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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 20, 2006

UI Dance Company Presents 'Breathless: Dance Gala 2006' Nov. 3-4 In Hancher

The University of Iowa Dance Company will present "Breathless: Dance Gala 2006," the season's major performance event by the UI Dance Department, at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 3 and 4, in Hancher Auditorium.

A 6 p.m. dinner will precede each performance, and reservations must be made in advance.

"Breathless" is an hour and 45 minutes of non-stop energy, rhythm, beauty and athleticism that reflects the versatility of one of the most honored dance departments in the country.

"Dance Gala 2006 celebrates our commitment to present professional dance repertories that illuminate historical legacies as well as current movements in the field," says Alan Sener, chair of the Dance Department. "With that, we offer 'Games,' the 1951 modern dance masterpiece from the legendary Donald McKayle, and a new dance by Bill Young, one of the hottest downtown New York City-based choreographers on the scene today.

"We also proudly present a new work by Armando Duarte with the participation of Dan Moore's Iowa Percussion ensemble, and diverse dances by faculty members Jennifer Kayle, Daniel Stark and Deanna Carter."

McKayle, recently named one of "America's Irreplaceable Dance Treasures: The First 100," set "Games" on UI dancers during a September residency as an Ida Beam Distinguished Visiting Professor. "Games," which has been continuously in the professional repertory since its creation, depicts the joys, hopes, concerns and dangers experienced by urban children at play.

In 1986 "Games" was the pilot work that inaugurated the American Dance Festival's ambitious project "The Black Tradition in American Modern Dance," through which many modern dance masterworks have been reconstructed on dance companies throughout the nation.

A story about McKayle's career as an African-American trailblazer in concert dance, and about his creation of "Games" is available in pdf format at, by accessing the playbills for the Martha Graham Dance Company, Marvin Hamlisch, the Bayanihan Philippine Dance Company or the Batsheva Dance Company.

All the other pieces on "Breathless: Dance Gala 2006" are world premieres.

With "ChorusStories/LoveLines" Bill Young says he has "created a piece with the dancers, who share with the audience moments from their lives (and loves) through their own words and movement. Eventually they give us a kiss to go home with." Young is known for his highly physical and passionate dances that "have the intensity and urgency of white-water rapids, forging a choreographic world full of emotional range and power."

The winner of recent Guggenheim and New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, Young discovered dance through contact improvisation while studying music at Oberlin College. He danced with the companies of Margaret Jenkins, Douglas Dunn, Randy Warshaw and Merce Cunningham. In 1988 he established Bill Young & Dancers, which has been presented not only in the United States by also in Austria, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Poland, Czechoslovakia, Russia, Finland, Mexico, Brazil, Peru and Venezuela.

A Dance Magazine article observed, "Bill Young's choreography highlights the visceral connections between bodies. The way he sends dancers spiraling, rolling, colliding, and rebounding off each other and the floor makes our eyes see lingering threads -- physical and emotional -- running through the space."

Armando Duarte's "De Furia e Felicidade" (Of rage and bliss) features a new musical score by prominent contemporary composer Robert Moran, performed live by Iowa Percussion. Both the music and the dance are abstract interpretations of the graffiti Duarte photographed in the city streets of his native Brazil.

Moran's percussion score for the UI Percussion Ensemble is titled, "Kboco," which is the name of one of Brazil's most famous graffiti artists.

Deanna Carter's "Scherza Infida" (Cruel joke), set to selections from Handel's "Water Music," is based on "old school" classical ballet technique -- she has called it "a pretty ballet with long tutus."

Jennifer Kayle's "at the receding edges..." is a meditation on human physical and spiritual connection to the earth, and on the dangers of disconnection. Set on four squares of plastic grass, images of community, scarcity and disintegration appear in her poetic landscape.

Dan Stark has tackled some of the turbulent issues of contemporary American society in "Politics Religion Sex," set to clogging, square dance and polka music. The material was developed through workshops Stark organized with dance students last spring. He calls the result a "critical satire about our society and the current climate of heightened suspicion, greed, fear and suppression."

Dance Gala 2006 is supported by the Iowa City Press Citizen. The reconstruction of "Games" was made possible be American Masterpieces: Dance, a program of the National Endowment for the Arts, which is administered by the New England Foundation for the Arts with Dance/USA; supported in part by the Elizabeth M. Stanley Performance Fund.

The Dance Department is a unit of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Tickets are $30/25; UI student & senior citizen $20/17; youth $15/12. Patron tickets are also availab le for $100, which includes a tax-deductible gift to the UI Dance Department. Dinner tickets are $20.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m.-5:30 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 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, go to, click the link "Join or leave the list (or change settings)" and follow the instructions.

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; cell: 310-430-1013;