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A Fusion Of Classical Ballet & African Dance: 'Lambarena' Makes Its Milwaukee Debut

Lambarena is an exuberant fusion that makes its Milwaukee debut tonight. The music of Johann Sebastian Bach melds with African drumming; traditional ballet melds with traditional African dance.

Credit Mark Frohna
Marize Fumero is one dancer you will see performing in "Lambarena."

Lambarena has been wildly popular in the 24 years since its creation, with performances around the world. That's something its creator, choreographer Val Caniparoli, is thrilled about, but it's not something he could have predicted: "When you do new works, you just don’t know," he explains.

While not everyone is a fan of mixing genres, that hasn't stopped Caniparoli.

"You always have your detractors, your purists," he says. "You can't do that, either musically or dance-wise, you should not be mixing cultures ... And my thing is: dance is universal. Dance unites people. That’s how you learn each other’s culture, through dance - why not?"

Lambarena is part of a evening of dances presented by Milwaukee Ballet at Uihlein Hall, which runs April 4-7.

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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.