CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Oakland Ballet dances family classic 'The Secret Garden' March 2 at UI
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Oakland Ballet will perform "The Secret Garden,"
a new, full-length ballet adapted from the Frances Hodgson Burnett family
literary classic, at
3 p.m. Sunday, March 2, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.
The performance is part of Hancher's 1996-97 Iowa City Press Citizen Family
Choreographer Ronn Guidi, the founding artistic director of the Oakland Ballet,
chose to set this story of hope and healing to the orchestral and chamber
music of Sir Edward Elgar. The haunting and nostalgic works of Elgar evoke
England's turn-of-the-century Victorian and Edwardian eras and the lonely
Yorkshire landscape where Hodgson's 1909 novel takes place.
"The Secret Garden," which has also been the source of recent Broadway
and film adaptations, is the story of a neglected garden that returns to life
under the stewardship of two children. As the household's history of death
and emotional abandonment come to light, the garden takes on a restorative
role as it reunites the family members.
Guidi's stated hope is that parents will share with their children this story's
metaphor of the hidden garden's return to full bloom as an affirmation of
living life to the fullest.
He has written: "As a child 'The Secret Garden' held a particular fascination
for me -- the mystery that hung about Mary's parents' death, her departure
from India with its exotic gods, and her arrival at the desolate mansion of
her distant uncle in England. And there is the magic -- of belief, of nature,
of transformation -- a secret garden which held both the tragedy of death
and the miracle of life."
Dance critic Judith Green, an alumna of the UI, wrote in the San Francisco
Examiner, "All praise to Oakland Ballet for its lovely production of
'The Secret Garden.' It's a significant addition to the limited lineup of
full-length story ballets." The San Francisco Chronicle called the ballet
"both charming and moving."
Guidi founded the Oakland Ballet in 1965 as the artistic descendent of the
legendary Ballets Russes, drawing directly on the lineage of the Diaghilev
era. Now one of the West's major ballet companies, the Oakland Ballet has
gained international recognition for its meticulous constructions of the Ballets
Russes repertory, as well as the creation and presentation of innovative contemporary
The company prides itself on having ballets with strong narrative character
and direct emotional impact.
The San Francisco Chronicle described the Oakland Ballet as a combination
of "affection and respect, memory and imagination, a true link with the
past and a spectacular company at the height of its powers . . . The result
was modern ballet in all its youthful glory."
And the New York Times concluded, "The breadth of its repertory and
the dramatic flair of its dancers help makes the Oakland Ballet one of America's
most interesting companies."
Tickets for "The Secret Garden" are $24, $20 and $18. UI students
and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets
available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger
are half price.
Tickets are also available at a substantial discount as part of the Iowa
City Press Citizen Family Dance Series. The other event in the series is the
Washington Ballet production of "Hansel and Gretel" at 3 p.m. Saturday
and Sunday, April 12 and 13.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday
and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa, dial (319)
335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER.
(319) 353-2284. Orders may be charged to VISA, MasterCard or American Express.
UI students may charge their purchases to their university bills, and UI faculty
and staff may select the option of payroll deduction.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should
dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office personnel
prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair access and
seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is equipped with
TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Further information about this event and the Family Dance Series are available
on Hancher's World Wide Web homepage, at <http://www.uiowa.edu:80/~hancher/>.
The Iowa City Press Citizen is the corporate sponsor of Hancher's 1996-97
Family Dance Series through the University of Iowa Foundation.