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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 6, 2006

Quebec's Cirque Eloize Returns To Hancher Feb. 25 With 'Rain'

Quebec's Cirque Eloize was such a hit in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium two seasons ago that the intimate "new circus" company will be back Feb. 24 and 25 with an all-new production, "Rain." The performances will be at 7:30 p.m. Friday, Feb. 24, and at 2 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 25.

The international success of Cirque Eloize has been phenomenal, but soon its work will take another huge leap in viewership: The creative team of Cirque Eloize is contributing theatrical and acrobatic design for the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Torino, Italy.

The writer and director of the entire Torino closing-ceremony spectacle is Italian "grand master of hybrid stage arts," Daniele Finzi Pasca, who just happens to have created "Rain" for Cirque Eloize.

"I come from a family of photographers," he says of his art. "My great-grandfather, my grandfather and my father were all photographers. Later, my mom took up painting. I grew up in a world where memories were made up of moments snatched from time and frozen forever. In my shows, I simply make these images move.

"When I was little, when the first summer storm came, I was allowed to go out in the garden and play in the rain and get soaked to the skin. I still love that feeling of freedom -- shoes full of water, clothes drenched, hair dripping. 'Let it rain,' we'd say. It was as if we welcomed whatever came from the sky, sun or rain, we didn't care.

"Unexpected things can come from the sky: messages, signs, promises. On our stage, not only rain will fall. Surprises will pour down as well.

"I want this show to be like a caress, simple, direct, filled with sensuality and tender hope. . . . If I had to describe this show, I would say it is full of hope, joy and a sweet longing, and that it is made of the stuff of my grandmother's stories. I dedicate it to all those who love to feel the rain pouring down on them."

American audiences have come to associate the word "cirque" with another Canadian company, Cirque du Soleil, the high-tech juggernaut of circus fantasy with permanent franchises in Las Vegas and Disney World.

But while Cirque Eloize comes from the same location, and celebrates many of the same traditional circus skills -- tumbling, acrobatics, trapeze, juggling, etc. -- it is more down-to-earth, focusing more on character and physical achievements than on costumes and high-tech theatrics -- what a Los Angeles Times review described as "intimate, low-tech charm . . . very much about humans -- very peculiar humans, but humans all the same . . . By the end you feel you know them all. People like you -- just a little more flexible."

A review in London's Evening Standard noted that the members of Cirque Eloize "are ace acrobats, but they also have a small-scale, unplugged feel, a rough-and-ready rascally good humor that is fresh and innocent and utterly beguiling."

Cirque Eloize has existed for only a dozen years, but it quickly became in-demand throughout the world. The company has presented more than 3,000 performances in more than 200 cities and more than 20 countries worldwide, entertaining audiences now totaling more than three million.

In 2003, the company was honored with Canada's prestigious Gemini Award for Best Performance.

The Cirque Eloize performances are supported by Scheels All Sports, Cantebury Inn & Suites and an anonymous family foundation through the University of Iowa Foundation, with media support from Iowa City Press-Citizen.

Tickets are $35/33/30; UI student $31.50/15; senior citizen $31.50/29.70/27; youth $24.50/23.10/21.

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: 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 www.uiowa.edu/hancher/media05.html