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University of Iowa News Release

April 22, 2005

'Velveteen Rabbit' Performance Culminates ODC/San Francisco Residency

The ODC/San Francisco dance company and Iowa children will perform "The Velveteen Rabbit" at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The Mother's Day event, which includes a 12:30 p.m. picnic on the Hancher Green, will conclude the first installment in Hancher's most ambitious project ever -- a four-year, four-community project called "Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure," designed primarily for Gen-X families.

ODC's dance production of the children's classic is designed so that it will be easy to follow for young children and entertaining for older children and parents. The picnic, with food provided by the Hy-Vee store on Waterfront Drive in Iowa City, is included in the ticket price.

Two days of free public events will lead up to the May 8 Hancher performance.

Friday, May 6:

3-5 p.m. -- Workshop for teen dancers with KT Nelson, co-artistic director of ODC, at the Iowa Children's Museum. Open to all teens interested in working with a professional dancer. Reservations are required. Call 625-6255, extension 201 to register.

6:30-7:30 p.m. -- Family dance at the Iowa Children's Museum with Brenda Way, the artistic director of ODC, and hosted by Arts a la Cart. An informal, interactive event for families with children of all ages.

Saturday, May 7:

10 a.m. -- Iowa Children's Museum "Velveteen Rabbit" Storytime at Hancher Tickets are required. Call the museum at 625-6255, extension 201, for free tickets. Appropriate for children ages three through eight.

10:30-11:30 a.m. -- Iowa City Public Library Movement & Dance Storytime.  Dancer Jessica Netolicky from Hancher will share creative movement and rabbit stories. Designed for all ages.

The residency will also include a special matinee event on Hancher's Stage Door series for school groups on May 9.

ODC stands for Oberlin Dance Collective, reflecting the company's origin at Oberlin College. When the company moved to San Francisco, becoming one of the West Coast's leading modern dance companies, renowned for its educational program, it retained the initials. Learn more at http://www.odcdance.org/v5/main.html.

Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure, makes integral use of an interactive website -- www.spotkids.com . The website includes entire areas specifically on events in each community -- Spencer, Perry, Marshalltown and Iowa City/Coralville.

The Hancher performance of "The Velveteen Rabbit" will incorporate young performers from each of the participating communities. The residencies in Spencer, Perry and Marshalltown precede the Iowa City/Coralville residency.

The Spot project was initiated in November 2003 when the Wallace Foundation awarded Hancher a four-year, $800,000 "Leadership and Excellence in Arts Participation" (LEAP) grant. The grant enables Hancher to enhance arts participation through the use of innovative technology and direct interaction with performing artists over the next four years.

The launch of the Spot Web site on March 1 kicked off a series of eight performing-arts residencies in each community, with each series of residencies leading to a concluding performance in Hancher.

Children can become Spot Kids by registering at the website. Spot activities and information for parents is also available on the Web page, which includes games, recipes, learning activities and a chance for kids to get their own work published online. In addition, the site features a video of two Iowa City Spot Kids leading a backstage tour of Hancher.

The Wallace Foundation grant, which is the largest programming grant in the auditorium's history, builds on Hancher's experience partnering with Pella, Decorah and Burlington in the Iowa Network Project, also made possible by Wallace funding. That $300,000 grant was the largest previous grant received by the auditorium.

The LEAP grant is being combined with resources committed by several other UI programs and offices -- Academic Technologies, University Relations, the Division of Student Services, the Graduate College and the office of the Vice President for Research.

During the course of the project, the University of Iowa Foundation is establishing a $200,000 endowment that will enable Hancher to continue its audience-development efforts with the technology and expertise developed through the project.

Tickets for the May 8 Hancher performance are $25/23/22; UI student $25/15; senior citizen $25/23/22; youth $12.50/11.50/11. Local sponsors are Douglas and Linda Paul.

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.hancher.uiowa.edu.

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: hancher-box-office@uiowa.edu.

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit http://www.uiowa.edu/artsiowa. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, ur-acr@uiowa.edu.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073, winston-barclay@uiowa.edu

PHOTOS are available at http://www.hancher.uiowa.edu/media.html