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University of Iowa News Release

April 29, 2005

'Velveteen Rabbit' Performance Features Iowa Children

When ODC/San Francisco performs "The Velveteen Rabbit" at 2 p.m. Sunday, May 8, in the University of Iowa Hancher Auditorium, 10 young bunnies from four Iowa communities will be onstage with the dance company.

The performance will climax the first installment in Hancher's most ambitious project ever -- a four-year project called "Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure," in partnership with community organizations in Iowa City/Coralville, Marshalltown, Perry and Spencer. The ODC performance in Hancher follows residencies by the company in each community.

The young dancers are:

-- Iowa City/Coralville: Carissa Penaluna, Alex Ko, Emily Mendoza,

Ada Cassell (Teacher - Leslie Nolte);

-- Marshalltown: Gabrielle Benson, Kathleen McHenry (Teacher - Kimbelee Jo Kups-Benson);

-- Perry: Allison Conrad, Katie Walsh; and

-- Spencer: Ashley Bredlow, Maddison Boyd (Teacher - Nicki Rydell).

ODC stands for Oberlin Dance Collective, reflecting the company's origin at Oberlin College. When the company moved to San Francisco, becoming one of the West Coast's leading modern dance companies, renowned for its educational program, it retained the initials. Learn more at

The Spot project was initiated in November 2003 when the Wallace Foundation awarded Hancher a four-year, $800,000 "Leadership and Excellence in Arts Participation" (LEAP) grant. The grant enables Hancher to enhance the arts participation of Gen-X families through the use of innovative technology and direct interaction with performing artists.

Local sponsors for the May 8 performance are Douglas and Linda Paul.

Tickets are available from the Hancher Auditorium box office: 319-335-1160 or toll-free, 1-800-HANCHER. Tickets may be ordered on-line 24 hours a day, seven days a week through Hancher's website:

The ticket price includes a Mother's Day picnic at 12:30 p.m. on the Hancher Green, with food provided by the Hy-Vee store on Waterfront Dr. in Iowa City

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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,

PHOTOS are available at