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University of Iowa News Release

Feb. 24, 2006

UI Dance Department Honors Berkey's Choreographic Genius In Retrospective

The University of Iowa Dance Department will honor the memory of long-time faculty member David Berkey in a retrospective concert celebrating his choreographic genius at 8 p.m. Saturday, March 11, in Hancher Auditorium.

The concert will open the North Central Regional Conference of the American College Dance Festival Association, hosted by the department.

On the program are Berkey's "Blind Date," "Blue Tunnel," "Sentinel," "White Mountain," "Along Came a Spider" and "Out of the Blue."

"David was one of those rare choreographers with the amazing ability to affect audiences in profound ways -- sometimes with power but mostly with subtlety," says Dan Stark, a Berkey student who has returned to the UI as a visiting faculty member. "Many of his works, like 'Sentinel,' were ingeniously balanced between clarity and ambiguity, allowing for the right amount of space by which the dance could live its own life.

"With this concert we honor the beautiful artistry of his choreography and the enormous legacy of his teaching."

Joining Stark, Dance Department Chair Alan Sener and graduate student Ed Rice in the performances are a cast of distinguished alumni:

-- Jeff Curtis, who has danced in numerous high-profile companies in the United States and abroad and is now working in dance multimedia;

-- Nickole Lanhan, a Master of Fine Arts candidate at Arizona State University;

-- David Marchant, currently an artist in residence at Washington University in St. Louis;

-- Sara Semonis and Maureen Miner, faculty members at Illinois State University;

-- Shouze Ma, a faculty member at Arizona State who was a founding member of China's first modern dance company and has formed a modern-dance workshop at the Beijing Dance Academy;

-- E.E. Balcos, a faculty member at the University of North Carolina at Charlotte;

-- L.D. Kidd, who is dancing professionally in Los Angeles;

-- Michele Kriner, a faculty member at Ball State University;

-- Chalie Livingston, who teaches, dances and choreographs at the Velocity Dance Center in Seattle; and

-- Matthew Keefe, recently appointed associate artistic director of the Minnetonka Dance Theater and School in Minnesota, who has choreographed more than 35 ballets and danced with prominent professional companies including the Lyric Opera of Chicago, BalletMet, the Minnesota Opera and the James Sewell Ballet.

Berkey (1951-2004) was an inspiration to hundreds of dancers in his 19 years as professor in the UI Department of Dance, which included three years as chair of the department.

A national icon in his field, he created more than 80 dances for university-based and professional dance companies throughout the United States, and his work was also performed in China, Canada, France and Germany. The Kansas City Ballet, the Beijing Dance Academy, the American Ballet Theatre Studio Company, Pick of the Crop Dance and the Royal Winnipeg Ballet are a few of the companies that performed his dances.

Berkey's modern-dance choreography was a frequent part of Dance Gala productions and faculty concerts. And he created some of his most renowned pieces at the UI, including his signature piece, "Sentinel."

Tickets for David Berkey Retrospective are $25 ($18 for UI students, $20 for senior citizens, and $12 for youth), and may be purchased in advance from the Hancher Auditorium box office. Any remaining tickets will be available at the box office the evening of the performance.

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. 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:

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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