CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
Washington Ballet performs 'Hansel and Gretel' April 12-13 in Hancher
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- The Washington Ballet, the major ballet company from
our nation's capital, will perform its production of "Hansel and Gretel"
at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, April 12 and 13, in Hancher Auditorium on
the University of Iowa campus. The event is part of the Iowa City Press-Citizen
Family Dance Series.
The performances will feature 15 local dancers, ages nine through 14,
in the roles of bunnies, rats and skunks that Hansel and Gretel encounter
in the forest. The young dancers were rehearsed by Diane Danhieux, co-director
of Iowa City's Terpsichore School of Dance.
The Washington Ballet's "Hansel and Gretel" is danced to music
from Engelbert Humperdinck's popular 1893 opera version of the well-known
Brothers Grimm fairy tale. The production was an instant success when it
premiered in 1995 at the Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts.
The Washington Post's Alan Kriegsman described the production as "wholesome,
likable, lightweight family entertainment with no pretensions," and
the Washington Times called it "splendid visually . . . imaginative
and beautiful . . . (with) a multitude of charms."
The ballet was choreographed by Rick McCollough, gold-medal winner in
the Boston International Competition and a former dancer with the North
Carolina Dance Theater, the Harkness Ballet and the Netherlands Dance Theatre.
He has created works for the Boston Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet
and the North Carolina Dance Theater.
His ballet faithfully follows the familiar storyline: Hansel and Gretel,
the children of a poor German broom-maker, are playing and dancing instead
of doing their household chores. Their mother becomes so annoyed that she
sends them out into the forest to pick berries.
In the depths of the forest, Hansel and Gretel are captured by a wicked
witch and held prisoner in her gingerbread house. The witch intends to
cook Hansel in her oven, but the children outsmart her and succeed in pushing
her into the oven instead. At the witch's death, all the gingerbread children
who have fallen under her spell are brought back to life.
Inherently theatrical, the story provides opportunities for colorful
and fantastic costumes and sets, as well as special effects including broom
flights and an exploding oven.
Founded by American ballet pioneer Mary Day, the Washington Ballet has
been recognized for its high standards, artistic integrity and strong repertory.
The company's dancers and choreographers have won numerous international
awards, including the Excellence in Partnering award at the New York International
Ballet Competition, first prize at the Prix de Lausanne in Switzerland,
the Gold Medal at the Moscow Ballet Competition and the choreography award
at the Varna International Ballet Competition.
In more than 20 years of existence, the Washington Ballet has represented
the United States on numerous tours of the Far East, Europe, South America,
China and Russia, winning rave reviews. The South China Morning Post in
Hong Kong called the Washington Ballet "as fine an example of good
choreography and talented performers as can be found anywhere."
Founder Mary Day has won the title of "Grand Dame" in the
nation's capital, her hometown, where it was her vision to establish an
organization that would be recognized nationally for its standards of quality.
Although the Washington Ballet became a full, professional ensemble in
1976, the company's roots stretch back to the 1930s, representing a six-decade
commitment to quality ballet in Washington, D.C.
Tickets for "Hansel and Gretel" are $24, $20 and $18. UI students
and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 3 tickets
available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger
are half price.
Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays, 11 a.m.-3 p.m.
Saturday and 1-3 p.m. Sunday. From the local calling area or outside Iowa,
dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance within Iowa and western Illinois is
toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Fax to (319) 353-2284. 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.
People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services
should dial (319) 335-1158. This number will be answered by box office
personnel prepared to offer assistance with handicapped parking, wheelchair
access and seating, hearing augmentation and other services. The line is
equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.
Further information about this event is available on Hancher's World
Wide Web homepage, at <http://www.uiowa.edu:80/~hancher/>. Additional
information about the company, including a Quicktime movie clip of "Hansel
and Gretel," is available on the Washington Ballet World Wide Web
The Iowa City Press-Citizen is the corporate sponsor of Hancher's 1996-97
Family Dance Series through the University of Iowa Foundation.