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University of Iowa News Release


Oct. 14, 2011

Photo: (top, right) Rehearsal of the Oliveira piece by Hubbard Street 2, for the Sept. premiere presented by Hancher.

Trisha Brown signature work is the centerpiece of Dance Gala 2011

Dance Gala 2011, the University of Iowa Dance Department's major annual event, will feature the signature piece by legendary choreographer Trisha Brown, as well as original music by Payton MacDonald, and John Manning and Erin Vang; live performance by Center for New Music guests the JACK Quartet and percussionist Payton MacDonald; and Hancher's commission for the Hubbard Street company's National Choreography Competition. The performances will be at 8 p.m. Oct. 27-29 and Nov. 3-5, and 2 p.m. Sundays, Oct. 30 and Nov. 6, in the Space Place Theater of North Hall.

The program will feature:
--A reconstruction of Trisha Brown's 1983 signature work, "Set and Reset/Reset," directed by Master of Fine Arts student Melinda Myers, a former member of Brown's company, and featuring the music of Laurie Anderson and costumes based on the originals by Robert Rauschenberg.
--The premiere of "Tongues In Trees" by faculty member Alan Sener, featuring new music by MacDonald, performed and recorded by MacDonald and the JACK Quartet (first weekend live, second weekend recorded).
--Clebio Oliveira's "The fantastic escape of a little buffalo," which was created in the Department of Dance facilities and premiered by Hubbard Street 2 at Space Place Theater, in a September event presented by Hancher.
--The premiere of "Catch," created by faculty choreographer Charlotte Adams in collaboration with the dancers, and featuring music composed and performed by Erin Vang and UI School of Music faculty member John Manning.
--"Sueños," a premiere by faculty choreographer Deanna Carter, who also edited a musical collage.
--The premiere of a new work by faculty choreographer Eloy Barragan.

The Trisha Brown Dance Company premiered "Set and Reset" in 1983 at the Brooklyn Academy of Music. It confirmed Brown as a leader of abstract choreography. For the creation of "Set and Reset/Reset," the performers are an integral part of both the creative process and the end result. As envisioned by Rauschenberg, Gabby McNally has assembled a video collage inspired by the original work, the dancers, and their collaboration.

Students in the Department of Dance had the opportunity this fall to work directly with Hancher Auditorium and Hubbard Street Dance Chicago. A new work was choreographed by Clebio Oliveira, winner of the 2010 Hubbard Street National Choreographic Competition, during a UI residency. Oliveira and Hubbard Street 2 members in the residency trained UI dancers to perform the new work for Dance Gala 2011.

Composer/percussionist MacDonald explained, "I composed 'Tongues in Trees' for the Jack String Quartet and myself on percussion on commission from the UI Division of Performing Arts. Alan Sener and I had several conversations about the direction of the project. We settled on the idea of a two-movement work that would explore the differences between a mechanized experience with movement and music, and a more organic, fluid, natural experience.

"The percussion part for the first movement of 'Tongues in Trees' is scored for drum set and the music is very pattern-based. It's a mechanized sound world, heavily influenced by computer music, and by man-made things in general. And it's fast. The second movement is slower and more contemplative, with a prism of colors and melodies. It reflects my experiences as a trail runner and hiker, and gives the dancers a chance to explore more fluid physical movement."

MacDonald has created a unique body of work that draws upon his extensive experience with East Indian tabla drumming, American military rudimental drumming, jazz, European classical music, and the American experimental tradition. He works across multiple musical genres, often at the same time. He teaches at William Paterson University. Visit and

National Choreography Competition-winner Oliveira began his dance training by studying folk dance in Natal, the capital of the state of Rio Grande do Note in Brazil. He later graduated at the Rio de Janeiro State University as a dancer, choreographer, and contemporary dance teacher. Before joining Companhia de Dança Deborah Colker in 2004, he worked with Brazilian choreographers including Regina Miranda and Carlota Portella. In 1999 he won the Rio Arte Award as Best Dancer of the Year, and in 2001 and 2002 he won the award for Best Choreographer in the Rio Dance Festival.

"Catch" was created by Adams and her ensemble in collaboration with tubist Manning and Vang, a freelance orchestral horn player from the Bay Area and owner of the consulting firm Global Pragmatica LLC. It is the second of three projects, following the 2010 performances of "Tuba or Not Tuba" at the UI, in the Dominican Republic and at the Highways Performance Space in Los Angeles.

Adams comments: "The piece, conceived between Tucson, Iowa City, and the Bay Area, begins at The End and travels back through memory to The Beginning. The dancers embody the stillness of absence, tear backwards through space, banter to honky tonk piano, and joyously fling themselves into each other's grasp, evoking relationships over time."

The creation of "Catch" was supported by a grant from Arts Across Borders within the UI Division of Performing Arts and by the Department of Dance.

Other artistic contributors to Dance Gala 2011 include artistic director George de la Pena, lighting designer Laurel Shoemaker, and costume and scenic designer Margaret Wenk-Kuchlbauer. Costumes for "The fantastic escape…" were designed by Rebecca Shouse, and the lighting was designed by Matt Miller.

Tickets for Dance Gala 2011 performances are $20; UI students (with a valid UI ID) and youth 17 and younger $5; audience members 65 and older $15, in advance from the Hancher Box Office. Patron tickets, which include an $80 contribution to the Department of Dance through the University of Iowa Foundation, are available for $100.

The Hancher Box Office, in the Old Capitol Centre, is open for phone (319-335-1160 or 800-HANCHER) or walk-up business from 10 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. weekdays. Tickets may be ordered online at Any remaining tickets will be available for sale one hour before show time at the door.

The Iowa City Press-Citizen is the media sponsor of Dance Gala 2011.

The Department of Dance is part of the UI Division of Performing Arts in the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. The Department of Dance dedicates Dance Gala 2011 to Dean Linda Maxson, who is retiring in 2012.

UI arts events are searchable on the UI Master Calendar: Exhibitions are searchable at To receive UI arts news by e-mail, go to, click on the link "Subscribe or Unsubscribe" and follow the instructions.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa News Services, 300 Plaza Centre One, Iowa City, IA 52242-2500

MEDIA CONTACT: Winston Barclay, University News Services,