Dancing brings unique element to the Baroque Double Bill

By Kelly Schlicht, Development Manager

The Florentine Opera’s production of John Blow’s Venus and Adonis and Henry Purcell’s Dido and Aeneas will be a veritable feast for the senses, engaging audiences in not only the sounds, but the sights of these Baroque operas.

Veteran dancer and choreographer Dani Kuepper from Danceworks will bring her visually stunning movements to the stage.

Kuepper first collaborated with the Florentine the last time it produced this Baroque Double Bill, back in 2011. She’s looking forward to working with the Florentine again.

Kuepper says she seeks to blend the traditional with the modern.

“There is a lot of Baroque court dance. We’re not recreating it exactly but we are using the form to meld it with contemporary dance. There are references to baroque court dance in the chorus,” she said. “When I’m dancing, I’m pushing it away from the traditional style, taking tiny pieces of it and embellishing it.”
While her dance solos are more elaborate than the dances the chorus will be performing, Kuepper said her experience rehearsing with singers who don’t traditionally work with choreography was eye-opening.

“What really struck me when I rehearsed with them before was how physical the act of singing is. I remember when Dido is falling to her knees, and it’s so very physical but the vocal quality is also such a physically virtuosic act. The intensity of the breath coming in and out of the body and the reverberations,” said Kuepper.

Kuepper has experience working with the Milwaukee Opera Theatre and local community theater groups. And while she’s appeared in the Baroque Double Bill before, she said she has found new ways to add unique elements to the choreography this year.

“I can watch the video from the last time and I can see how to change the mood, make it lighter or more delightful. I don’t have to be so serious. My goal in my own performance is to celebrate the lightness of it and celebrate the beautiful spills of sounds intrinsic to the baroque music. I think that the chorus can have a little bit more fun too with their movement when they’re not singing,” she said.

Kuepper said there is one other element that will intrigue audiences about this year’s production of the Baroque Double Bill.

“I’m really excited to hear about authentic instrumentation. That’s different from last time and I think it’s really compelling,” she said.

To hear the authentic Baroque instruments—including harpsichord and theorbo—and see Kuepper and the stellar cast of Venus and Adonis and Dido and Aeneas, call the Florentine Opera Box Office at 414-291-5700 ext 224. Seats are going fast for our three performances: Friday, January 26 and Saturday, January 27 at 7:30 pm and Sunday, January 28 at 2:30 pm.

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