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University of Iowa News Release


Dec. 13, 2010

UI Youth Ballet and School of Dance offer 'Winter Gifts' concert Dec. 18, 19

The University of Iowa Youth Ballet and School of Dance and will present their winter concert, "Winter Gifts," at 8 p.m. Dec. 18 and at 3 p.m. Dec. 19 in the Space Place Theater of UI North Hall.

The program will feature dancers ages 7 to 16 performing an exhibition of 10 works choreographed by Youth Ballet and School of Dance faculty, including Jason Schadt, Youth Ballet coordinator and concert director, program director Kathryn Smith, as well as well as instructors Erin Allen and Vanessa Hartman. Returning for the third semester, Mareva Minerbi has created two pieces performed en pointe. The concert also includes an original work created by guest artist Jennifer Weber, a UI Master of Fine Arts graduate who taught for the Youth Ballet and set the piece during a two-week residency in October.

"Artistry in the context of concert dance means more than the mere display of technique. I want our students to develop an understanding of what it means to give generously as performers, and bring that to the stage," said Schadt.

The theme of the concert, "Winter Gifts," stems from that notion of giving. The choreographers have each taken that idea in their own direction and the movement styles and musical selections are varied as a result.

"I'm working to draw a distinction for my students between dance as a performing art and as mere recital of steps and poses," Schadt said. "When dancers are prompted to give more of themselves, the performance gains dimension. Ballet can be about the display of classical forms, but it can also be a captivating study of how to exist attentively in the present moment. It's a worthwhile endeavor at any age."

A group of six dancers from the school’s second level, for example, perform the opening of their piece in silence and is working to move in unison despite the removal of musical cues. At each moment the dancers must attend not only to their shape, facing and location, but also take into account what the other dancers are doing in their peripheral vision.

"Once they grasped the idea, the dancers became actively engaged, and the difference is palpable. The investment makes dance compelling, even when the vocabulary is elementary,” Schadt said.

Tickets for "Winter Gifts" are $12 non-students, $6 seniors and youth. Admission for UI students is free with valid ID. Tickets are available through the Hancher Box Office by calling 319-335-1160 or 1-800-HANCHER; or online at

North Hall, which is accessible on foot from the Anne Cleary Walkway, is across the pedestrian bridge from free parking in the Hancher lot, and parking is also available right next door in the North Campus ramp at the north end of Madison Street.

Established in 1972 and housed in Halsey Hall, Youth Ballet and School of Dance is a community outreach program in the UI Department of Dance, training aspiring dancers within Iowa City and surrounding communities. The school has a full range of programs for all ages, providing appropriate and challenging classes for all ability levels across dance disciplines.

For additional information about the Youth Ballet and School of Dance, visit The Department of Dance is a unit in the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to and click the link "Join or Leave ACR News," then follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACTS: UI Youth Ballet and School of Dance, 319-335-2193,; George McCrory, University of Iowa News Services, 319-384-0012,