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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 19, 2007

'Dance Gala 2007: Allegro,' Nov. 2-3, spotlights dance department's excellence

The University of Iowa Dance Company will present "Dance Gala 2007: Allegro" at 8 p.m. Friday and Saturday, Nov. 2 and 3, in Hancher Auditorium on the UI campus. The production, which spotlights the talent, skill and versatility of student dancers, is the major annual performance event of the UI Department of Dance.

In addition to choreography by UI faculty members and premieres by guest artists Toni Pimble and David Dorfman, the Dance Gala will feature live music for two of the dances by the Maia Quartet and, for the first time, young dancers from the UI Youth Ballet.

The program will be:

--the premiere of "elephant in the room" by faculty member and TV/film actor George de la Pena, set to music by Sergei Prokofiev, Paulo Conte, Cass Elliot and Igor Stravinsky, and featuring 11 dancers from the UI Youth Ballet;

--"Alpaca Dreams" by faculty member Charlotte Adams, set to Beethoven's String Quartet in E minor, op. 59 no. 2, performed by the Maia Quartet, the resident faculty string quartet of the UI School of Music;

--"Concerto Grosso," a world premiere by guest choreographer Toni Pimble, artistic director of the Eugene Ballet in Oregon, set to music by Arcangelo Correlli;

--"Three Preludes, Four Women," by Department of Dance Chair Alan Sener, the artistic director of Dance Gala 2007, set to preludes from cello suites by J.S. Bach and dedicated to the memory of long-time faculty member David Berkey;

--"Evermore," a new work by faculty member Eloy Barragan, featuring both live performance by the Maia Quartet of music by Heitor Villa-Lobos and a corps from the UI Youth Ballet; and

--guest choreographer David Dorfman's hard-hitting "Force/Non-Nature," a world premiere set to an original score by Mike Vargas.

The extensive involvement of the Maia Quartet grew out of the success of last spring's production of "Dances with the Maia" -- including "Alpaca Dreams" -- which was produced in the Space/Place Theater, with sections also performed on the road through the UI Arts Share program.

The resident string quartet at the UI School of Music since 1998, the Maia Quartet participates in a series of chamber music concerts on campus each year. Its members -- violinists Tricia Park and Zoran Jakovcic, violist Elizabeth Oakes and cellist Hannah Holman -- are all members of the School of Music faculty.

Toni Pimble has been a guest twice before, in 1990 and 1995. A native of England who danced professionally in Europe, she has been the founding artistic director of Oregon's Eugene Ballet since 1978. She has choreographed more than 40 works for the company, and her work has also been performed by the Atlanta Ballet, the New York City Ballet, the Pacific Northwest Ballet, the Washington Ballet -- and, of course, the UI Dance Company. Her work has been honored with two Oregon Arts Commission Artist Fellowship Awards and a National Endowment for the Arts Choreographer's Fellowship Grant.

Under Pimble's leadership, the Eugene Ballet Company has toured to 32 states and internationally, including India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Syria, Jordan and Tunisia. In 1994, she also became the artistic director of Ballet Idaho when the Eugene Ballet and Ballet Idaho created an alliance to produce joint seasons combining artistic resources. The alliance continues to be successful as the company tours as Western Ballet Theater.

David Dorfman, who says his goal is to "get the whole world dancing," was the recipient of a 2005 Guggenheim Fellowship, and has also been honored with four fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, three New York Foundation for the Arts fellowships, an American Choreographer's Award, the first Paul Taylor Fellowship from The Yard, and a New York Dance & Performance Award ("Bessie") for David Dorfman Dance's community-based project Familiar Movements (The Family Project).

Dorfman's choreography has been produced at the BAM Next Wave Festival, the Joyce Theater, the Kitchen, the Dance Theater Workshop, the Duke on 42nd Street, Danspace Project/St. Mark's Church, P.S. 122 and Dancing in the Streets. Joe Poulson, a UI dance alumnus who is a member of Dorfman's company, returned last spring to perform Dorfman's "Planting" with Jenna Riegel on her thesis concert. Riegel, along with Heather McArdle and other members of the ensemble, collaborated with Dorfman in the creation of "Force/Non-Nature."

Other artistic contributors to "Dance Gala 2007: Allegro" include costume and scenic designer Margaret Wenk, sound designer C.C. Brown, and lighting designer Laurel Shoemaker.

The Department of Dance is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI School of Art and Art History.

Tickets are $30/25; UI student & senior citizen $20/17; youth $15/12. Patron tickets, which are available for $100, include a tax-deductible contribution to the Dance Department. Tickets are available in advance from the Hancher box office.

Hancher Auditorium box office business hours are 10 a.m. to 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 online 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 at

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 CONTACTS: Alan Sener, Dance Department, 319-335-2184,; Winston Barclay, Arts Center Relations, 319-384-0073 (office), 319-430-1013 (cell),