Sunday, May 29, 2011

Ed's Journal Sentinel Obituary

From Seth Warren-Crow

I found some old video that I (inadvertently) made while David Wake and I were rehearsing Ed’s dance piece Sin City this past winter. I had forgotten to turn the camera off after one rehearsal and fortunately, this resulted in a few brief but poetic gems that I feel do a wonderful job of evoking Ed’s unique personality. I think these brief clips really encapsulate an aspect of Ed that I especially admire: his desire and ability to embrace chaos. It is also the aspect of him I encountered the most frequently as his sound designer. If I came to Ed with a soundscape I was worried he would think was far too unruly and cluttered he would just say something along the lines of ‘well sure, we just need a lot more of that’. He didn’t want a galloping horse. He wanted a dust-cloud-inducing stampede. And when the sound system was rattling nails from the walls in tech rehearsal, Ed would politely ask if we could turn it up a little. I saw this quality in him both as artist and as a department chair. In the chaos of the usual bureaucracy mixed with massive budget cuts his overall reaction always seemed to be to chuckle at the amusements around him and carry on, to weather the changes and keep looking ahead. I think these quotes below say a lot about Ed’s spirit of resilience, (yes, his charming neuroses), and his ability, when confronted by turmoil, to resist the temptation to recoil from it and instead kindly ask it to dance.

I wrote out the quotes below in case someone doesn’t want to watch the actual video. If you are feeling up to it, however, I recommend it. For me, as difficult as it is to watch, I hear his peculiar cadences and I see his unmistakable mannerisms (and that P-Town shirt, my god, did he wear that thing every day!) and I can’t help but chuckle. I also can’t help reminding myself to keep looking ahead. And for Ed, I will do my best to keep embracing everything that is thrown at me and to throw everything I’ve got back.

One thing that’s fun for me is that everything starts with a big emotional exclamation point.

Anything we can do that is epically histrionic is good.

The more we do it, the more of a nightmare the whole thing is and there is no subtlety at all.

It felt really annoying and know what I mean...screeching and like….like a knife going in the head... and that's all good…because that scene can take a lot…basically whatever you can throw at it...

-Ed Burgess

Seth Warren-Crow

Friday, May 27, 2011

From Richard Move

Dearest Everyone...

I am deeply saddened and very, very sorry for all who knew, adored and loved Ed. He was an exceptional and great person. An inspiring, devoted teacher and mentor. A brilliant artist, creative force and true friend. As some of you know, in addition to the 2 wonderful weeks I spent with him and all of you in the Fall, Ed was one of my very first teachers and had an enormous influence on me. His amazing, beautiful dancing, exceptional gifts as a teacher, passion and commitment, have had a lasting impression that will forever remain with me. And I know each and everyone of you feel the same. My heartfelt support, condolences and thoughts are with you all in this difficult time. With love and admiration, Ed will be missed and always in our hearts...

My very best to you all- Richard

Sunday, May 22, 2011

A blog post about...

From Jake N. / MFA Alum

Ed –

I’ve missed you so much the past 8 years, and looks like thats not going to end anytime soon. You always were and always will be a one-of-a-kind absolute masterpiece. An indescribably awesome artist, mentor & human. Words just cant wrap around you. Safe travels to wherever you are going, sweet incredible man. The waves of your voice and generosity will never fade.

So many condolences to his friends, colleagues & students. Kind thoughts are with you all


Thursday, May 19, 2011

The Goings on...

I thought I would mention/thank Janet Lilly and Simone Ferro who have been working non-stop at figuring out what has to be done so that Ed can rest in peace. From the first moment just after he was found at his apartment through ongoing communication with the medical examiner and the funeral home, these two have washed his dishes, folded his clothes, paid his bills, etc... engrossed in the business of taking care of Ed the way we would all like to be loved once we leave this world. A big thanks goes to these two brave souls who are doing what we wish we could... I just thought most of us should know and respect the behind the scene work.

More on how you can help soon :)

Best wishes -- luc.

From Heidi Latsky

Dear all and please forward if you would to those whose emails I do not have,

I think of Ed everyday. When I saw him a few weeks ago he showed me a hamstring exercise that I do now religiously and I am so thankful that this new exercise connects me to him every day.

He was truly a special and vital force of nature. I keep thinking of his smile, his abundant energy, his generosity and his complete and utter dedication to dance and theater and his extreme passion. He continues to be an inspiration to me.

I am so sorry for our loss and please know that I am thinking of you all at this difficult time.

With love and support,


Monday, May 16, 2011

Memorial date confirmed

February 5th 2012 - lots of time to plan ahead...

Update on the memorial...

Dance Faculty are meeting presently discussing how best to honor Ed's memory. The date is not set yet but we are thinking to do something "big" (in Ed fashion...) around Winterdances 2012... not this coming Monday as we originally planned. Stay tuned for more information :) Best, Luc.

"being there in the moment"

I am very sorry to hear of Ed's death. I danced with him in Jennifer Mullers Co. and felt that his passionate dancing and his "being there in the moment" was unique among all of us.I know he will be greatly missed. I send heart felt condolences to his friends and his family.

With sympathy and love, Angeline Wolf

Andre Tyson 8:09am May 16

Honoré de Balzac -
Death unites as well as separates it silences all paltry feeling.

H. Rider Haggard -
Truly the universe is full of ghosts, not sheeted churchyard spectres, but the inextinguishable elements of individual life, which having once been, can never die, though they blend and change, and change again for ever.

Sir Walter Scott -
Death...the last sleep No, it is the Final Awakening.

R.I.P. Ed

(reprinted from Facebook "In Loving Memory of Ed Burgess" Group:

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Jennifer Murray, Director UW-Milwaukee Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center

It is with a heavy heart that I write to all of you regarding the loss of a tremendous ally and advocate for diversity and LGBTQ inclusion, Ed Burgess. As one of our colleagues wrote, " It is a huge loss for UWM, PSOA, the Dance community, [the LGBT communities] and all who knew him...or will never get the chance to." I want to encourage folks to attend the memorial service tomorrow, Friday 5/13 at 1pm in the UWM Main Stage Theater or post on the blogspot (see the compiled information below from PSOA Dance Department student/faculty member, Interim Provost, and PSOA Dean).

From my perspective, Ed was an active and valued participant in the LGBT community and in diversity initiatives on campus. Ed was a treasured member of the UWM Chancellor's Advisory Committee on LGBT Issues from September 2006-August 2010, he volunteered to serve as Chair of the Committee from September 2007-August 2008 while a colleague was on a medical leave of absence. Additionally, during his committee tenure Ed invested time in working on initiatives such as pursuing an update to the UWM domestic partner benefits prior to UW System affording these options to all UW System employees, assisting with respectfully submitting monthly meeting minutes, and drafting various letters of recognition, advocacy for gender inclusive facilities in the campus master planning process as well as notes of gratitude for strong allies to the work of the committee. Ed served on the Search and Screen Committee for the Associate Vice Chancellor of Diversity and Climate who was hired in 2007 and in turn he had significant involvement in the Diversity Leadership Council work related to the 2008 Campus Climate Survey.

I would like to make sure that the UWM Chancellor's Advisory Committee on LGBT Issues acknowledges this incredible loss as he was instrumental in moving visible initiatives around campus climate utilizing the performing arts. Most recently he did this with bringing Richard Move to campus in Fall 2010 which was a part of his work on the PSOA year long theme of Gender & Sexuality. To this end Ed was an active instigator and collaborator with other LGBT organizations namely the Milwaukee LGBT Film & Video Festival and UWM LGBT Resource Center. We feel as if a member of our "family" has departed and left us with a legacy of advocacy, visibility and passion for life!


Jennifer Murray, Director
UW-Milwaukee Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center
Office of Student Life
2200 E. Kenwood Blvd, Union WG-89
PO Box 413
Milwaukee, WI 53201-0413
(414)229-4274 fax
UWM: LGBT Resource Center

From Catey Ott...

Jessica Louise Schultz performed a solo of mine last night at Jennifer Muller's studio...Ed's old stomping grounds. We dedicated the performance to him, and Jes danced her heart out. Before the show, we found a photo of Ed in the loft from 1980, with the Muller Company. Here is a photo of the photo. Ed is top center (of course.) Love the hair. xo

ACDFA recognition for Ed

Dear ACDFA Folks,

We lost one of our own yesterday, quite unexpectedly. Ed Burgess passed away in his sleep sometime during the night on May 11 or 12th. Ed was a great friend and supporter of ACDFA. I first met Ed in 2006 when he was beginning to work in his role as conference coordinator of the 2007 North-Central Conference at Univ. of WI, Milwaukee. I marveled at his inclusiveness, collaborative spirit, and generosity in all areas that he touched. He had a big vision and he was more than willing to put in the time on the ground to make that vision work. Shortly afterwards in 2008, he was voted onto the ACDFA Board of Directors. Just this fall he began his first term as Regional Director of the North-Central region. He was excited about the upcoming board meetings and participating for the first time as a regional director. He was looking forward to hosting another conference in 2014.

Thank you to those who have written about Ed. I'd like to share a few of your words because they capture him so well. Mary Cochran, who did her MFA work at the University of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, wrote about "the wonderful, ebullient Ed Burgess...[He} was a fantastic artist, teacher and creator. He helped many of us 'returning professionals' through grad school with love, light and, yes, quite a bit of fun. He will be greatly missed." Julie Kerr-Berry, who passed the North-Central Regional Director baton to Ed and was already working with him on her 2013 conference wrote, "He was such a fine human being and tremendous colleague. I will miss him and his generous spirit, as I am sure, will ACDFA." Heather Klopchin, this year's host of the North-Central conference who worked closely with Ed in his regional director role, wrote, "What an incredible teacher and contributor to ACDFA."

I don't think I've ever known anyone who thanked other people so consistently and with such sincerity for letting him help them. I have no doubt that he left several "families" grieving. His loss to the ACDFA family is tremendous. I miss him already.


Diane DeFries

Executive Director

American College Dance Festival Association

2275 Research Blvd., Suite 500

Rockville, MD 20850

(301) 670-2820

Ed's introduction to Emily's duet...

Ed introduces Emily's duet...

Saturday, May 14, 2011

From Isabelle Kralj & Mark Anderson

In Memoriam: Ed Burgess

We are very sad to announce that our dear friend and colleague, Ed Burgess, passed away Wednesday night, May 11. We are devastated – as are the many artists, students, fellow faculty, and friends who know and love him.

Ed, who was Chair and Professor of Dance at the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee, was a longtime friend and collaborator of Theatre Gigante (both currently, and as Milwaukee Dance Theatre), creating roles such as Creon in Antigone , The Soldier in Petrushka , and the Captain in Woyzeck . Ed wrote and performed monologues for himself (and for Isabelle), choreographed and danced in several of our shows, and served as an inspiring thinker, creator and auteur.

His last collaboration with Theatre Gigante, Isadora & Nijinsky – which he co-wrote, and performed as the legendary choreographer/dancer Vaslav Nijinsky – was presented last weekend at UWM’s Studio 508 theater.

It was a project that Ed, Mark and Isabelle truly delighted in: paying homage to the legendary Isadora Duncan and Vaslav Nijinsky. Ed, as always, was poignant, astute, and artistically brilliant, performing at the top of his game.

In his prime both artistically and as a devoted teacher, Ed has left us all too early. He will be greatly missed. But those who knew him will carry on, better for having known and worked with him. Ed was grand – an icon in his own way – bold, daring, and damn good.

Dear, dear Ed, Thank you for all you did … goodbye, inspiring friend … you will be remembered and loved … always.

Isabelle Kralj & Mark Anderson

Elizabeth Johnson's Blog

Photorama from the "share"

Friday, May 13, 2011

I'm heartbroken. I can hear Ed right now counting in one of the accompanists, "ba-bi-di-ga-do, ba-ba-bi-di-da"...

And! He took a pair of my warm up pants once. It was totally my fault as I left them behind in the studio one day. Low and behold a few days later there he was with them on! I loved those pants... and I adored Ed. He will be missed.

Ed was always the person who believed in my work and class....and he got my sense of humor as well. I loved his classes and the way he taught and I know he really cared about all his students. I was so sad to hear this news in the morning :(


Ed with Eiko and Koma

Matt Gillespie

Ed online...


Express Milwaukee

In loving memory group on Facebook...

Carlos Adames shares...

Muy estimado y recordado Ed.

Tube la oportunidad de acompañar tus clases y aprendi de ti que la vida se debe vivir con pasion y determinacion.

Un hombre con tal entrega por la danza, el conocimiento y la pasion por las artes que contagia a cualquiera.

Siempre estaras en el recuerdo de todos, gracias por ser un gran ser humano y artista.

Carlos Adames

Dear Ed,

I had the opportunity to accompany your lessons and learned from you that life should be lived with passion and determination.

A man with such natural talent, knowledge and passion for dance, and for the arts who inspires everyone around him.

You will always be in everyone's memory, thanks for being a great human being and artist.

Carlos Adames

Friday May 13th -- Mainstage share

from Amie

Dear Ed,

You left us too soon and you will be missed, terribly so.

Dear Ed,

What I will remember most is your endless curiosity. I will
recall the way your eyes searched the horizon, how you wondered at the
smallest gesture and lingered in conversation.

Dear Ed,

You were the mad hatter.
You were endless entertainment. You shared your soul and your joy was
contagious. You’re an artist of the first degree, an epic
storyteller, a phenomenal teacher. You broke us in, you laughed loud,
you showed us the way, you were tougher than all of us.

It’s unbearable to lose you now.

Dear Ed,

Your heart ‘s the size of Jupiter – you knew just the right amount of
water and sunlight to bestow upon us. You arrived like a cowboy
onto the scene, you knew how to fill a stage, you took a huge bite and
fed it to us. You knew, that we knew that no one could curve their
back like you do. You gave each and every moment a sense of
importance. You graced us with your wisdom. You spent every waking
moment so alive that we had to squint to look in your direction. You
were my friend, my mentor, my collaborator, you were my Nijinsky, my

You taught me discipline and freedom of expression—but you were the
master. Your favorite place was the studio. Your movement was
indulgent and sinewy, you’re a celebrity to me, you’re royalty.

You trickle through us, you sauntered to class, you brought the heat.
You had a circus behind your eyes, a melodic speech, a swagger. You
shared the dark and the light. You stopped by to see how we were
doing, you thought about us while we slept and we will do the same for

Love Amie

My Daddy...

The last time I saw Ed was a few months ago when I came back to the department on a break to visit. I walked into the dance lounge and saw him warming up for his Modern class and he saw me, smiled, and waved me over. I went up to him, gave him a big hug and asked him how everything was. He said he was great as he sat there with his container of fresh fruit and bag of nuts. I can't remember exactly what was said except there was a lot of laughing... I could never forget his laugh!!! But I do remember him telling me that he had heard what I was doing in Ohio and he said he couldn't be more proud of me and he always knew I would do great things. I think I may have tweeted it right away because I was unsure if those words would ever actually come out of his mouth again! I remember being so happy that he said he was proud of me because my whole time there I would work so hard in his class just to show him that I can do it. It wasn't until I graduated that he told me I will do much better in life if I stop dancing for my teachers and start dancing for myself. I will never ever forget him and the words he said that touched my heart. From Ohio he will be greatly missed and never EVER forgotten.

Ed will forever live in my heart <3


Michaela McElwee

Professional Dancer/Choreographer

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