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University of Iowa News Release


Feb. 27, 2007

UI Dance Department Was Featured At Earth Festival In Kenya

A contingent from the University of Iowa Dance Department was featured at the "Earth: Healing the Rift" festival, Feb. 24 and 25 in Kenya.

Department Chair Alan Sener, faculty member Dan Stark and staff percussionist Paul Cunliffe joined musicians, dancers and landscape artists from throughout African and around the globe for the event, sponsored by the Gallmann Memorial Foundation and the Great Rift Valley Trust.

Performances took place Feb. 24 in the Laikipia Nature Conservency, a 100,000-acre wildlife sanctuary along the Great Rift Valley. The following morning each participant planted an olive tree, considered sacred or symbolic by many cultures.

All proceeds from the event will support community-based environmental and earth-friendly economic development projects.

The production was directed by Monica Maimone, who directed the opening of the Winter Olympics in Turin and the Pope's millennium celebrations in Rome. The artists arrived without pre-prepared work, and spent a week developing the production together -- symbolic of the creativity, collaboration and cooperation that will be required to "heal the rift" between humans and their planet.

Other artists included Kenyan nyatiti musician Ayub Ogada, Brazilian vocalist Virginia Rodriguez, British singer Sophie Barker of the group Zero 7, English cellist Adrian Brendel, saxophonist Hayden Chisholm from New Zealand, Greek lyre player and multi-instrumentalist Pendelis Pavlidis, the Moipei family singers, the Aszure & Artists dance project, British ballerina Claire Weston of the Royal Ballet, Wildworks visual/theater artist Sue Hill, and Zac Greening and the Earth Energy Project.

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The Dance Department is a graduate program of the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

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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;