All-girl dance studio teaches hope for Milwaukee’s future

All-girl dance studio teaches hope for Milwaukee’s future

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88Nine Radio Milwaukee
Signature Dance Company prepares for their upcoming show 'Faithworks'

Whether you’re looking to learn ballroom, tango, ballet… dance studios in Milwaukee aren’t too hard to find.

But a studio that also teaches community awareness? Now, that’s a little more unique.

Desiree Cocroft has been teaching dance for years now, and spending time with her and a room full of squirrly 8-14 year-olds at Signature Dance Company, its clear she has her hands full.

But when it comes to teaching these energetic dance classes, her and the studio’s approach has always been a little different than most. The all-girls nonprofit studio teaches dance with a bigger message: a message of hope.

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“[Our dance] is saying we have invisible chains around us… we’re trying to break them, but haven’t broken them quite yet.” -Kiera, 12

“The African-American community has gone from slavery to civil rights to the current state of the African-American community, and we teach some of those things through dance,” Cocroft explains.

And watching this practice in particular, one in preparation for their upcoming show ‘Faithworks’, its clear that these girls aren’t just performing rhythmic choreography; they’re telling a story of recollection and reality of being an African-American living in Milwaukee.

Makenzie Boettcher | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Faithworks tackles gun violence, racism and other big issues facing Milwaukee’s African-American community alongside a message of hope and faith.

“Just our media world and the things that kids are exposed to… I was talking to another dance and was like ‘Do you think  this show is too much for a third grader?’ and she was like ‘I work with kids and there was a five-year-old… that said he feared his own community. If a five-year-old  fears their own community then sure, we should be showing them a way of hope.”

Makenzie Boettcher | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

Faithworks takes place this Saturday at Alverno’s Pitman Theater.

Check out my full interview with Desiree and Signature Dance Company on their upcoming show ‘Faithworks’ below: 

Signature Dance Company’s show Faithworks premiers this Saturday, January 14, at Alverno’s Pitman Theater with doors at 6:30 pm and the show beginning at 7:00 pm.  Tickets and more information on the show can be found at faithworks.eventbrite.com.

IMG_0684Makenzie Boettcher | 88Nine Radio Milwaukee

“Our show Faithworks says just that. Having faith really works.” -Jada, 12

For class information and more on Signature Dance Company, you can visit them on Facebook or at SignatureDanceCompany.org.