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University of Iowa News Release

May 11, 2005

Elementary Students Attended ODC/San Francisco Matinee At UI

Nearly 1,700 Iowa elementary-school students attended a special matinee performance by the ODC/San Francisco dance company on Monday, May 9, in Hancher Auditorium on the University of Iowa campus.

The educational event, on Hancher's Stage Door series, was part of the first installment in Hancher's most ambitious project ever -- a four-year, four-community project called "Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure," designed primarily for Gen-X families.

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

Spot: The Hancher Family Arts Adventure, makes integral use of an interactive website -- The website includes entire areas specifically on events in the four communities: Spencer, Perry, Marshalltown and Iowa City/Coralville.

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 arts participation through the use of innovative technology and direct interaction with performing artists over the next four years.

Children can become Spot Kids by registering at the website. Spot activities and information for parents are also available on the Web page, which includes games, recipes, learning activities and a chance for kids to get their own work published online. In addition, the site features a video of two Iowa City Spot Kids leading a backstage tour of Hancher.

The Wallace Foundation grant, which is the largest programming grant in the auditorium's history, builds on Hancher's experience partnering with Pella, Decorah and Burlington in the Iowa Network Project, also made possible by Wallace funding. That $300,000 grant was the largest previous grant received by the auditorium.

The LEAP grant is being combined with resources committed by several other UI programs and offices -- Academic Technologies, University Relations, the Division of Student Services, the Graduate College and the office of the Vice President for Research.

During the course of the project, the University of Iowa Foundation is establishing a $200,000 endowment that will enable Hancher to continue its audience-development efforts with the technology and expertise developed through the project.

Attending the May 9 matinee were the following schools.

Wright Elementary School -- 34

Montessori School -- 12

Fairfield Home Schoolers -- 29
Maharishi Lower School -- 27

Christian Home Educators -- 47
Grant Wood Elementary -- 448
Hoover Elementary -- 121
Horn Elementary -- 141
Wickham Elementary -- 310
Lemme Elementary -- 88
Shimek Elementary -- 164

Clear Creek Amana -- 170

Washington-Waco Home School -- 10

Mid-Prairie Elementary -- 69

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,