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Release: Immediate

Johnson County Landmark, UI dancers will repeat Ellington's 'Nutcracker' Dec. 5

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- It's back by popular demand--and this is no marketing come-on-- because the event is free.

The University of Iowa Johnson County Landmark jazz band and dancers from the UI dance department will reprise their recent performance of Duke Ellington's "Nutcracker" Suite at 3 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5 in Clapp Recital Hall on the UI campus.

The original performance Nov. 23 was played before a standing-room-only crowd, and more than 200 people were turned away. The event was rescheduled at the request of the dancers for the benefit of the jazz and dance fans who had to miss the first performance. Audience members for the Dec. 5 performance are urged to come early in order to find seats.

As at the first performance, Johnson County Landmark (JCL), the UI School of Music's repertory ensemble for the performance of original compositions by jazz masters, will be directed by John Rapson, head of the UI jazz studies program. A corps of 33 graduate and undergraduate dance students will perform choreography by Sabrina Madison-Cannon, a graduate student in the UI dance department.

For the performance JCL sits across the back of the Clapp Hall stage and the dancers perform in front of the players. Costumes, provided by the dance department, have been coordinated by Stacey Gray and Madison-Cannon. Technical advisor for the performance is Chuck Ping of the Liberal Arts Production Unit.

Created in 1962, Ellington's version of the Tchaikovsky "Nutcracker" Suite was his first complete record album devoted to arrangements of another composer's music. Ellington's Suite has nine movements, based on popular pieces from Tchaikovsky's score. Re-named with jazzy titles, they include "Toot Toot Tootie Toot" (originally "Dance of the Reed Pipes"), "Sugar Rum Cherry" ("Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy") and "Danse of the Floreadores" ("Waltz of the Flowers").

Of the nine movements in the Suite, eight will be performed by the dancers, who will enter at the end of the Overture. There will be no story line running through this "Nutcracker," although there will be a Guide--danced by undergraduate Sinead Gildea--who leads from one dance to the next and has the featured solo in "Sugar Rum Cherry." Other featured dancers will be graduate students Amelia McCarthy and Lavar Kidd in "Chinoiserie" (originally the Chinese Dance); undergraduate Julie Asmar in "Danse of the Floreadores"; and Jen Randal in "The Volga Vouty" (Russian Dance).

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. You may visit the UI School of Music web site at, or the dance department at