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Release: Immediate

'Tap Dogs' brings industrial-strength tap dance back to Hancher Feb. 2-3

IOWA CITY, Iowa --"Tap Dogs," the Australian dance-theater sensation that was one of the hits of the last year's fall season at the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium, will bring its sexy, sweaty, industrial-strength, heavy-metal version of tap dance back to Hancher for performances at 8 p.m. Tuesday and Wednesday, Feb. 2 and 3.

"Tap Dogs," which is performed on a high-tech construction-site set, was an immediate hit when it was premiered at the 1995 Sydney Theatre Festival. No one had seen a tap-dancing show quite like it: part theatre, part dance, part rock concert, part party, part construction site.

The show 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" and the show captured an Olivier Award for Best Choreography.

At Spoleto, Italy, the production won the Spoleto Festival's only award, the Pegasus Award, whose previous winners include Jerome Robbins and Ingmar Bergman.

When the show 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 -- "Tap Dogs" is a relentless, high-decibel show that the British press dubbed "testosterone tap." Entertainment Today called the show an "Amazing reinvention of tap dancing for our generation!"

"It's not top hat, tie and tails; it's torn jeans, t-shirts and work boots -- 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.

"Tap Dogs" has become such an international phenomenon that productions are now touring North America, Europe, Australia and Asia simultaneously.

Clarion Hotel and Conference Center is the corporate sponsor of "Tap Dogs" through the University of Iowa Foundation, with media support from KDAT-MF/KHAK-FM.

Tickets for Tap Dogs are $35, $32.50 and $30. 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.

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.

Audio description, for audience members with visual impairment, will be available at the Feb. 3 performance.

For information on UI arts events, visit on the World Wide Web. Learn more about the "Tap Dogs" phenomenon at