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Release: Immediate

BalletMet (and local kids) perform 'Beauty and the Beast' Jan. 30-31 in Hancher Auditorium

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- BalletMet will perform its full-length fairy-tale ballet "Beauty and the Beast" -- with help from young Iowa dancers -- at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 30 and 31, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus. This lavish version of "Beauty and the Beast," which premiered in the 1996-97 season, is one of the most ambitious, and most popular, productions in BalletMet's history.

Artistic director and choreographer David Nixon says the ballet was created specifically as family entertainment, "with enough things to entertain children and enough dancing for adults. I wanted to bring back the fairy-tale element of the story -- the mystery, enchantment and magic of a fairy tale, and the powerful moral in the story."

Nixon set the well-known fairy tale to a variety of music, mostly from the French tradition. The score includes works by Bizet, Debussy, Faure, Honegger, Poulenc, Saint-Saens and Britten.

A dozen young local dancers will appear as "pillows" and "sprites" when BalletMet brings "Beauty and the Beast" to Hancher, keeping alive the auditorium's tradition of providing performance opportunities for aspiring Iowa dancers.

Michael Kohli of Dance of Iowa is the rehearsal director for the young dancers:
John Cummings, Stephanie Edmunds, Alex Lugo, Megan Naides, Molly Noesen, Katie Standish, Ali Naides, Claire Anciaux, Stephanie Krob, Christine LeVett, Christel Odgaard, and Dezi Schilling.

BalletMet is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Ohio's capital city, Columbus. The company's BalletMet Dance Academy is now one of the five largest dance training centers in the country.

The company has toured to 24 states and Canada, including its New York debut in 1991 and two residencies at the DanceAspen Festival. BalletMet made its international debut in 1989 in Cairo, Egypt, and has also been featured at the Italica Festival in Seville, Spain.

The corporate sponsor of "Beauty and the Beast" is Meacham Travel Service, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets are $28, $25 and $22. 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.

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