Innovative storytelling and sensual movements highlight third international choreographic competition
MILWAUKEE – March 31, 2009 – Timothy O’Donnell, a 23 year-old dancer with West Australian Ballet, won over the audience and the judges at Milwaukee’s own “reality” competition, Genesis: International Choreographic Competition. On Saturday, March 28, the judges named O’Donnell as the first-place winner of the competition. Votes for the Audience Favorite were tabulated this morning, declaring O’Donnell the winner in that category as well. In addition to a cash prize, he returns next season to create a full-length piece for Milwaukee Ballet. O’Donnell’s clever, athletic and abstract ballet, “The Games We Play,” put a humorous twist on a love triangle between two women and one man.
Former Milwaukee Ballet dancer Maurice Causey received the second place prize for his piece, “city of the shining jewel.” New Zealand native and freelance choreographer Cameron McMillan took home the third place prize for “Eso.”
In choosing the next international dance sensation, audience members voted for their favorite international choreographer through Milwaukee Ballet’s web site and paper votes at The Pabst Theater. The three choreographer finalists were chosen by Artistic Director Michael Pink, who watched and critiqued over 30 submissions from across the globe. This year, Pink received entries from Australia, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Netherlands, New Zealand, Russia, Spain, United States and Vietnam. The panel of esteemed judges included André Lewis, artistic director of Royal Winnipeg Ballet; Gil Boggs, artistic director of Colorado Ballet; Katherine C. Kersten, founder and artistic director of The American Ballet Competition; and John McFall, artistic director of Atlanta Ballet.
Held every other year, Genesis demonstrates Milwaukee Ballet’s continued commitment to generating new and innovative works. While ballets internationally often follow the same model, Milwaukee Ballet is one of few companies in this country hosting a truly international competition.
Upcoming Production: Common People
Further highlighting Milwaukee Ballet’s commitment to staging new work is the repeat performance of Margo Sappington’s Common People May 14-17 in the Live and Kicking series. Set to the vocal musings of William Shatner and music by Ben Folds, Sappington’s quest to create this ballet is also chronicled in “William Shatner’s Gonzo Ballet.” The documentary, featuring the 2007 debut of Common People by Milwaukee Ballet, will have its world premiere at the acclaimed Nashville Film Festival in April.
About Milwaukee Ballet
Founded in 1970, Milwaukee Ballet strives to inspire its audiences to think within and beyond traditional ballet through the presentation of quality performances and the implementation of educational opportunities. Milwaukee Ballet and Milwaukee Ballet School are recognized among the top companies in the nation. Milwaukee Ballet School is the only professional dance school in the Midwest accredited by the National Association of Schools of Dance. With an annual operating budget of more than $5 million, Milwaukee Ballet presents more than 40 performances to more than 50,000 people each year. Its resident company includes 25 professional dancers along with 18 trainees in its Nancy Einhorn Milwaukee Ballet II program and is one of the few dance companies in the country to maintain its own symphony orchestra. Milwaukee Ballet School, the official school of the Ballet, has an enrollment of nearly 900 students at three locations throughout Southeastern Wisconsin.