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DanceMKE competition debuts in Milwaukee

A unique three-week dance competition – a collaboration between Danceworks and the Marcus Center for the Performing Arts – debuts Tuesday, Aug. 2 at the Marcus Center, featuring talented dancers of all styles from all over Milwaukee.

After 2015's Tuesday night dance series featured a range of Milwaukee dance companies at the Marcus Center, John Hassig, programming director at the center, wanted to amp up the dance this year.

"We thought there was a better way to get more dancers," Hassig explained. And so they came up with the idea of putting on a competition, drawing a diverse mix of dancers from all over the city. As the submissions came flooding in, he couldn't be happier with the results.

"I knew these dancers were there," Hassig said. "It is a pretty broad spectrum of performance (styles)."

Hassig said you can expect a variety of styles, including hip-hop, classical, modern, ethnic, tap, tribal and more.

One of the perhaps more unexpected styles is belly dancing. Super Beth, director of Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance company, is excited to show the troupe's tribal-fusion belly dancing, which combines belly dancing and a different style like jazz, hip-hop or contemporary dance.

An expert panel of judges, and audience members, will pick the competition's finalists.

In advance of the kick-off, OnMilwaukee talked to one of the participating dancers, Elisabeth Roskopf:

OnMilwaukee: How long has dance been a part of your life?

Elisabeth Roskopf: I've been dancing since I was, oh gosh, was it 6 years old? I just always loved dance and the arts. I started professionally dancing right after college. So 2013, I interned and perform at Danceworks Performance company. And then I was invited to perform with Catey Ott Dance Collective. So, this is my third season dancing with this company. I've also been performing with Lake Arts project with Milwaukee Ballet school and their second company. And then I also perform and choreograph solo works for Milwaukee Follies.

What can we expect from you at this competition?

My piece is about actually a very personal family issue I'm going through. This movement is based off of this. It is basically just me having righteous anger. Everything is so raw. I wanted to be honest and express how I feel. This is honestly the most real piece I've made and performed.

What are you most excited about being a part of this competition?

I think mostly my experience just performing my piece. But also, getting my name and work out there. I'm just excited for a new experience.

DanceMKE schedule:

Week 1

  • SueMo Dance Company
  • Ballet Folklorico Nacional of Milwaukee
  • Joshua Yang
  • Tamarind Tribal Belly Dance
  • Young Dance Academy
  • Thomas
  • Brookfield Center for the Arts Youth Co.

Week 2

  • Salsabrositas
  • CLIC Collective
  • All The Above Dance Company
  • Monsterz Ink Dance Company
  • Vertical Essence Dance Company
  • Esmy Guerrero and Neimyiah Whittley
  • Stadius

Week 3

  • Revamped Dance Company
  • Dance Academy of Mexico
  • Oliva Oskarsson
  • CJ & Cheri
  • Elisabeth Roskopf
  • Anna Erdman & Josa Comstock

Week 4

  • Finalists from each week

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