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November 2, 2001
Volume 39, No. 6

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Dance Gala celebrates 20 years of excellence
The challenge: Turning down the heat without sacrificing comfort
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Dance Gala celebrates 20 years of excellence

Photos by Kirk Murray.


The UI Dance Company will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its annual Dance Gala with Dance Gala 2001, featuring a classic by UI alumnus Lar Lubovitch, at 8 p.m. Nov. 9 and 10 in Hancher Auditorium. The UI Symphony under the direction of William LaRue Jones, the Kantorei directed by Timothy Stalter, faculty pianist Ksenia Nosikova, and dance staff pianist Jyle Juracek will be featured musical performers.

Lubovitch returned to the University in 1999 after an absence of nearly 40 years for the American Ballet Theatre performances of his Hancher-commissioned “Meadow.” The reconnection was so satisfying that Lubovitch, one of America’s most acclaimed choreographers, was invited back by the Dance Department. He is contributing his 1976 “Marimba” set to Steve Reich’s pulsing “Music for Mallet Instruments, Voices, and Organ.”

The program also features works by UI Dance Company Director Alan Sener and faculty choreographers Charlotte Adams, David Berkey, Jeffery Bullock, Basil Thompson, and Armando Duarte.

Adams, who recently presented a concert of her work in New York, will premiere “Dichotomy of Desire,” featuring Kantorei, the premier UI vocal ensemble.

Berkey will premiere “On Parnassus,” featuring Juracek performing music of Wagner and Liszt.

Bullock’s “Meditation (Beautiful Death)” continues his exploration of provocative subjects. “Meditation” will be performed just before intermission, following a pause to allow audience members uncomfortable with the mature subject matter to extend their intermission.

Thompson, former artistic director of the Milwaukee Ballet, will premiere “Chopiniana,” adapted from Fokine’s “Les Sylphide.”

Sener’s new “Who Shall Not Die” is set to Bach, featuring the UI Symphony, Kantorei, and cameos by local public service officials.

The production will close with the premiere of Duarte’s “Noir,” featuring Nosikova performing Rachmaninoff’s “Rhapsody on a Theme of Paganini.”

Lubovitch did not graduate from the University, which in those days did not offer a dance degree, but the long absence did not dim his appreciation of the life transformation that occurred here, through the tutelage of faculty member Marcia Thayer.

“If there is any value to an educational institution, it’s to help people discover themselves,” he says. “That happened to me here.”

A benefit reception, featuring Lubovitch and other Dance Gala choreographers, will celebrate the 20th anniversary from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Nov. 9 in the Hancher Cafe. For reception reservations, call (33)5-2184. Dance Gala tickets are on sale at the Hancher box office, (33)5-1160. Tickets are available on-line through Hancher’s web site: www.uiowa.edu/hancher.

For two decades the Dance Gala has been the major annual production that has helped launch the careers of other UI dance students. A survey conducted a few years ago found the UI Dance Department had more alumni in professional ballet companies than any other college dance department. The Dance Gala also has been a showcase for seasoned professional dancers who have come to Iowa at the end of their performing careers to complete graduate degrees.

The Dance Gala has produced numerous dances that have received national recognition in the American College Dance Festival Association (ACDFA), and has featured student performers who have won ACDFA top national awards. Dance Gala alumni have joined the rosters of top professional companies including the Joffrey Ballet, the Mark Morris Dance Company, the Boston Ballet, and the Milwaukee Ballet. Dance Gala choreography has been taken into the repertories of dance companies in the United States and abroad.

Sponsors of Dance Gala 2001 include the Elizabeth M. Stanley Performance Fund; Target Stores, Marshall Field, and Mervyn’s with support from the Target Foundation; the National College Choreography Initiative, Hancher Auditorium, WSUI/KSUI, UI Student Services, University Life Centers, and the Stepping Up Project.

Article by Winston Barclay

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