Community Engagement Moves World Dance Alliance Assembly

CONTACT: Doreen Adamany, 608-262-2353,

MADISON – Madison, Wis., will become the world’s dance hot spot May 28-31 when the University of Wisconsin-Madison Dance Program hosts the World Dance Alliance-Americas (WDAA) General Assembly.

Individual dance artists, dance groups, educators and students from more than 15 countries and throughout the United States will gather. Participants are expected from Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, England, France, Germany, Hungary, India, Kenya, Latvia, Taiwan, Thailand, Trinidad, Venezuela and the West Indies.

But this is a conference with a public kick. Traditional conference activities such as paper presentations and lectures will take place for the attendees, but organizers want the community to participate to explore the question: What moves us? To make sure that happens, an abundance of classes, demonstrations and performances are open to the public, including classes in Israeli folk dance, Sufi dance rituals, musical theater and dance, and hip hop. Samba-curious? Classes will be held on the UW-Madison Memorial Union Terrace, 800 Langdon St., for three consecutive nights, so people can give African (May 28) , samba (May 29) or salsa (May 30) a try.

That Madison is hosting the assembly is a coup for the university’s dance program and testament to its reputation in the international dance community. In 2005, the WDAA Assembly was held in Mexico City; Salvador, Bahai, Brazil, hosted in 2007. WDAA is a regional component of the global World Dance Alliance.

Jin-Wen Yu, Dance Program chair explains, “It’s unheard of for an event of such international magnitude to be hosted in Madison or any location in the United States other than a major metropolitan area like New York. Our local community will have a truly unique chance to access performances by artists from around the world. And we’re excited to present local artists’ work alongside those by artists from elsewhere.”

Nearly all of the public events are free and will take place on the UW-Madison campus. Tickets are required for the opening-night concert Thursday, May 28, at the Capitol Theater in the Overture Center, 201 State St. That concert features four local dance companies performing side-by-side for the first time: Jazzworks, Jin-Wen Yu Dance, Kanopy Dance and Li Chiao-Ping Dance. Also on the opening-night program is the Bird & Water Dance Ensemble. This group from Taiwan is made up of dancers who are physically disabled or visually impaired. Tickets are $10, available through the Overture Center Box Office, 608-258-4141.

Public classes, demonstrations and five additional free concerts featuring artists from around the world (for example India, Kenya, Thailand and Venezuela) and closer to home (Whitewater and Greendale, Wis.) will be held in the Margaret H’Doubler Performance Space in Lathrop Hall, 1050 University Ave.

Yu is adamant that bringing outside artists to Madison is not the only goal of the assembly. “We’re delighted to bring groups like Bird & Water Dance Ensemble to Madison,” he says. “But, for me, the truly historic event will be the concert in which four Madison dance companies dance alongside one another on the same stage. It represents such an important moment for the local dance and arts community.”

More information on the assembly and a complete schedule of events are available at