Reviews and Endorsements

Choreography Reviews

On Expectation Station - DanceCo's first self-produced performance October 17-22, 2017

By Jim Lieberthal  - on Facebook
October 21, 2017

DanceCo's delightful EXPECTATION STATION at the Avalon Theater (1500 E. Lake Street) with the Roe Family Singers and Engineer Paul and a host of the best of TC dancers will have 2 shows tomorrow for a LAST CHANCE to see this work about the railroads! 12 PM and 2 PM. It is created with the kids in mind, by Artistic Director Matthew Keefe. Though fun and witty it yet deepens to more reverie with a touch of melancholie as the show tracks onward to present a very important part of Americana that is somewhat distant now. Showing where it was and where we are today becomes part of the quilt created by the fabric of songs, dialogue and dances wending their way through the roadmap of this unique creation. It is VERY FUN. And thoughtful! Esteemed Twin Cities Dancers who light up the stage include Rebecca SurmontJennifer Pray Brittany Fridenstine- Keefe Steven Schroeder, Benjamin Johnson, Heather Cadigan Brockman Brian Sostek who are in themselves a history of our dance city, with the participation of young dancers Haley Dibble, Mercedes Lano, Maria Vitelli and Cassandra Woodworth who keep in step with their colleagues seemlessly and with great wit~! The movements have energy, fluidity, character and specificity which keeps one continuously engaged at all points. All performers have their stoves running hot on this track! It is an hour and packs in a lot. Be there at the station to Catch this Ride before it's GONE! Enjoy!

On Wolf Tales - restaged by DanceCo for the MN Fringe Festival in August 2016

By NAT CASE | ncase@pioneerpress.com
PUBLISHED: August 5, 2016

Worth Considering: 
It’s a cute (if overworked) premise — a mashup of three classic fairy tales, with an ironically good-natured wolf as narrator. It’s a cute show and it turns out that can be a good thing. A crew of excellent dancers, ham it up (sometimes literally: the pig costumes are used to great effect). It’s a totally kid-friendly presentation with enough cleverness and humor to keep good-natured adults involved.These days, “charming” can be a code word for painfully twee, but here it fits. The performers are having a fun time, and it’s infectious.

Lucky me - great show!
by Suzanne Sharrock on August 7, 2016

I went into this w/o much background - and WHOA! So glad I did. I knew about the mashup of fairy tales, and that kids would enjoy it, but I didn't realize we'd get great fun for all the adults, the beauty of classical ballet thrown and a super-engaging show! I think it sold out that day, and now I understand why. See it if you can.

This show is a MUST-SEE!
by Kristina de Sacramento (Larsson) on August 5, 2016

This is an all-around amazing show, from the imaginative story line to the incorporation of delightful choreography interpreted with great dance, comedic, and theatrical skill! The multi-talented cast brings the gift of their production to life with generosity, humor, and panache. DON'T MISS THIS SHOW!

 

On Rite of Spring - Created in collaboration with Alonzo Russell and the Fatally Unique Hip Hop Company. Part of the Rockford Dance Company's BOLD MOVES program.

Lauren Warnecke - Art Intercepts, April 2013

"Can Ballet and Hip Hop really share a stage?

In this case, I was pleasantly surprised.  Most of the time, I couldn’t tell where the ballet stopped and the Hip Hop began.  I couldn’t distinguish which sections were choreographed by Keefe and which were by Russell.  I expected Hip Hop and Stravinsky to be mortal enemies, and that just wasn’t the case.

Matthew Keefe pretty much begged me to come out and see what they are up to at the Rockford Dance Company, and, I have to say, I wasn’t disappointed.  Even though it’s a student company, in the middle of a corn field, performing new interpretations of classical standards, Bold Moves made me think.

Quite honestly, I wasn’t anticipating that."

 

On Appalachian Spring - performed in collaboration with the Mendelssohn Performing Arts Center chamber orchestra

Thomas R. Carlson - an unsolicited editorial written in the Rockford Register Star, March 20, 2013

"On Friday, the Mendelssohn Chamber Orchestra presented “Aaron Copland’s America.”  “Appalachian Spring,” for the distinctly American composer, was beautifully performed by the Mendelssohn and danced by the Rockford Dance Company.  The dance company has recently flourished with a brilliant new palette from Artistic Director Matthew Keefe.  But the venue itself, the United Methodist Church in the heart of downtown, seemed as important as the musicians and dancers.  As I looked around and beheld a wonder of the architectural art of the 1800s it was as if the pioneers of Rockford were participating in the performance as well.

It struck me. If we want to save this city, we must start over at the beginning.

With Copland’s genuine American music performed movingly by the orchestra, the marvelously costumed dancers appeared as pioneers of the 1800s and portrayed the hard working, industrious people that built this city.  The image of a community for the people who are doing the heavy lifting was moving."

 

On Fantasy for Violin, Piano and Ballet

American Repertory Ballet - Branchburg, NJ

Nicole Cerruti, DIY Dancer - October 24, 2011

“A confident display of classical lines and technically challenging musical interpretations was soon juxtaposed with cute and quirky gestures. Keefe’s choreography got more witty and daring as it went on with unexpected comical references. The dancers executed both the more and less classical movement with a charm that made the piece thoroughly enjoyable”

Robert Johnson, NJ Star Ledger - October 25, 2011

“...Keefe’s designs are lovely, as when the lines part allowing dancers standing behind them to emerge creating new figures”

 

On Danses Concertantes

Ballet Quad Cities performing with  the Quad Cities Symphony - Davenport, IA

Ruby Nancy, Quad City Times - March 5, 2007

“Matthew Keefe, the ballet’s Artistic Director, choreographed the Stravinsky ballet, and his work also was completely in tune with the composer’s creation.  The seven dancers alternated sharp, near-geometric motion with lush, wonderfully realized flights of delightful fantasy - perfectly the changing moods so clearly defined in the music.”

 

On Ballet Rocks

Ballet Quad Cities performing with the Metrolites - Davenport, IA

Ruby Nancy, Quad City Times - October 7, 2006

“A masterful mix of comic interpretation and sheer sexy attitude…”

 

On the Studio 2A Project

At the premiere of the Studio 2A Project, founded and curated by Matthew Keefe

Lightsey Darst, mnartists.org - May 17, 2004

“Matthew Keefe has a brilliant idea, take ballet, that dance of rarified bodies and elite spectators and set it in the most democratic space, the floor level round.”

 

On Facet

At the Ballet Builders Showcase - New York, NY

Robert Johnson, NJ Star Ledger - February 24, 2003

“Facet” a duet choreographed by Matthew Keefe is considerably more subtle. It’s crisp and angular lines conceal a mini-drama of attraction, conflict and surrender…”

 

Endorsements

Christine Chen

Executive Director, American Repertory Ballet March 2010-Feb 2014

Director of Adult Programs, 92nd Street Y Feb 2014-present

During a time of great transition, Matthew Keefe was an integral part of American Repertory Ballet's leadership team. As production manager, he orchestrated many moving parts and helped bring several new productions to fruition at major venues.  As resident choreographer and ballet master, he commanded respect and elicited nuanced performances from the dancers.  His ability to move fluidly between artistic, production and administrative roles makes him an asset to any cultural organization. He brings positivity, intelligence, excellent organizational skills, persistence and an amazing ability to improvise to any role he fills. 

 

Ann Pattan

Development Manager at Ballet Hispanico of New York

I worked for several years with Matthew while he served on the Board of Trustees at Dance/USA. Matthew's responsiveness and insight into Board matters was essential to achieving success of strategic objectives. I always appreciated Matthew's thoughtful comments and sense of humor. He always followed through on the commitments he made and was a pleasure to work with. I look forward to continued association with Matthew.

 

Gary P. Peterson

Performing Arts and Non-Profit Executive/Consultant

I have known Matthew for over 10 years. He engages people with humor and humanity as much as anyone I have met. He is a diligent and exacting dance artist who teaches with enthusiasm, choreographs with heart, and dances with personality.

 

Judith McDowell

Principal Consultant at Combs & McDowell

Matthew joined the Development staff at George Street Playhouse for the 2008 Season, immediately filled an important role and was always one step ahead with his creativity and can do attitude. He easily made friends (an important trait in fund raising), worked extremely well as a team leader, was highly responsible, has good common sense, and is totally dedicated to the arts. If only I could clone him!