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(NOTE TO EDITORS: UI dance department faculty choreographers can be reached through the dance department office, 319-335-2228. They are also reachable by e-mail. The addresses are;, and

(NOTE TO BROADCASTERS: Duarte is pronounced do-ART-ay. Sener is pronounced SAY-ner.)

UI Dance Company presents 'Special Delivery/Dance Gala '98' Nov. 13-14 in Hancher

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- What do a mysteriously magnetic missive, Belgian songwriter Jacques Brel, the mythic Gordian Knot and Brazil's soccer mania have in common? Each is a part of "Special Delivery/Dance Gala '98," this season's rendition of the UI Dance Company's annual eclectic showcase, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 13 and 14 in Hancher Auditorium.

In addition to the satirical and slapstick humor of "The Envelope," set to music of Rossini by popular contemporary choreographer David Parsons, the student dancers of "Special Delivery/Dance Gala '98" will perform works by UI dance department faculty members David Berkey, Alicia Brown, Armando Duarte and Alan Sener.

The Parsons Dance Company, one of the world's most popular contemporary dance ensembles, has performed David Parsons' comic masterpiece "The Envelope" in Hancher several times, including as guest artists of the UI Dance Company in Dance Gala '90.

What's inside is never revealed, but the envelope is obviously an object of inescapable importance to the black-clad society over which it holds sway. Passed ceremoniously with pomp and protocol, and then compulsively, the envelope proves, at last, maddeningly impossible to discard.

"The Envelope" was set on UI dancers early this fall by long-time Parsons Dance Company member Gail Gilbert.

Jacques Brel, whose "Yesterday When I Was Young" became an American hit, was France's hottest songwriter when UI Dance Company Artistic Director Alicia Brown was dancing professionally in Europe. The fact that his songs made a lasting impression on her is demonstrated in her new "Brel Songs." A solo, a duet, a quintet and a sextet reflect the rich language, images and moods of Brel songs, in vintage European recordings by the composer.

Faculty member David Berkey, artistic director of the David Berkey Dance Company, uses music from Leonard Bernstein's "Serenade" as the accompaniment for his new "Fraying the Gordian Knot," a compelling ballet for a quartet of three women and one man.

The investment of Brazil's national identity in "futbol" was recently on display again in the 1998 World Cup, where finishing second to host-country France was a traumatic blow to national pride. Sao Paulo native Armando Duarte takes his homeland's soccer obsession as his subject in "National Passion."

Duarte collaborated with dance department staff percussionist Paul Cunliffe, who created an original composition based on traditional Brazilian folk rhythms, intertwined with excerpts of Brazilian play-by-play recordings. In his choreography Duarte both draws on Brazilian traditional dances and explores the common movement elements of sport and dance.

Completing the "Special Delivery/Dance Gala '98" program are two UI faculty works that have already won national and international acclaim, Berkey's "Sentinel" and Alan Sener's "Ancora Insieme."

Since its premiere at Dance Gala '90, Berkey's abstract male quartet, set to the Brahms Violin Concerto, has been staged by four professional companies, and it was performed most recently by Canada's Royal Winnipeg Ballet on a tour that took the company to Nova Scotia and Bermuda.

Sener created "Ancora Insieme" in 1997 for the dance department at Ball State University. The Ball State production was entered in the competition of the regional American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA) and was selected for the ACDFA's highest honor -- performance at the ACDFA national showcase at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C. Set to vivacious music by Vivaldi, this work features 16 dancers in fast-paced combinations and in vibrant full-ensemble sections.

"Special Deliver/Dance Gala '98" features set and costume design by Margaret Wenk of the UI Performing Arts Production Unit, and lighting design by emeritus theater faculty member David Thayer and Gary Holmquist, the dance department's technical director.

Tickets for "Special Delivery/Dance Gala '98" are $16 and $14 ($12 and $10 for UI students and senior citizens, and half price for audience members 17 and younger) from the Hancher box office. Audience members who wish to provide additional, much-needed support for the UI dance department may purchase $30 patron tickets, which include a tax-deductible donation through the University of Iowa Foundation.

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.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. Or visit the dance department at Additional information about David Parsons is accessible at