CONTACT: WINSTON BARCLAY
100 Old Public Library
Iowa City IA 52242
(319) 384-0073; fax (319) 384-0024
UI Dancers in Company prepares for spring Iowa tour with home concerts
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Dancers in Company, the University of Iowa dance
department's touring ensemble company, will prepare -- artistically and
financially -- for its spring tour of Iowa and Wisconsin with home concerts
at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, March 6 and 7, in the Space/Place Theatre
of UI North Hall. Under the artistic direction of faculty members Linda
Crist and Armando Duarte, the dozen-member student ensemble will perform
a program that includes both ballet and various styles of contemporary
The company's March-April tour is now scheduled to include a visit to
Hudson, Wis., in addition to Iowa events in Iowa City, Burlington, Storm
Lake, Cedar Rapids, Sioux City, Council Bluffs and Estherville.
Featured in this season's repertory are:
-- "A Taste of an Orange," a modern duet by Duarte, who performed
and choreographed in his native Brazil before coming to the United States;
-- faculty member David Berkey's contemporary "Along Came a Spider,"
which was performed in the UI Dance Company's November Dance Gala in Hancher
Auditorium and was a UI entry in the 1998 competition of the American College
Dance Festival Association;
-- graduate student Kirsten Kaschock's "Hunting Primes," a
percussive group piece inspired by the mathematics of prime numbers;
-- "Whatever," a playful duet choreographed to Turtle Island
String Quartet music by Singapore native Kuan Hui Chew, a UI dance major
who was trained at the Beijing Dance Academy in China;
--"All at Once Well Met," a ballet set to English madrigals
by Penny Askew, artistic director of the Western Oklahoma Ballet and winner
of the "Choreography Connection," awarded to the outstanding
choreographer at the Regional Dance America National Festival;
-- "Number 1, 2 or 3," developed by Crist and her quartet
of dancers as a ballet/theater parody of "The Dating Game" TV
-- "Spirituals" by Cecil Slaughter, a dance department graduate
student who danced for 14 years with the Dayton Contemporary Dance Company
(DCDC), where he received a Dayton Arts District Fellowship for choreography,
twice had works selected for the Ohio Emerging Choreographers Showcase,
and choreographed a collaboration between the Grammy Award-winning vocal
group Sweet Honey in the Rock and DCDC;
-- "Return to Retro," a good-time jazz send-up of the late
'60s and early '70s created for the 1997 Dance Gala by graduate student
Sabrina Madison-Cannon, who began her dance training in the UI Talented
and Gifted Program and, after training at the Alvin Ailey American Dance
Center, became a soloist with Philadanco, the Philadelphia Dance Company;
-- "Cascade," a modern trio set to Beethoven's "Moonlight"
Sonata by guest choreographer Jennifer Plunkett, an Auburn University student
who has participated in the UI's summer choreography workshops, has twice
won the Dance Magazine Scholarship Award to the National Craft of Choreography
Conference, and has received scholarships to choreography training at the
Lewitzky Workshops, the Joffrey Ballet School, the American Dance Festival
and the Paul Taylor II Company Workshops.
Also in the repertory, for use in the Dancers in Company educational
lecture/demonstrations, are undergraduate dance student Amy Brown's "Flies,"
a playful dance in which the performers accompany themselves with humming;
and graduate student Kaye E. Richards' "A 'Bold' Day," a solo
that explores the chore of doing laundry.
The Dancers in Company ensemble, which is selected by audition, learns
by practical experience about the rigors of performing in a professional
touring ensemble -- enduring the strains of travel, adapting to a variety
of dance facilities and audiences, and maintaining a repertory at a high
artistic standard. The ensemble's activities range from formal public concerts
to lecture/demonstrations for elementary and middle-school students.
The Dancers in Company educational activities are supported by a grant
from Target Stores through the UI Arts Share outreach program.
Admission to the Dancers in Company home concerts will be $5 ($4 for
UI students, senior citizens and children) at the door. Revenue from ticket
sales will help offset the costs of touring.
For additional information about the company, or about arranging a Dancers
in Company event, contact Diane Kenney-Handler or Babs Case in the Arts
Share office, (319) 335-1618.
Arts Share is a UI program that provides artistic expertise from the
Iowa Center for the Arts to schools, local arts councils, community arts
associations, museums, senior citizen centers and other organizations throughout
Iowa and the surrounding region. The Arts Share roster of touring artists
includes nearly 100 faculty members, ensembles and graduate students in
the performing, visual and literary arts.
During the last 20 years, the dance department has become one of the
UI's most impressive success stories. Two decades ago dance was a program
in the department of women's physical education with a two-member faculty.
A bachelor's degree in phys ed with a dance certification was the only
dance-related degree available.
Now dance is an nationally respected department offering bachelor of
arts, bachelor of fine arts, and master of fine arts degrees. The dance
department has now boomed to more than 140 undergraduate and graduate majors,
requiring a cap on enrollment.
The department's high standards in both ballet and contemporary dance
have been almost perennially affirmed by success in American College Dance
Festival Association (ACDFA) competitions, including several original dances
invited to the ACDFA national showcase in Washington, DC. The dance department's
ballet area has achieved what would once have been considered unthinkable
in the youth-obsessed culture of ballet -- regularly placing graduates
in ballet companies. And a few years ago one of the department's students
received the Dance Magazine award, recognizing him as the top student dancer
in the country.