Wisconsin Dance Council: Presents their award ceremony and 50th anniversary celebration

CONTACT: J. Matzner, [email protected]

INVITATION AND MASTER CLASS WAIVER: wisconsindancecouncil.org/wp-uploads/2016/06/2016-invitation-3p.pdf.


The Wisconsin Dance Council (WDC), a non-profit organization devoted to dance, will recognize four of its own outstanding dance pioneers in a celebration that honors their achievements as well as celebrating the organization’s 50th Anniversary at the Middleton High School Performing Arts Center on July 10, 2016. Two leaders in the Madison dance community will be honored: Jennifer Janus Hiltbrand, owner of the Kehl School of Dance will receive the Distinction Award and Tania Tandias of Tania Tandias Flamenco & Spanish Dance will receive the Choreography/Performance Award.

In addition to the Madison-area award recipients, Tori Rogoski-Rutta of Stevens Point, founder and director of the Dance Education Center, will be awarded the Margaret H’Doubler Award and Simone Linhares Ferro, a former chair of the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Dance Department, will be honored with the Career Recognition Award.

Master classes will begin at 9:00am. Master Classes include Graham Technique with Lisa Thurrell, Co-Artistic Director of Kanopy Dance Company in Madison, Wisconsin; Contemporary Technique with teacher and choreographer Chelsey Dahm Bradley; and West African/Afro-Caribbean Technique with DeMar Walker, Associate Artistic Director of Ko-Thi Dance Company in Milwaukee, Wisconsin.

A social hour will begin at 5:00pm that includes a buffet of hors d’oeuvres and a special gift for each attendee. The award presentations begin at 6:00pm. Special dance performances by dance students from Valley Academy of the Arts in Neenah, the Kehl School of Dance in Madison, students from the Dance Education Center in Stevens Point, and students from UW Milwaukee Dance Department, along with guest appearances by professional dancers which are kept confidential to surprise the honorees, will round out the evening’s program entertainment.

The evening will begin with Senator Jon Erpenbach presenting a Legislative Citation commemorating the WDC’s 50th Anniversary and the evening will close with a special solo performance of “For Persephone Ate the Pomegranate” by Lisa Thurrell (WDC honoree for Choreography/Performance in 1999); music composed by Vicky Tzoumerka-Knoedler (WDC honoree for Distinction in 2015) in memory of the WDC’s deceased past award recipients and members.

About the Honorees

Simone Linhares Ferro (Career Recognition Award) A native of São Paulo, Brazil, Simone Ferro joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2001. She directed the Master of Fine Arts program in Dance for several years, and served as Chair of the Department of Dance at the Peck School of the Arts at UW-Milwaukee from 2011-2015. She is a strong advocate for the Milwaukee and the Midwestern dance community where she collaborates with visual artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers and scholars of different fields. Her choreographic work encompasses a wide range of thematic approaches from social issues, historical and women’s themes to the analysis of more intimate human relationships. Since 2004 she has travelled regularly to Brazil with her husband and research partner, Meredith W. Watts, to document and research the traditional Bumba-meu-boi folk festivities in the Northeastern state of Maranhão.

Jennifer Janus Hiltbrand (Distinction Award) was born into a multi-generational dancing family. At age 16, she became an instructor, followed by a competition team director. She taught dance while attending college and joined a local performing company shortly after college. In 1997, she was called by her mom, Jo Jean Kehl Janus, to direct the Kehl School of Dance when her father became ill. Currently celebrating 135 years, the school has grown under Hiltbrand’s direction to three locations with seven studio rooms and over 600 students. She brings dance to the community, with at least 15 – 20 performances a year and instructing in local school clubs.

Tori Rogoski-Rutta (Margaret H’Doubler Award) founded the Dance Education Center in Stevens Point to provide a quality dance experience rich with technique and individual development. Since then, in addition to directing the school, she has presented at the NDEO national conference, has choreographed several community productions and has been a guest speaker at schools and universities. She has been published in Dance Teacher, Dance Magazine and the Journal on Dance Education and has been commended on her work by numerous dance professionals throughout the country. Ms. Rogoski is licensed to teach in Wisconsin public schools, is an active member and former President of the Wisconsin Dance Council and an active member of the National Dance Education Organization (NDEO).

Tania Tandias (Choreography/Performance Award) has extensively studied Flamenco, Spanish Classical, and Escuela Bolera with the top Flamenco dancers in the United States today and in Spain. Besides Spanish dance, Tandias has also studied many other dance styles and has performed with the Mesoghios Greek Dance Troupe. Tandias has performed Flamenco to both public schools in the form of lecture-demonstrations and to the general public in full-length performances. She performed in local venues, festivals, schools, and in the internationally acclaimed Festival Flamenco Internacional. Tandias teaches the beauty and passion of Flamenco and Spanish dance and has choreographed and danced in pieces for Kanopy Dance Company, Oshkosh Symphony, Madison Opera, Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society, Milwaukee Ballet, and Wisconsin Chamber Orchestra’s Concerts on the Square performance of Vivo Flamenco, which was televised on Wisconsin Public Television.

Registration Information

To register for the master classes or the Award Ceremony and 50th Anniversary Celebration, please print the invitation and waiver for master classes located at the following URL: wisconsindancecouncil.org/wp-uploads/2016/06/2016-invitation-3p.pdf.

Reservations and payments will be accepted until July 5, 2016. To register online, please visit www.wisconsindancecouncil.org/wdc50

The Wisconsin Dance Council Award Ceremony and 50th Anniversary Celebration is sponsored by the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Education, Phyllis Sanfillipo, the Milwaukee Ballet, Pius XI High School, Milwaukee, the Virginia Davis School of Dance, 4Pillars4Health EcoSpace, and Any & All Media, Bob’ Copy Shop, and Justin Polka, Message Therapist.