CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Release: Feb. 8, 2001
Aeros combines world-class gymnasts from Romania with playful American
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Aeros -- a collaboration of the medal-winning Romanian
Gymnastics Federation; playful American choreographer/directors Moses Pendleton,
David Parsons and Daniel Ezralow; and "Stomp" creators Luke Cresswell
and Steve McNicholas -- will be presented by the University of Iowa Hancher
Auditorium at 8 p.m. Tuesday, Feb. 27.
Not exactly gymnastics and not exactly dance, Aeros is a new form of entertainment
that builds on the strength, equilibrium and technical skill of 20 of the
worlds finest athletes -- sort of a theatrical interpretation of the
beauty and expertise of gymnastics that bends and blends the line between
art and sport.
The production features music by Torontos Two Tall Guys Music Lab,
who created the music for USA Networks "La Femme Nikita,"
the HBO cartoon series "George and Martha" and other cinema and
TV projects; and sets by Michael Curry, who created the animal costumes for
Disneys Broadway version of "The Lion King."
Calling the production an "explosive fusion of gymnastics and modern
dance," San Francisco Chronicle critic Octavio Roca wrote, "A lot
can be said about Aeros, above all that it works. . . . It is a strange combination
of sensibilities. Yet art and sports find common ground in entertainment and
-- make no mistake -- Aeros smiles through the best of both worlds.
"There is something ineffably beautiful about Aeros, and also something
very exciting. . . . Aeros captures the visceral thrill of Olympic gymnastics,
caresses it into a more intimate level and glories in the natural grace of
the human body. It doesnt hurt that these 20 Romanian gymnasts are not
only attractive but also so very likable. That is a gift. And the fact that
there are strong personalities on stage goes a long way to explain the cheers."
William Glackin wrote in the Sacramento Bee, " Beforehand, it was hard
to guess what this brilliant team of dance and theater people was going to
do with top competitors from the Romanian Gymnasts Federation. When it was
over, it was clear they had all created a show that was a remarkable combination
of both arts . . . two hours of visual fun and terrific physical achievement."
Pendleton, the legendary founder of Pilobolus Dance Theatre and Momix, explains,
"An interesting kind of concept is to take these movements and with lighting
and music, you make it look not like gymnastic display or an aerobic class,
but something that is just celebrating emotion, or creating -- through light
and sound -- the illusion of flight."
David Parsons, who has presented commissioned world premieres at Hancher
and whose signature piece, "Caught," epitomizes "the illusion
of flight," describes Aeros as "a new way of presenting gymnastics.
. . Meeting them half-way to the movement is what Im interested in.
Taking what they do (and they are very proficient at it!) and try to make
it have more of a human element."
Ezralow, who emerged from Pilobolus to found the ISO dance company, says,
"They are different worlds. And the interesting thing is: What is the
marriage of these two worlds?"
The young athletes they chose include four world champions -- all-around
gymnast Daniela Maranduca, rhythmic gymnast Elena Gioia, pommel horse specialist
Daniel Banabas and vaulter Cristian Leric.
The Romanian Gymnastics Federation is one of the oldest and most successful
sports federations in the world. The federation oversees gymnastics, rhythmic
gymnastics and sports aerobics, preparing athletes to compete at the elite
levels of international competition.
Among the many female world and Olympic medallists developed and sponsored
by the federation are Nadia Comaneci, triple Olympic Gold Medallists Daniela
Silivas and Ecaterina Szabo, and, of course, the Gold Medal-winning team in
the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
But, as Ezralow notes, very few of the athletes have had dance training,
which created challenges for both the choreographers and the performers. "Its
their first time on stage, and they had never felt what it was like being
on stage before. But they quickly adapted and they got very excited about
the whole project," he says.
For the choreographers, the project demanded a new way of communication,
and the flexibility to work with athletes with very different skills than
the dancers they are accustomed to directing. "I think the key is that
we all learn how to adapt the physical language of these bodies," Ezralow
explains, "These are phenomenal bodies that fly through space. If you
ask a dancer to do a double flip, its quite difficult. You ask these
guys, and its instant.
"These people have bodies that are so highly trained they can jump
and fly and fall out of the air, and if you asked any dancer to do that you
would be injuring them in a second. These guys are all trained with a high-impact
form of movement that is really explosive onstage. You marvel at their bodies
flying through the air. . . it allows you to express things in a very different
way. Our hope is that you have something you have never seen before."
Gary A. and LaDonna K. Wicklund are the major sponsors of the Aeros performance
in Hancher, through the University of Iowa Foundation.
Tickets for Aeros are $28, $25 and $20. UI students and senior citizens qualify
for a 20-percent discount on all tickets, and tickets for audience members
17 and younger are half price. Zone 2 and 3 tickets are available to UI students
Box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays.
From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance 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.
Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <firstname.lastname@example.org>.
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.
For UI arts information, visit this new address -- www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa
-- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <email@example.com>.
Learn more about Aeros at <http://www.aeros.org>.