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Release: Sept. 8, 2000

(BROADCASTERS: Pilobolus is pronounced pill-AH-boh-luss.)

Pilobolus Dance Theatre brings acrobatic artistry back to UI Hancher Sept. 29 and Oct. 1

IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Pilobolus Dance Theatre will return its acrobatic artistry to the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium with two completely different programs at 8 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29 and 3 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 1.

The highlight of the Friday evening performance will be a work co-commissioned by Hancher -- "Tsu-Ku-Tsu," featuring taiko drummer Leonard Eto, a former lead player of the world-famous Japanese percussion group Kodo, which will perform in Hancher later this season. Eto will also present a free lecture/demonstration about the taiko drumming tradition at 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 28 in the lounge of the UI International Center.

Other works on the Friday program are "Femme Noire," choreographed by Alison Chase, "Gnomen," choreographed by Robby Barnett and Jonathan Wolken, and "A Selection," created by Pilobolus artistic directors in collaboration with legendary children’s-book author Maurice Sendak. "A Selection" includes some partial nudity.

The Sunday family-friendly program (with no nudity) features "Particle Zoo," "Pseudopodia," "Sweet Dream" and "Aeros" -- all choreographed by members of the Pilobolus artistic team.

In a New York Times review, critic A.J. Hewat said of the Pilobolus-Eto collaboration, "He’s got rhythm, they’ve got moves: it’s a fit!" In a Dance Insider review, Maura Nguyen Donohue called their joint performance, "A sincere meeting of strength and grace."

Eto left Kodo after eight years and has since won kudos for his performances with artists including Bob Dylan, the Chieftains and Bon Jovi. His original works have been featured in films including "JFK," "The Lion King," "The Hunted" and "The Thin Red Line," and have been used for the figure skating performances of Olympian Elvis Stojko.

The Pilobolus performances in Hancher will conclude a three-and-a-half week educational residency by the Pilobolus Institute, which applies the playful Pilobolus creative process to all areas of study. Included have been school workshops and community events in West Branch, Mt. Vernon, Iowa City, Cedar Rapids, Wellman/Kalona and Columbus Junction.

In conjunction with the residency, the entire Pilobolus company will present a performance on Hancher’s Stage Door series for school groups at 10 a.m. Thursday, Sept. 28.

The public is invited to be a part of the in-house audience for a broadcast on the Iowa Communications Network at 1 p.m. Monday, Sept. 25 in Hancher. Tickets are not required for this free event.

Pilobolus -- named after a sun-loving fungus -- was founded in 1971 and was almost immediately acclaimed for its startling mix of humor, invention and acrobatic athleticism. Particularly noted from the start were its unprecedented "living sculptures." Over the years Pilobolus has probably invented more witty, acrobatic ways to stack, balance and propel performers than any dance company in history -- causing audiences to alternately chuckle and gasp, and leading Newsweek to dub them "as zany as the Marx Brothers, as clever as Houdini."

Generations of Pilobolus dancers (and their offshoot, Momix) have been hosted by Hancher, including the commissioning and world premiere of "Rejoyce -- A Pilobolus Finnegans Wake."

The commission of "Tsu-Ku-Tsu" was supported by Gary and LaDonna Wicklund. The Roy J. Carver Charitable Trust, Alliant Energy, Hills Bank and Trust are corporate sponsors of the Pilobolus performances through the University of Iowa Foundation, with additional support from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Tickets for Pilobolus are $32, $29 and $27. UI students and senior citizens qualify for a 20-percent discount, with Zone 2 and 3 tickets available to UI students for $10. Tickets for audience members 17 and younger are half price.

Ticket-buyers may take advantage of volume discounts on most events in the season. A simultaneous purchase of three to five events qualifies for a 15-percent discount, and a simultaneous purchase of six or more events qualifies for a 20-percent discount.

Hancher box office hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturdays. From the local calling area, dial (319) 335-1160. Long distance 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. Information and brochures may be requested by e-mail at <>.

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.

Learn more about Pilobolus on the World Wide Web at <>. Leonard Eto’s homepage is <>. For UI arts information, visit this new address -- -- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.