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University of Iowa News Release

Oct. 22, 2004

photographer: Amanda May

Dance Gala 2004 Is 'aLIVE!' In Hancher, Nov. 12-13

The University of Iowa Dance Company's 2004 Dance Gala, "aLIVE! In Concert," one of the premier events in the UI Year of the Arts and Humanities, will showcase not only the excellence of the Dance Department's faculty choreographers and student dancers, and the student and faculty artists from the School of Music, but also the contributions of two distinguished guest faculty members in the Dance Department. Performances are at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 12 and 13, in Hancher Auditorium.

The production, which is the Dance Department's major annual event, will feature choreography by guests George de la Pena and Jennifer Kayle; new faculty member Deanna Carter; Dance Gala co-artistic director Charlotte Adams; ballet faculty member Basil Thompson; and legendary American choreographer Louis Falco, set by Dance Department chair Alan Sener. Live music will be performed by faculty pianist Rene Lecuona and the UI Symphony Orchestra under the direction of William LaRue Jones.

De la Pena returns to choreography with "Rush," after making his mark as a performer on Broadway, in films and on television. His Broadway credits include "Woman of the Year," "On Your Toes," "The Red Shoes" (for which he received a Drama Desk nomination), "Are You Now or Have You Ever Been . . ." (for which he won a DramaLogue Award) and "Cats."

Millions worldwide have seen him in major motion pictures, most notably as the title character in "Nijinksy," starring with Alan Bates and Leslie Brown. His other screen roles include "Brain Donors," "The Turning Point" and "Kuffs." On TV, de la Pena has been featured in "LA Law," "Murder, She Wrote" and "One Last Dance" with Patrick Swayze.

"I'm excited to be returning to choreography after a number of years of film work as an actor," he says. "Much has changed in the dance world since I worked with such greats as Antony Tudor and Jerome Robbins. I was fortunate to have worked with four wonderfully diverse contemporary choreographers on my last film: Alonzo King, Dwight Rhoden, Desmond Richardson and Doug Varone. I hope to incorporate some of that diversity with my return to choreography."

De la Pena was brought in as UI guest artist in ballet while Basil Thompson was in Chicago reconstructing "Petroushka" for the Joffrey Ballet's Nureyev celebration in October.

The department's guest artist in modern dance, Jennifer Kayle began her movement education as a competitive gymnast and diver before becoming a dancer and choreographer. She is a founding member of the Architects, a collaborative improvisational movement theatre company, and she will co-direct the UI Dancers in Company touring ensemble this spring.

She says "A Million Fools on Fire," her Iowa City debut, "takes as its subject matter LOVE and other violent crime. In this work, I invite you to sing along as whole groups expertly get up, fall down, get up, and later swoon and laugh at nothing at all. It's possible that an EX leaves an EX message on an EX answering machine for one thousand people in Hancher Auditorium to hear. It's possible that a tall stranger will take a microphone, ask you questions you can't answer, and make a confession that you don't understand. It's more likely that a group of 13 beautiful young people will flail themselves with precision around the stage, gesture wildly, and twirl reluctant partners above their heads.  Really, this won't hurt a bit . . ."

New faculty member Deanna Carter will also make her UI debut with "Two-Part Concerto," after arriving this fall from Europe, where she was a teacher, choreographer and ballet mistress for companies including the Leipzig Ballet, the Scottish Ballet and La Scala Ballet,

Faculty pianist Rene Lecuona will perform two movements of Mozart's Piano Concerto in A major, K 488, with a chamber orchestra under the direction of William LaRue Jones.

Jones will also conduct the UI Symphony in one of the most popular works of the classical repertory, Ravel's flashy, mesmerizing "Bolero." Faculty member Armando Duarte used the beauty and propulsive power of "Bolero" for his new "Rouge."

"Rouge" is a large-ensemble work that was inspired by the sculpture "Le Petite Danseur" by Edgar Degas. Throughout his life, Degas devoted much of his time to the study of ballet dancers as subjects for both paintings and sculpture. In "Rouge," Duarte explores Degas' vision of a young female dancer -- the beauty of both the dancer and the dance.

"Rouge" was premiered this summer during the third season of Duarte Dance Works, the choreographer's professional company.

Charlotte Adams weighs in with "Blind Dogs Sing of Love," a piece set to four Monteverdi madrigals, with a humorous look at the fickle nature of love.

Basil Thompson choreographed "The Date," a duet set to Chopin etudes.

And, following the success last season of "Escargot," Dance Department chair Alan Sener will one again stage a work by his mentor, Louis Falco, who is best known for his choreography for the movie "Fame." Sener is the curator of the Falco repertory, and he has traveled the world setting Falco on professional companies.

This season Falco's "Hero" will come alive. "Hero" -- which refers to a deli sandwich, rather than to some classical archetype -- was premiered in 1977, featuring music of drummer Badal Roy, with Radha Shottam and Frank Tusa.

The Dance Gala production is the first time in more than two decades that "Hero" has been performed, and Sener will reprise his original role in the piece. Anna Falco-Lane, the executor of the Falco Repertory, will be in attendance.

"aLIVE! In Concert" features costumes by Margaret Wenk and lighting by Laurel Shoemaker.

Tickets to Dance Gala 2004 are $22/20; UI student $15/12; senior citizen $16/14; youth $12/10; patron $50. The patron tickets include a donation to the Dance Department.

Hancher Auditorium box office business 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. People with special needs for access, seating and auxiliary services should dial 319-335-1158, which is equipped with TDD for people with hearing impairment who use that technology.

Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

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:

UI President David Skorton's determination to increase public awareness and support of the rich tradition of arts and humanities on campus and throughout Iowa led him to declare academic year 2004-2005 the Year of Arts and Humanities, a time to celebrate that rich tradition and forge cultural linkages between the academic community and communities around the state. The Year of the Arts and Humanities is supported by the Office of the President, the Office of the Vice-president for Research and the Graduate College.

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

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,

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