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Release: March 27, 2001


THESIS CONCERT APRIL 5-7 FEATURES TWO LARGE-SCALE WORKS -- The University of Iowa dance department will present a Thesis Concert featuring large-scale works by two Master of Fine Arts candidates who are well-established dance professionals -- E.E. Balcos and Penny Askew -- at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, April 5-7, in the Space/Place Theatre of UI North Hall.

Askew’s dance/theater piece "At the Still Point" features an ensemble of 20 dancers. Inspired by the poetry of T.S. Eliot, Askew’s work is set to "White Man Sleeps" by Kevin Volans and "Shaker Loops" by John Adams.

"Eliot’s work provided themes, rhythms, and ideas for the overall choreographic structure," Askew explains. "The dance addresses, in an abstract and impressionistic way, the ideas of time, inaction vs. action, love, and how all of these elements affect the way we move through our world and our lives."

Before coming to the UI, Askew was artistic director of the Western Oklahoma Ballet and winner of the "Choreography Connection," awarded to the outstanding choreographer at the Regional Dance America National Craft of Choreography Conferences in 1996 and 1998.

Balcos set his "Luminous Rise" for 11 dancers to music by contemporary composers including John Adams, Gavin Bryars, Chris Fitkin, Graham Fitkin, Philip Glass and Steve Reich.

"My thesis project is a modern dance work that reflects a journey of transcendence through seven stages of life or levels of consciousness corresponding to the Chakra System, a spiritual guide for mystics and yogis for at least four thousand years," Balcos says.

Chakras are believed to be seven major energy centers rising along the spinal column. These chakras or seven centers/levels of consciousness are gateways between various dimensions. As we experience the opening of a chakra, we also experience a deeper understanding of the state of consciousness within that level."

Balcos has performed widely, including productions at the Walker Art Center, the Spirit Weaving Studio, Patrick’s Cabaret and the Southern Theatre in the Twin Cities, where the Star-Tribune described him as a "modern dance sensation." He has danced with Shapiro & Smith Dance, Florida-based Demetrius Klein Dance Company, Zenon Dance Company, Minnesota Dance Theater, and Theater Mu, and he has studied with Bayanihan Dance Company in Manila.

He has been a principal dancer with 10,000 Dancers, artistic director of Young Dance, and co-artistic director of the Balcos/Rebudal Project, which has been produced by the JoyceSOHO in New York and Intermedia Arts in Minneapolis.

Admission to the Askew-Balcos Thesis Concert will be $10 ($5 for UI students and free to children 12 and younger).

Tickets are available in advance from the University Box Office in the Iowa Memorial Union, 319-335-3041 or toll-free 800-346-4401. The fax number is 319-335-3407. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 5-9 p.m. Sunday. In addition to cash and checks, the University Box Office accepts MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover cards.

Any remaining tickets will be on sale at the door.

The Dance Department is part of the UI Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts.

For UI arts information, visit this new address -- -- on the World Wide Web. To receive UI arts news by e-mail, contact <>.

(NOTE TO EDITORS: The choreographers can be reached through the Dance Department, 319-335-2228, or by e-mail: <> and <>.)