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University of Iowa News Release

Sept. 24, 2004

Lyon Opera Ballet Brings Cutting-Edge Dance To Hancher Oct. 13

The Lyon Opera Ballet, one of Europe's leading contemporary ballet companies, will perform at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Oct. 13, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

A pre-performance discussion, free to performance ticket holders, will feature Artistic Director Yorgos Loukos at 7 p.m. in the Hancher Greenroom.

Earlier that day, the company will open its rehearsal in Hancher to the public, 2:30-4 p.m. Admission is free and no tickets are required.

The program will be "Second Detail," choreographed by William Forsythe; "twelvetwentyone," a brand new work choreographed by Russell Maliphant; and "Symphony of Psalms," an early Jiri Kylian masterpiece set to the famous Stravinsky score.

The company IS from Lyon, but it is neither connected to an opera company -- except for sharing space in the Lyon opera house -- nor is it a traditional classical ballet company. During the last 15 years the Lyon Opera Ballet has built an impressive repertory of contemporary ballet, both commissioning new works and performing pieces by major choreographers.

The company's repertory includes many American choreographers, including some who are well-known to Hancher audiences -- Bill T. Jones and Susan Marshall among them -- but the bulk of the repertory features the top French and European choreographers of recent decades. The Oct. 13 performance is part of a continuing series of Hancher events bringing the range of contemporary European dance to Iowa audienc1es.

The Lyon Opera Ballet has built a worldwide reputation for the high quality of its dancers, but it is also renowned for its artistic and touring policies. Artistic Director Yorgos Loukos has sought a balance between major pieces from the contemporary repertory and the creation of new dances.

The Hancher program exemplifies that balance, sandwiching a brand new work by a recently emerged talent between the choreography of two of the giants of European contemporary dance.

American-born William Forsythe, a veteran of the Joffrey Ballet and the Stuttgart Ballet, has combined his interests in modern dance, rock music and musical comedy to create a body of provocative work that is performed by major companies including the New York City Ballet, the Joffrey Ballet, Nederlands Dans Theatre and the National Ballet of Canada. He was the director of the Frankfurt Ballet for two decades, becoming a major force on the European scene.

Russell Maliphant, by contrast, is a young British choreographer who founded his own company in 1996, combining influences of classical ballet, contact improvisation, yoga, capoeira and tai chi. In less than a decade his company has already toured world-wide -- including becoming the first western dance company to perform in Uzbekistan -- and he recently won an Olivier Award in London. A review in the London Times called his work "Magical architecture and poetry for the stage."

Jiri Kylian is revered as one of the most profound designers of movement in the last three decades, most notably in the more-than-50 works he has created for the Nederlands Dans Theatre. It has been noted that "there is something in his work deeply penetrating into the mystery of the human being itself, unveiling hidden traces through his dance."

"Symphony of Psalms," created in 1978, represents the soaring lyricism and dramatic sweep of his early choreography.

Kylian has succinctly described his approach to art and life: "Yesterday is history, tomorrow a mystery, but today is a gift. That is why they call it 'the present.'"

Local support for the Lyon Opera Ballet performance comes from Roger and Gayle Klouda, Darlene and Michael McNulty, and Carl and Julie Schweser, through the University of Iowa Foundation.

This performance funded in part by the National Dance Project of the New England Foundation for the Arts, with lead funding from the National Endowment for the Arts and Doris Duke Charitable Foundation. Additional funding provided by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Ford Foundation.

Tickets to the Oct. 13 performance of the Lyon Opera Ballet are $38/35/32; UI student $34.20/15; senior citizen $34.20/31.50/28.80; youth $26.60; 24.50/22.40.

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:

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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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