The Milwaukee Ballet gave its first performance at the School of Fine Arts at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee in 1969. Over the years, the company became more independent of the university and formed its own school, but the two organizations continue to share faculty and resources. Now after 40 years, Milwaukee Ballet is returning to its roots with a new project to reunite the organizations.
The Harmony Initiative will provide a new home for the Milwaukee Ballet Company and School to rehearse and hold classes. The new building, expected to be complete within five years, will share a state-of-the-art performance space with UWM’s Peck School of the Arts. And a third organization, the Medical College of Wisconsin, will develop a full sports medicine clinic for the ballet, the university and the public.
“This is a model that I hope other communities and schools will look to in the future,” says Wade Hobgood, dean of dance at UWM. “Your partner may not be what you immediately think of as the most natural for a dance school—it might be a medical school, an engineering school or a business school—but unusual collaborations may be the best way to reach your respective goals. Right now, we’re a three-legged stool; we’re all equal partners trying to accomplish similar goals and serve dancers.” Info: www.milwaukeeballet.org
Photo: Students at Milwaukee Ballet’s summer intensive (by Petr Zahradnicek, courtesy of Milwaukee Ballet)