Hancher continues its commitment to connecting great artists with great audiences both locally and around the state with the announcement of the University of Iowa organization's 2010–2011 season.
The "Can't Contain Us!" spirit once again infuses the season as Hancher will present world-class artists in venues throughout the community and the state.
Hancher has long been one of the nation's premier dance presenters. In keeping with that tradition, the new season features three dance events.
First, Ballet West II will come to Iowa in September for an extended stay featuring free outdoor performances in Iowa City, Fairfield, Kalona, and Muscatine. Each performance also will feature dancers from the UI Department of Dance. In addition, dancers from Ballet West II will interact with schoolchildren in each community they visit. The project harkens back to Hancher residencies in the 1980s featuring the Joffrey Ballet II; Ballet West's artistic director, Adam Sklute, participated in the Joffrey II residencies as a dancer.
Second, the Bayanihan Philippine National Dance Company will spice traditional folk dance with a contemporary sensibility when the troupe performs at the Englert Theatre in October. And in February, "The Legacy Tour" of the Merce Cunningham Dance Company comes to Iowa City. Before his death in 2009, modern dance titan Cunningham stipulated that following his death his renowned company would tour a final time before disbanding. Hancher's presentation of the company will take place in the Main Lounge of the Iowa Memorial Union, a location consistent with the company's well-known penchant for dancing in untraditional spaces.
For theatre lovers, the season includes the classic Broadway musical Fiddler on the Roof, as well as Ameriville, a play written and performed by the members of Universes. Fiddler on the Roof will be presented at the U.S. Cellular Center in Cedar Rapids in December. Ameriville, a play built around the devastation of Hurricane Katrina but truly examining the whole of contemporary America, will be presented in Mabie Theatre in the UI Theatre Building in April. Also, the members of Circa will perform 61 Circus Acts in 60 Minutes in May as this season's artists for the annual project known as Spot—The Hancher Family Arts Adventure.
The season is filled with a wide array of musicians and musical styles, including funk and blues (Papa Grows Funk, Taj Mahal & the Trio), classical (violinist Robert McDuffie with the Venice Baroque Orchestra; the trio of David Finckel, Wu Han, and Philip Setzer; and the Miró Quartet), jazz (the Kenny Barron Trio with David Sánchez, and Esperanza Spalding), a cappella (Ladysmith Black Mambazo, Take 6, and Calmus), Celtic (Leahy Family Christmas and Danú), and American string band music (Carolina Chocolate Drops).
Meanwhile, November will feature the world premiere of a collaborative effort by Hancher, "certified lunatic and master of the impossible" Tomás Kubínek, and Orchestra Iowa. Professor Kubínek Meets the Symphony, which is a Hancher commission, will blend Kubínek's comedic sensibilities with beautiful orchestral music in a presentation designed to appeal to both the experienced and the novice concertgoer. The work will be performed in Iowa City, Decorah, Cedar Rapids, and Mason City; Kubínek will then perform the piece with the Omaha Symphony Orchestra before taking it to orchestras around the country and the world.
Hancher's outreach programs continue in earnest with a large number of this season's artists participating in residency events on campus, in the local community, and around the state. In addition, Roseneath Theatre will present The Incredible Speediness of Jamie Cavanaugh at Van Allen Elementary School in November. The play, which revolves around a girl coping with ADHD, is being presented in partnership with the Iowa City Community School District and will be attended by district fifth-grade and sixth-grade students.
2010–11 Hancher Performing Arts Season
by Rob Cline