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Release: Immediate

Feb. 22 drawing will select young auditioners for 'Hansel and Gretel' roles

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- When the Washington Ballet performs "Hansel and Gretel" April 12 and 13 in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium, a dozen young, local dancers will be on stage, in the supporting roles of forest bunnies, skunks and rats.

The selection process for those dancers will begin with a drawing at 4 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 22, in the Old Capitol Center that will identify 50 children who will be invited to auditions in early March.

"Rather than have a huge 'cattle call' for only 12 parts, we're going to pick the names of 50 children who will be allowed to audition," explains Judith Hurtig, Hancher's marketing director. "We're sending information to the local dance studios, and we're hoping that local dance teachers will participate in the drawing."

Young dancers may sign up for the drawing at a "Hansel and Gretel" table in the Old Capitol Center beginning at 10 a.m. Feb. 22, or by calling the Hancher administrative offices at 319-335-1130 during the week of Feb. 17.

The Washington Ballet's extravagantly costumed production requires six rats, three bunnies and three skunks. The rat dancers must be 13-15 years old, must be between four-feet-nine inches and five feet in height, and must have at least four years of solid ballet training, including stage experience.

The bunnies and skunks should be ages 10-12 and between four-feet-five inches and four-feet-10 inches in height. These parts require at least three years of solid ballet training, plus stage experience.

Lynn Kote of the Washington Ballet will conduct the auditions on Friday, March 7, at the Terpsichore School of Dance at 1011 Arthur St. in Iowa City. She will teach the choreography 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday, March 8, and additional rehearsals will be directed by Diane Danhieux of the Terpsichore School of Dance on subsequent Saturdays, so all dancers who sign up for the drawing must be available on those days, as well as the days of the performances.

For additional information, call Hancher Auditorium at 319-335-1130. The auditorium office may be reached by fax at 319-335-1180.

The April 12-13 Washington Ballet performances are part of the Iowa City Press Citizen Family Dance Series, sponsored through the University of Iowa Foundation. For ticket information, call the Hancher box office at 319-335-1160, or toll-free in Iowa and western Illinois, 1-800-HANCHER.