CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater performs in Hancher April 2
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater, approaching
its 40th anniversary at the forefront of modern dance, will perform at
8 p.m. Wednesday, April 2, in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium.
The performance is part of Hancher's 1996-97 American Visions series.
The company will perform "The Winter in Lisbon" by Billy Wilson,
"Polish Pieces" by Dutch choreographer Hans van Manen, "Treading"
by Elisa Monte and "Suite Otis" by George Faison.
"The Winter in Lisbon," a large company work, celebrates the
musical spirit of jazz trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie. Janice Berman of Newsday
called the piece "a surefire, sizzling romp . . . about dancing and
romancing, '50s style."
The company premiered its production of "Polish Pieces" just
last fall, on an extensive international tour. Anna Kisselgoff of the New
York Times described the Ailey production, set to music by Gorecki, as
"charged with electricity from the start," and Clive Barnes of
the New York Post wrote that van Manen "has created a wonderfully
attractive and brilliant structure of dance."
"Treading," which Monte created in 1981 to excerpts from Steve
Reich's "Music for 18 Musicians," is a one-of-a-kind sensual
sculpture. Calling the piece "a sensational duet," Christine
Temin of the Boston Globe described how "the two dancers seem to saturate
the space, oozing and stretching into every corner of the stage."
Revived this season, "Suite Otis" expresses the moods of Otis
Redding's popular songs. "A classic with an unquenchable youthful
spirit," in the estimation of the New York Times' Jennifer Dunning,
this 1971 work is "full of a goofy good humor and a theatricality
that are now, regrettably, a thing of the past in modern dance."
Now nearly 40 years old, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre is recognized
as one of America's cultural treasures, an institution that enshrines the
contributions of an American artistic genius and extends his legacy through
the leadership of his most honored dancer, Judith Jamison.
Alvin Ailey was one of the most important African-American pioneers
in the nation's dance history -- a recipient of the Kennedy Center Honors,
which recognized his lifetime contribution to American culture -- but his
vision was not restricted by any narrow racial, ethnic or cultural categories.
Ailey created nearly 80 dances, embodying his intense, passionate and
style, but he conceived of his company as much more than a repository
for his own work. His company has always drawn from the richness of modern
dance, in athletic and emotionally charged performances that speak to the
universality of the human spirit. The Ailey company has performed more
than 150 works, representing the creativity of more than 50 choreographers.
As it approaches its fifth decade, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater
has performed for live audiences totaling more than 18 million, in nearly
70 countries, and the company has been seen by millions more through numerous
The survival of a dance company is often threatened by the passing of
its founder and creative leader, but Judith Jamison, who was one of a handful
of widely known modern-dance stars during her long tenure as Ailey's leading
female dancer, has carried Ailey's vision forward in the years since his
"The company's dancing continues to be spectacular," Dance
Magazine reported. "A steady stream of talent fills the ranks, and
even newcomers look like men and women of the world -- strong in body and
soul, rich in experience, open to big feelings."
Tickets for the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater are $32 and $30.
UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with
Zone 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for those 17 and
younger are half price.
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. Fax to (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 is available on Hancher's World
Wide Web homepage, at <http://www.uiowa.edu:80/~hancher/>. Information
is also available at the company's web site, <www.alvinailey.org>.
UI Men's Intercollegiate Athletics is the sponsor of the American Visions
series, through the University of Iowa Foundation. The Ailey performance
is also supported, in part, by a grant from the National Endowment for