The University of Iowa
The University of Iowa News Services Home News Releases UI in the News Subscribe to UI News Contact Us

University of Iowa News Release

Aug. 29, 2003

Travelers Dance Company Will Animate Bell's Poetry At Festival

Photo: Marvin Bell

The Travelers Dance Company of Iowa City has been invited to the 10th Annual Dancing Poetry Festival in San Francisco to perform work inspired by the poetry of University of Iowa Writers' Workshop faculty member Marvin Bell, Iowa's Poet Laureate.

The company will perform "Today, Tibet" Saturday, Oct. 4 in the Florence Gould Theater of the California Palace of the Legion of Honor, San Francisco's renowned fine arts museum.

Galleries Downtown, Arts Iowa City and Arts Ala Carte will co-present a benefit performance and reception 4-6 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 21 at Galleries Downtown to raise funds that will help offset the cost of travel. In addition to a performance of "Today, Tibet," the event will include a reading and discussion by Bell. For additional information about the benefit event, contact Angie Hayes at 319-338-1360.

Travelers Dance was founded by three UI alumni -- dance graduates Angie Hayes and Judith Moessner and multimedia graduate Mark McCusker -- in collaboration with Iowa City visual artist Gene Anderson. Moessner is the marketing director for the UI Division of Performing Arts.

"Angie Hayes and Travelers have enlarged my poems," Bell says. "Their staging of my Tibet poem is all-encompassing and beautiful. They make me wish I could dance."

"Today, Tibet" is one dance from a concert-length production, "Breathing Between the Lines," which Travelers developed and premiered in 2002, using Bell's poetry and visuals by Anderson. The dance work uses Bell's poem "Sounds of the Resurrected Dead Man's Footsteps (#12)," which has two parts -- "Today, Tibet" and "Tomorrow, Tibet."

The original production was supported with funds from the Iowa Arts Council.

The Dancing Poetry Festival is staged by Artists Embassy International and Natica Angilly's Poetic Dance Theater Company. In her letter inviting Travelers Dance to be one of 10 international dance/poetry ensembles featured at the festival, Angilly wrote, "We believe your performance will help define the collaborative art of poetry and dance in the United States."

Founded in 1951, Artists Embassy International is a Bay Area-based global organization "dedicated to the universal language of the Arts for peace."

For UI arts information and calendar updates, visit To receive UI arts news by e-mail,

* * *

Sounds of the Resurrected Dead Man's Footsteps (#12)
By Marvin Bell

1. Today, Tibet

One day I have fifteen minutes to stop the ruination.
Today, Tibet.
Other places, other days, but today Tibet.
This thin air makes me dizzy.
I breathe not deeply but partially, and I slip on the sleety condensation.
Bones keep at this altitude.
Mountains top the clouds and I have come with the lowdown.
Prayer wheels and a hollow wind at this altitude.
Now fifteen minutes of the ghostly as I tour the rim of a rice bowl.
They are clothed in shadow who breathe deeply and sit censored in the monasteries.
What low chant, what undertone of peace, what karmic rumor can sweep away an army?
Necessary to show them calm targets.
Necessary to suffer the hollow wind to moan, the bones to clack and a stench to
settle in the rice.
One day I have fifteen minutes on the front page.
Other places, other days, but today Tibet.

2. Tomorrow, Tibet

Yesterday, a people.
Tomorrow, an obit, a footnote, an explanation.
Yesterday, an earthen water vessel.
Today, the chipped, the shattered, the missing, the buried.
Those high-pointed hats to top the stars.
Those spinning tapestries of prayer, now shreds.
Tatters that thread the wind with fringe, gut, remembrance of things past.
Coins for Hamlet to take up alms.
I don't want to hear this, chants that catch in the throat.
I don't want to see this, like a dead fox mounted on a barbed-wire fence.
Travel the back country, it's Tibet.
Fuss a little, make good time, see the sights, it's Tibet.
Tibet the land that was, is, and shall remain... unwritten.
The wind exiled, the clouds scattered, a people sacked.
How shall we move mountains when Tibet disappears in thin air?

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Arts Center Relations, 300 Plaza Centre One, Suite 351, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500.

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, 319-384-0073,

PHOTOS are available at .