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Release: Oct. 18, 2002

UI DANCE COMPANY’S DANCE GALA 2002 RIDES A ‘CRESCENDO’

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The University of Iowa Dance Company will present “Crescendo: Dance Gala 2002,” the UI Dance Department’s major production of the season, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 8 and 9, in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus.

The performances will be dedicated to the memory of Larry Eckholt, who was the Dance Department’s first fund-raiser and in recent years was a tireless volunteer supporter and advocate of the department until his death in January. Emeritus dance faculty member Alicia Brown, former chair of the Dance Department, commented, “He was a friend first, and an entrepreneur second.”

“Crescendo” will feature new choreography by dance faculty members Charlotte Adams, David Berkey, Jeffery Bullock, Armando Duarte and Basil Thompson.

The crescendo -- a process of growing intensity -- is an expressive marking well-known by audiences of the performing arts. The UI Dance Department chose the title “Crescendo” to reflect the growth of Dance Gala over the years from a modest production in a small space to a large-scale production on one of the nation’s major dance stages.

But “Crescendo” is also a fitting image for the growing intensity of creation, design, technical work and rehearsal that climaxes in each season’s Dance Gala production -- all accomplished in a little more than two months each fall.

The “Crescendo” concept will carry forward from the rehearsal studios, and the costume and scene shops, into the Dance Gala performances in Hancher. The choreographers have collaborated to create transitions between the pieces, embodying the continuity that is one of the components of the crescendo.

The production will open with the premiere of Berkey’s “Re-Entry,” set to music of Thomas Newman, Andrea Morricone, Debussy, Rimsky-Korsakov and John Stafford Smith. Berkey’s contemporary quintet will use entrances and exits of a steel structure designed by Margaret Wenk to explore ideas of how liberty and identity find renewal. Berkey has just experienced a re-entry of his own, returning to the UI from a two-week residency at the Beijing Dance Academy in China, where he set his signature work, “Sentinel” (which was premiered in an earlier Dance Gala) on the academy’s company.

Thompson’s new ballet, “Trois Geometries,” uses the atmospheric “Trois Gymnopedie” by French composer Erik Satie, performed by pianist Lyle Juracek. Thompson, former artistic director of the Milwaukee Ballet, drew inspiration for this trio from Sir Frederick Ashton’s “Monotones.”

Bullock’s project is a departure from the intense, issue-oriented, narrative dance/theater works he has created for the last two Dance Gala productions. “Encounter,” his work for an ensemble of 13 student dancers, uses a hybrid of contemporary movement styles to “open up the performance space.” The choreography responds to a soundscape of re-mixed music -- including excerpts from the soundtrack of “Alien” -- in his second collaboration with sound designer/composer Rod Mickle.

The road to self-acceptance is the theme of Adams’ premiere, “The Mountains of Kansas,” featuring music including Sarah Vaughan’s recording of “Over the Rainbow.” Soon after the Dance Gala, a concert of Adams’ work will be presented in New York: she has been selected for the second time to be featured at Joyce SoHo.

The one work of the Dance Gala program that is not a premiere is Duarte’s “Baque,” which he created for “Ten,” the summer debut of Duarte Dance Works at the UI. Originally choreographed for 10 dancers, including guests artists Dominic Walsh, principal of Houston Ballet and UI alumna Alessandra Herszkowicz, “Baque,” which features a variety of music from Brazil, Duarte’s homeland, has been restaged for an ensemble of 14 female dancers.

“Although I kept the same choreographic structure, I changed the overall spatial orientation of the piece and explored new movement possibilities with the dancers,” Duarte explains. “There is more depth and a lot of exploration of partnering among the dancers.”

The artistic team for “Crescendo” also includes lighting designer Laurel Shoemaker and sound designer Gary Holmquist,

Tickets for “Crescendo: Dance Gala 2002” are $20 and $18 ($12 and $10 for UI students, $10 and $9 for senior citizens and youth). $40 Patron Tickets are available to audience members who wish to provide additional, much needed support for the UI Dance Department.

Hancher Auditorium box office business 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. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial (319) 335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher’s website: <http://www.uiowa.edu/hancher >.

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: <hancherboxoffice@uiowa.edu>.

The Dance Department is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

For UI arts information, visit www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact deborah-thumma@uiowa.edu.