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Release: Jan. 25, 2002

(NOTE TO EDITORS: A direct contact with the Travelers Dance Company is Judith Moessner, marketing manager for the UI Division of Performing Arts, 319-335-3213 or 335-2706. She is a dancer in the production.)

Photo: Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell.

'Breathing Between The Lines’ Puts Bell's Poetry In Motion Feb. 7-9

The writings of Iowa Poet Laureate Marvin Bell are both the inspiration and text for "Breathing Between the Lines," a production of the Iowa City-based Travelers Dance Company and the multi-media performance company Habeus Corpus, at 8 p.m. Thursday through Saturday, Feb. 7-9, in Theatre B of the University of Iowa Theatre Building.

A joint presentation of the intermedia area of the UI School of Art and Art History and the Iowa Writers' Workshop, "Breathing Between the Lines" features choreography by Angie Hayes, visual design by Iowa City painter and sculptor Gene Anderson, and lighting design by Benjamin Schmidt.

The program will feature poems from the recently published volume "Nightworks," which includes some of Bell's newest work as well as poems selected from his entire career. Bell recorded some of the poetry, and other poems have been recorded by artists in the productions or will be recited by dancers as part of the performance. Music in the production ranges from instrumental recordings by Brian Eno, Kronos Quartet, and Astor Piazolla to live vocal performances of "There Will Never Be Another You" and art songs set to the poetry of Walt Whitman.

Hayes took her inspiration for the title of the production and for much of the choreography from "The Politics of Breathing: Asthmatic Medicaid Patients Under Managed Care" by R. Renee Gillespie, who wrote, "Breath has been mystical across time and cultures. Its rhythmic qualities and . . . vocal uses mark boundaries between life and death, self and other. Breath allows speech . . . Its intensity measures our inner states and marks degrees of pleasure and pain."

Hayes developed "Breathing Between the Lines" after she used Bell's poetry as the basis for "Poetry Pieces," performed last April in the Iowa City Public Library as part of the library's Poetry Month activities.

Hayes studied dance at the UI, where she performed with the UI Dance Company and the visiting companies of Susan Marshall and Nina Weiner. She danced professionally with I-Works, an Iowa City-based company, and she performed in UI graduate student Wai Mei Yeung's "The View" at La Mama in New York for the Asian Choreographers' Festival in 1994. In 1998 she helped to found Travelers Dance Company, and a Sudden Opportunities Grant from the Iowa Arts Council. enabled them to present their debut, "Travelers," at Studiolo in Iowa City.

She is employed by the Iowa City Community School District as a teacher of talented and gifted students at Shimek Elementary, and she teaches creative movement and modern dance privately.

An Iowa City resident for 33 years, Gene Anderson was an architect until 1990, when he retired from his job as the head of the architects office of the UI Hospitals & Clinics to devote full time to sculpture.

His sculptures and drawings have been exhibited in downtown Cedar Rapids, the Des Moines Art Center, Coe College, Luther College, Iowa State University, the Coralville City Hall, Cornell College, the Hearst Center for the Arts and the Welcome Center in LeClaire, Iowa.

In 2000, the River Action Art Project committee in the Quad Cities awarded Anderson the contract for their environmental restoration art project to be constructed in the Donnybrook Creek, Rapids City, Ill., during 2001-02.

He contributed set design, lighting design, and environmental elements to previous Travelers Dance Company performances at Studiolo and the UI.

Marvin Bell, Flannery O'Connor Professor of Letters in the UI Writers' Workshop, was selected by Gov. Tom Vilsack to become Iowa's first Poet Laureate in 2000.

Bell, who is a graduate of the Writers' Workshop, is the author of 18 books of poetry and essays, including "Ardor: The Book of the Dead Man, Vol. 2," "The Book of the Dead Man," "Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See," and an Irish collection of poems entitled "Wednesday," as well as "Nightworks: Poems 1962-2000." His poem in response to the events of Sept. 11 was widely published in Iowa.

His work appears in hundreds of anthologies of poetry and essays. His former students include Rita Dove, James Tate, Jorie Graham, John Irving, James Galvin, Norman Dubie, David
St. John, Marcus McPeek Villatoro, Joy Harjo, Patricia Hampel, Mary Swander, Lee Blessing and Marilyn Chin.

Bell's numerous awards include the American Academy of Arts and Letters Award in Literature (1994), senior Fulbright appointments to Yugoslavia and Australia, an Honorary Doctorate of Letters from Alfred University (1986), the American Poetry Review Prize (1982). He was a National Book Award Finalist in 1977 for "Stars Which See, Stars Which Do Not See."

He has been invited to read his poetry at the White House, the Guggenheim Museum, the Folger Shakespeare Library and the Library of Congress. He holds a bachelor's degree from Alfred University and a master's degree from the University of Chicago in addition to his Master of Fine Arts degree from the UI.

Admission to "Breathing Between the Lines" will be $8 ($6 for UI students and senior citizens) at the door.

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