Like most things these days, the Milwaukee Ballet’s biennial “Genesis” program will be a little different. Though described as an international choreography competition – with prizes awarded by both the audience and a panel of experts – audiences are the real winners. Each round, up-and-coming choreographers from around the world add to Milwaukee Ballet’s ever-growing vault of original dances.
“Genesis” is what first brought Aussie Timothy O’Donnell to Milwaukee in 2009. He won, which brought him back the next season. And the next. Now, O’Donnell’s the company’s resident choreographer. And he’s rebooting his winning creation, The Games We Play, for a reimagined, non-competitive “Genesis” performance titled “Re.Gen,” showing April 22-25 and April 28-May 2 at the Baumgartner Center for Dance.
The Games We Play appears alongside two pieces from 2017: The Noise of Whispers by Italian choreographer Enrico Morelli and Mariana Oliveira’s Pagliacci. “This is a great chance to revisit some of these works,” says artistic director Michael Pink. “Mariana and Enrico both left a big impression.” With practicality top of mind, each piece is recreated through a combination of video, Zoom rehearsals and dancers’ memories.
“A lot of the challenges that have been imposed in the last 12 months have actually forced a lot of creativity,” says O’Donnell. A flexible seating arrangement accommodates distancing between family groups. Just in case, the program will also be recorded and viewable on demand from the comfort of home.
The choice to o er live performances means plans can change constantly. Pink says it’s worth it. “Talk to any hairdresser, and they’ll say most of their clients are just desperate to get back to the theater.”