Thursday through Sunday, UWM’s Dance Department presents its annual Winterdances concert at the Kenilworth East building on Milwaukee's east side. These performances are often topical, reflecting the interests and concerns of both the dance faculty and their students.
This year, Southern California-based hip-hop choreographer d. Sabela Grimes, who is on the dance faculty as USC, has been working with students on a new piece called Bubbling Utterances. It's a meditation on Sherman Park, in part because it's one of the places in Milwaukee where black and white co-exist.
Grimes notes the neighborhood's shifting boundaries is why hip-hop dance is a perfect vehicle to explore it. "The ethos of hip-hop is knowledge of self," he explains. "How do I learn about myself? Who am I? Who am I unfolding into being right now?"
With its street and Black Diaspora origins, hip-hop dance allows other voices into the conversation - voices that have too often been silenced or excluded.
"There is an idea of dance that lives in the very white and western sort of point of view," says Grimes. "And there are a lot of choreographers and artists like me that are bringing other sorts of voices to the center and are committed to that."