote, "Nothing is certain except death and taxes." But you could probably add a third certainty to that list: change.

The Milwaukee Ballet, which tonight opens its final show of the season, Alice in Wonderland, is undergoing some big changes. Once the curtain comes down on Alice after the Sunday performance, lead artist Marc Petrocci will retire after 13 seasons with the Ballet. And dancers Susan Gartell and Valerie Harmon will move on to other artistic adventures. They will all be missed.

"Its really bittersweet," says Gartell, who will be moving to a new company. "I'll be moving into a new environment and different challenges, more new things, but I'm excited, a little scared which comes with any transition."

Harmon, also moving to a new company, says the journey of dance continues based on what your body allows, "You really have to listen to your body, listen to yourself, and keep listening to that little voice that is telling you to push harder." She will graduate from the UW-Milwaukee, the morning of the last Alice performance.

"Our year takes on markers, you start putting markers within each year of things that are related to dance." Petrocci continued to say that those markers never leave, instead they go with you, "they get transformed  and different things take on significance as you move away." He will retire with another year of school before also graduating from UW-Milwaukee.

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