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Release: Immediate

Tap Dogs bring industrial-strength dancing to Hancher Oct. 7-12

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Tap Dogs, the international dance-theater sensation from the Australian steel town of Newcastle, will bring their sexy, industrial-strength, heavy-metal version of tap dance to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium for eight performances, Oct. 7-12.

Performances will be at 8 p.m. Tuesday through Friday, Oct. 7-10; 5 p.m. and 9 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 11; and 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 12.

The Tap Dogs will meet the press and the public in a special "kick off" event at noon Tuesday, Oct. 7, in the Old Capitol Center in downtown Iowa City. After a demonstration, including the participation of local young people, the Tap Dogs will move across the street to Active Endeavors, a dealer for Blundstone Boots, the heavy Australian workbooks that the Tap Dogs wield in performance.

The Tap Dogs, who perform on a high-tech construction-site set, were an immediate hit when they premiered at the 1995 Sydney Theatre Festival. They caused a sensation at the Edinburgh Festival later that year, and then played to standing-room-only crowds in London's West End, where Time Out magazine called them "the hottest show on legs."

When they stormed into America, a USA Today cover story headlined "Tap Dogs unleash genre" described them as looking "untamed enough to bark." They clomped away from New York with an Obie Award and a Drama Desk Award nomination for "Best Choreography."

In Los Angeles, the LA Times' Lewis Segal wrote, "few dance experiences are as passionately connected to the here and now" and the Orange County Register's Laura Bleiberg asked, "Who says tough guys can't dance?"

Dancing in unexpected ways and places -- like on I-beams in heavy boots, to the counterpoint of sparks from power tools -- the Tap Dogs put on a relentless, high-decibel, sweaty, sexy show that the British press dubbed "testosterone tap."

"It's not top hat, tie and tails; it's torn jeans, t-shirts and workboots -- ferocious, raw, high-energy rhythms and sounds blended together for an explosive non-stop 90 minutes of sheer joy," KIRO-TV in Seattle reported, calling the show, "a marvelous inventive use of sound and rhythm that has to be experienced live."

Tap Dogs co-creator Dein Perry, a former industrial mechanic, says, "It's an energy thing, a sweat thing and a beat thing. Some of the guys in the show look after themselves quite well."

Perry already had a Olivier Award under his belt for the London revue "Hot Shoe Shuffle" when he collaborated with rock-spectacle designer/director Nigel Triffitt and composer Andrew Wilkie to create Tap Dogs. Wilkie's original score is performed live by on-stage musicians.

Tickets for Tap Dogs are $32.50, $30.50 and $27.50. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, and tickets for young people 17 and younger are half price. Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher box office.

As a Hancher Special Event, Tap Dogs is not part of any series package, but ticket buyers may purchase Tap Dogs tickets at a volume discount of up to 15 percent when ordered with tickets to five or more additional Hancher events. When purchased with two to four additional Hancher events, the discount is 10 percent.

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.

UI Men's Intercollegiate Athletics is the corporate sponsor of Tap Dogs, with additional support by KDAT-FM, through the University of Iowa Foundation.