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University of Iowa News Release

March 17, 2004

UI Afro/Cuban Drum And Dance Ensemble Performs April 1-2

The University of Iowa Afro/Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble will perform a percussion/dance concert at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, April 1 and 2, in the Space/Place Theatre of UI North Hall.

The ensemble, directed by UI music faculty members James Dreier and Paul Cunliffe and dance teaching assistant Daniel Stark, features 35 student performers.

The Afro/Cuban Drum and Dance Ensemble was founded three years ago after Dreier and Cunliffe attended a workshop in Matanzas, Cuba led by the internationally recognized rumba group Los Munequitos de Matanzas. Since then, the ensemble has grown and developed into a cross-referenced, interdisciplinary class between the School of Music and the Dance Department -- the first interdisciplinary class developed since the creation of the UI Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

The ensemble performs every semester for the percussion area's World Percussion Concert and does frequent community outreach concerts and clinics through the UI Arts Share program for schools throughout Iowa. Last year, the ensemble was honored with an invitation to perform at the Percussive Arts Society's International Convention in Nashville.

The ensemble studies the folkloric music and dance traditions of Cuba, which has greatly influenced the music of North America and the world. The styles studied by the group include rumba, guiro, bembe, palo, mozambique, conga de comparsa, arara, yesa and bata.  

Dreier, Cunliffe and Stark journeyed to Cuba again in 2002 with 10 UI dance and percussion students for another workshop in Matanzas.

World-renowned percussionist and Afro/Cuban scholar Michael Spiro has made frequent trips to the UI for clinics and workshops with the ensemble. In December 2003, Spiro, along with Cuban dancer and percussionist Roberto Borrell, were visiting guest artists of the UI Dance Department, giving master class and assisting in the creation of instructional materials on folkloric Afro/Cuban drum, dance and song.

Admission will be $12 (UI student $6; free admission for children under 12).

Tickets may be purchased in advance from the University Box Office in the Iowa Memorial Union. In addition to window sales at the Iowa Memorial Union, the University Box Office may be reached by phone at 319-335-3041 or toll-free 800-346-4401. The fax number is 319-335-3407. Hours are 10 a.m. to 9 p.m Monday through Saturday and 5-9 p.m. Sunday. In addition to cash and checks, the University Box Office accepts MasterCard, Visa, American Express and Discover cards.

Any remaining tickets will be on sale at the door.

North Hall is located at the north end of Madison Street on the UI campus. It is accessible from both Madison Street and the Anne Cleary Walk. Parking is available in the North Campus Parking Ramp.

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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