CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Oct. 22, 1999
FAST FORWARD/Dance Gala 99 concludes
Browns long UI career as artistic director
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The University of Iowa Dance Companys
artistic director, Alicia Brown, has described the "FAST FORWARD/Dance
Gala 99" program as a "millennium quilt," a wild but
warm and comfy assemblage of diverse dance elements for the end of the 20th
century. But the UI Dance Companys millennium also involves a change
more consequential than a flip of the odometer. This production at 8 p.m.
Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12 and 13, in Hancher Auditorium, will be the final
Dance Gala for Brown, who is retiring after 24 years on the UI Dance Department
faculty and 20 years as artistic director, including every Dance Gala staged
Brown is modestly marking the moment by staging a
new solo, "Journey," with the help of two of her long-time UI collaborators,
scenic designer Margaret Wenk and lighting designer David Thayer, an emeritus
faculty member in the UI Department of Theatre Arts.
As she approaches her final Dance Gala, Brown says,
"It's been a joy! Looking back, it has been a wonderful experience for
me, our young dancers and, hopefully, our audiences who have watched our department
grow and prosper.
"I will miss seeing the dancers develop in their
rehearsals and in performance . . . that is a thrill that I will always remember.
I will also miss the talented choreographers of the past and present who are
at the UI as well as the many guest artists and guest choreographers who made
our lives richer. I have learned a great deal in doing this and have always
followed a vision of excellence, creative energy, enthusiasm, and going beyond
what one thinks they can do as well as believe in succeeding -- Dance Gala
has proven that."
A highlight of the Nov. 12 and 13 performances will
be videotape and print retrospectives of the 18 previous Dance Gala productions,
including complete listings of all dance works performed, choreographers and
guest artists since 1981.
In addition to works by faculty members Charlotte
Adams ("The Poetry of Physics," using music of Rossini), Dance Department
chair David Berkey ("Big Sleeves, Naked Shoulders," set to popular
songs of the 60s including "Rescue Me," "I Will Follow
Him" and the theme from the TV classic "Route 66"), Alan Sener ("Java
Mozart," set to Mozarts String Quintet in B-flat Major), and Armando
Duarte, the "FAST FORWARD" program will feature contributions by
three guest artists -- ballet choreographers Joan Buttram and Diane Coburn-Bruning,
and Chicagos Billy Siegenfeld, director of the Jump Rhythm Jazz Project.
With his Jump Rhythm Dance Project, an international
touring ensemble of dancer-singer-actors and musicians, Siegenfeld celebrates
the dancing that is created and performed to the exuberant syncopated rhythms
of jazz, the blues and Latin music. His work recently attracted the 1997 Ruth
Page Dance Achievement Award for Outstanding Choreography. A Dance Magazine
review concluded, "his Jump Rhythm makes the stage sizzle and the audience
yell for more."
Siegenfelds contribution to the Dance Gala is
"Getting to It," an ensemble work set to the music of jazz bassist
Buttram, the artistic director of the University of
Georgia Ballet Ensemble, is setting a pointe piece for five women to Leonard
Bernsteins well-known overture to "Candide." Coburn-Bruning
is a New York-based choreographer whose works have been featured by companies
in the United States and Mexico including the Boston Ballet, the Pacific Northwest
Ballet, the Pennsylvania Ballet and Ballet Hispanico. She has taught for the
New York City Ballet Education Department and the Lincoln Center Institute.
Her "Berceuse" is a pas de deux set to music of Benjamin Godard.
Another special Dance Gala guest artist will come
from within the UI. For his resetting of the duet "Prelude," which
had its premiere at the Space/Place Theatre last spring, Duarte has tapped
his fellow Brazilian Tadeu Coelho, a member of the School of Music faculty.
Coelho will provide a live flute performance of Debussys "Prelude
to The Afternoon of a Faun," using a MIDI-generated orchestral accompaniment
to make a solo performance of this large-ensemble composition possible.
Tickets for "FAST FORWARD/Dance Gala 99"
are $16 and $14 ($12 and $10 for UI students and senior citizens, and $8 and
$7 for audience members 17 and younger. Tickets are available in advance from
the Hancher Auditorium box office. Audience members who wish to provide additional,
much-needed financial support to the UI Dance Department -- and recognize
Browns contributions to dance at the UI -- should purchase a $30 patron
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
weekdays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday. 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
For UI arts news and information, and arts calendar
updates, visit the ArtsIowa website, <www.uiowa.edu/~uiowacr>.