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Release: Sept. 24, 1999

Paul Taylor world premiere highlights Millennium Festival performances Oct. 15-16

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Modern dance master Paul Taylor will present the world premiere of his "Arabesque," set to music by Debussy, when the Paul Taylor Dance Company performs at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Oct. 15-16, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

"Arabesque" was commissioned by Hancher for its 1999-2000 Millennium Festival, the most extensive and ambitious performing-arts millennium celebration in the United States. Other works on the Paul Taylor program are "Cascade," a piece set to Bach's music that was premiered in July at the American Dance Festival; and "Piazzolla Caldera," set to tango music by Astor Piazzolla, recorded by violinist Gidon Kremer.

In conjunction with the "Arabesque" premiere, "Dancemaker," the Oscar-nominated documentary about Taylor, will be shown at 9 p.m., Oct. 14 and 16; and at 7 p.m., Oct. 15 and 17.

Reviewing the "Cascade" premiere, the critic of Dance Magazine wrote that the work expresses "pure joy, including the joy of movement. . . This dance might have a record number of leaps for a Taylor work. . . With all these leaps comes a sense of release from the earth's pull and life's gravity."

The performances by the Paul Taylor Dance Company will culminate a multi-day residency by the young company Taylor 2 as part of the Iowa Network Project that connects Hancher with Luther College in Decorah, the Burlington Civic Music Association and the Pella Opera House.

Taylor has been a dominant force in dance for four decades, winning accolades as a choreographer who combines athleticism, humor and passion with a distinctive personality -- a combination that has even won him acclaim as "the world's greatest living choreographer."

He is the recipient of more than 40 awards including French knighthood, three Guggenheim Fellowships and six honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degrees. Awards for his lifetime achievement include a MacArthur Foundation Fellowship (often called the "genius grant") and the Kennedy Center Honors "for enhancing the lives of people around the world and enriching the culture of our nation." In February of 1989 Taylor was elected one of 10 honorary American members of the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters.

He received an Emmy Award in 1992 for "Speaking in Tongues," produced by WNET/New York in 1991. In 1993 he was awarded a National Medal of Arts by President Clinton in a ceremony at the White House.

Taylor's autobiography, "Private Domain," was nominated by the National Book Critics Circle as the most distinguished biography of 1987.

His Paul Taylor Dance Company, now in its 42nd year, has performed his choreography in more than 400 cities in more than 60 nations. It has represented the United States at arts festivals in more than 40 different countries and has completed 11 tours sponsored by the United States Department of State.

Hancher's season-spanning Millennium Festival features 20 major commissions in music, theater and dance, with 15 of the commissioned works and productions receiving their world or American premieres in Hancher.

In addition to the "Arabesque," new works have been created -- or are being created -- by theater visionary Robert Lepage; choreographers Twyla Tharp, Ushio Amagatsu, UI alumnus Lar Lubovitch, Susan Marshall, Bill T. Jones, and Jawole Willa Jo Zollar; and composers Richard Danielpour, Michael Daugherty, Paul Schoenfield, and UI alumnus David Lang.

Performances of the commissioned works will be presented by prominent ensembles including American Ballet Theatre, Twyla Tharp Dance, the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Bang on a Can, the Kronos Quartet, the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theatre, the Bill T. Jones/Arnie Zane Dance Company, Sankai Juku, the Kalichstein-Laredo-Robinson Trio, the Ahn Trio and the Ethos Percussion Group.

The Paul Taylor commission sponsors are Richard H. and Mary Jo Stanley and the National Endowment for the Arts through the University of Iowa Foundation.

Tickets for the Paul Taylor Dance Company's world premiere of "Arabesque" are $35, $31 and $27. 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.

The entire 1999-2000 Hancher season -- including the season-spanning Millennium Festival -- is detailed in a free brochure, "At This Moment," which is available from the Hancher administrative offices (319-335-1130) or the Hancher box office.

Learn more about the Paul Taylor Dance Company on the World Wide Web at <>. The site includes downloadable color images. For UI arts news and information, and arts calendar updates, visit the ArtsIowa website, <>.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: To request an advance interview, contact Ariane Reinhart by phone at 212-431-5562 or by fax at 212-966-5673.)