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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 28, 2005

UI Dance Gala 2005 Celebrates 25 Years In Hancher Nov. 11-12

The University of Iowa Dance Company will celebrate 25 years of productions in Hancher Auditorium with Dance Gala 2005, "25 in 2005," at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 11 and 12.

Audience members at both performances may begin their evening with an elegant dinner in Hancher Café at 6 p.m. Advance registration is required, and seating is limited to 100 diners each night.

The Dance Gala production, ranging from classical ballet to revivals to premieres and previews of brand new works, is dedicated to Professor Emeritus Alicia Brown, who was the artistic director of the Dance Gala for its first 19 productions; and the design/costume team of Margaret Wenk and Cindy Kubu, who have contributed their creativity and skill to all 25 Hancher Dance Galas. New Iowa Citians now know Brown through her successful post-retirement career as a visual artist.

The student dancers of the UI Dance Company will collaborate with a guest artists from the UI School of Music -- oboist Mark Weiger; violinist Scott Conklin; and the UI Chamber Orchestra under the direction of Enaldo Oliviera.

The 25th-aniversary Dance Gala finds the UI Dance Department at an important crossroads in is history, with a turnover of more than half of its creative faculty in the last two years. This coupled with the recent deaths of faculty fixtures David Berkey, Basil Thompson and Linda Crist, provides a dramatic perspective for the department to glory in its achievements and look to its future.

One highlight will be a reunion of alumni to perform Berkey's signature piece, "Sentinel," previewing a full-length memorial concert of Berkey's choreography next spring. Berkey was a member of the UI dance faculty for 19 years, and one of the members of the original cast, visiting professor Dan Stark, has restaged the work. He will be joined in the performances by two other members of the  original cast, Jeff Curtis and Shouze Ma.

"'Sentinel' has become David Berkey's signature piece, a dance that evokes sentiments associated with the passing of one's experience, knowledge and wisdom to a younger generation," says Alan Sener, chair of the dance department and director of Dance Gala. "David was a mentor and inspiration to hundreds of dancers, and 'Sentinel' depicts so profoundly this 'exchange of the torch' through exquisitely crafted and truly poetic movement."

The new will be amply represented, too, with works choreographed or staged by recent faculty additions Deanna Carter, Jennifer Kayle, George de la Pena and Eloy Barragan.

Carter choreographed "Bach Concerto," which will feature Weiger and Conklin as soloists with UI Chamber Orchestra. A concert-length piece by Carter will be performed in Iowa City next summer.

Kayle's quirky sense of humor will be on display in "Dissolution (or) the termination of an organized body," which combines text, movement and music by Schubert.

De la Pena, who has been a prominent TV, stage and film actor as well as a leading ballet dancer, has restaged excerpts from the wedding scene of the Glazunov's "Raymonda." The performance will feature costumes from American Ballet Theatre, designed by Santo Loquasto.

Barragan will make his UI debut by contributing two works to Dance Gala 2005 -- the trio "EN TI, EN MI," based on his solo for the 2005 International Ballet Competition in Helsinki; and "Y, sin ti no vuelo," featuring music from the Kronos Quartet and inspiration from the rain forests of Costa Rica.

Works by Sener and the other long-timers, Armando Duarte and Charlotte Adams, will also be performed.

Adams' collaboratively choreographed ensemble piece, "Amplexus," is set to music performed by Pink and Kronos.

Duarte has prepared "Blanche” (White), choreographed to music by J.S. Bach. “Blanche” is the third part of his “Trilogy of Colors,” begun in 2001 with "Noir" (Black) to music by Rachmaninoff, followed by "Rouge" (Red) to music by Ravel in 2004.

And Sener will reprise his 1996 work "Ancora Insieme," which was commissioned by Ball State University and performed at the 25th-anniversary celebration of the American College Dance Festival at the John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington, D.C.

The 25 years of Dance Galas in Hancher have seen UI dance evolve from an area of Women's Physical Education to become a independent department and now a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. And it has also become one of the most respected academic dance programs in American higher education, noted for its high standards in both ballet and modern dance -- a rarity in college dance.

For this once-tiny department to undertake the challenge of a major production in Hancher -- one of the country's foremost dance stages -- was symbolic of the ascent of UI dance. Before the leap into Hancher, the department's primary space was a basketball court in North Hall, the old university high, which the dancers often were forced to vacate so that it could be taken over by recreational basketball. (The basketball hoops are now long gone, and the Space/Place Theatre is now a fully equipped, dedicated dance venue.)

Many dances premiered in Dance Galas have been honored in the competitions of the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), including works invited to the festival's national showcase at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C. The UI Dance Department can boast an unsurpassed record of success in ACDFA competitions, and the UI has hosted regional festivals on several occasions -- and it will do so again this spring.

Other Dance Gala choreography -- including Berkey's "Sentinel" -- has been taken into the repertoires of professional dance companies in the United States and abroad. And some has been taken throughout Iowa and the Midwest as part of the repertoire of Dancers in Company, the department's company that touring through the UI Arts Share program.

Dance Gala audiences have witnessed performances by students who have gone on to top honors in ACDFA competition and professional success in top ballet and modern dance companies worldwide. A survey of U.S. ballet companies in the 1990s found that more UI graduates were on their rosters than products of any other college dance program.

And many other UI Dance Company members have been accomplished professional artists, returning to education at the end of their stage careers.

The Dance Galas have also enabled Iowa dance audiences to enjoy -- and UI students to learn from -- esteemed guest artists and choreographers including Edward Villella, David Parsons and Lar Lubovitch.

Tickets for Dance Gala 2005 are $25/22; UI student $18/15; senior citizen $20/17; youth $12/10. Patron tickets, which include a gift to the Dance Department, are $75. Dinner tickets are $20.

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. 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.uiowa.edu/artsiowa/photos.html.