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University of Iowa News Release

July 7, 2006

Photo credit: Sarah Ripp and Ballet Idaho

Barragan's Dance Gala Work Showcased At International Dance Festival

Eloy Barragan, a faculty member in the University of Iowa Dance Department, has been invited to present two contemporary ballets at the Fifth International Dance Festival's opening night Contemporary Showcase, "Men at Work," July 14 in New York City.

The performances will feature contributions by UI collaborators including Writers' Workshop faculty member James Alan McPherson, painter Steven Erickson, designers Gary N. Holmquist and Margaret Wenk, and student dancers Julius Carter and Megan Rumery.

The festival's performances will be in the New York City Dicapo Opera Theater July 14-30. The festival is showcasing Barragan's work on the opening night, along with the work of four other choreographers, because his presentation at last year's festival was so successful. He has also been invited to teach ballet technique classes at the International Dance Festival Dance Lab.

The first ballet is "Pasajes" (Passages) the full version of "En Ti, En Mi" (In you, in me) the trio that was premiered in the UI Dance Company's 25th Anniversary Dance Gala last November in Hancher Auditorium, and was recently performed by invitation at the 50th Anniversary of the American Dance Guild.

"Pasajes" presents the sensuality, playfulness, valor and spirit found in Latin American culture, especially in bull-fighting. "Pasajes" is set to music by Antonio Vivaldi, Moondog, Enrique Granados and Alan Terricciano.

The International Dance Festival performance will again feature the Dance Gala lighting by guest designer Laurel Shoemaker and costume design by Margaret Wenk and Barragan.

Barragan's second ballet is a world premiere entitled "Retratos" (Portraits), set to music by the Latin Playboys, Ruben Gonzalez, Miguel del Aguila and Luis Perez.

It is a collaborative, interdisciplinary work involving Pulitzer Prize-winning author James Alan McPherson of the UI Writers' Workshop and painter Steven Erickson. Barragan and Erickson have been conducting research on Hispanic culture and talking with minority families from Columbus Junction, Iowa. Their conversations with these families have helped Barragan to find new movement vocabulary to express a spectrum of human emotions.

"We are talking about the stories behind the family portraits we have in our homes," Barragan explains. "It's an abstract impression of the pictures in the minds and hearts of people, including their dreams, goals, desires and obstacles in their lives."

This performance will feature spoken text written by McPherson, costumes designed by Erickson and Barragan, and lighting designed by Holmquist. Erickson has also created an evocative painting that embraces and encompasses the movements and emotions of "Retratos."

In the performance, Carter and Rumery from the UI Dance Department will be joined by Juan Aldape from the University of Utah, Emily Sears of Southern Methodist University and professional guest artist Yuka Omori.

For this project, Carter, a senior majoring in dance and history, has been awarded the UI Research Experiences for Undergraduates grant. This award assisted him in his collaborative research with Barragan for "Retratos," and has enabled him to travel to New York City to perform and conduct interviews with choreographers.

Barragan, a native of Mexico City, joined the UI faculty last fall. He has been the recipient of choreographic fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Idaho Commission for the Arts and the State of Idaho Arts Commission. He is a 2006 recipient of the Iowa Old Gold Fellowship and an Arts and Humanities Initiative Program Grant.

His contemporary ballets have been presented at the Bolshoi Theatre, the Finnish National Opera House, the Paris Conservatory, City Center in New York and the National Theatre of the Republic of Panama. In the winter of 2005, Barragan was honored by the National Ballet of Panama with a performance of an entire evening of his choreography at the Teatro Nacional de Panama before the ministers of culture of Central America.

Competitively, his contemporary choreography has helped dancers win in the 2004 and 2005 Youth America Grand Prix, Spotlight Award 2005 and the 2005 Ballet Competition in Helsinki.

In his performing career Barragan was a soloist with Compania Nacional de Danza, Ballet Royal de Wallonie, Mainz Stattheater, Dortmundt Stattheater and Ballet de Monterrey, and he was a principal dancer and ballet master of Ballet Idaho and the Eugene Ballet.

For more information about "Men at Work," visit

The Dance Department is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences and the Writers' Workshop is a graduate program in the college.

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,

OTHER INFORMATION: Reporters may contact Barragan directly at or 949-923-0590.