Dancing through the advent of spring: University of Iowa Youth Ballet and School of Dance to present Spring Concert Friday through May 15


Peter Kim

Performers rehearse at Space Place Theater located in North Hall on Tuesday, May 9, 2016. University of Iowa Youth Ballet and School of Dance is performing this weekend. (The Daily Iowan/Peter Kim)

Ushering in the end of the spring semester — and the beginning of summer — the University of Iowa Youth Ballet and School of Dance will present the Spring Concert at 7:30 p.m. Friday in Space/Place. Students of all age ranges will demonstrate their choreography for family, friends, teachers, and community.

Unlike the Winter Concert, designed to showcase the students’ lessons before transitioning to a lecture demonstration, the Spring Concert is more narrative.

“[The winter show’s] really valuable for the community and parents because ballet is really foreign to a lot of people; they don’t know what we do everyday,” said choreographer Dana Powers-Klooster. “That is sort of a time for them to do classwork but in a higher-stakes environment.”

After learning from the Winter Concert, audiences can approach the narrative of this show with a fresh appreciation for ballet.

“This concert is larger and centers on a narrative, while the annual Winter Concert is storyless, more purely about the beautiful pairing of ballet steps and music,” said artistic director Jason Schadt.

The concert chosen for performance this year is Paquita, a 19th-century ballet written by Edouard Deldevez and Ludwig Minkus.

“It is significant ballet from the classical repertoire,” Schadt said. “Kristin Marrs, a lecturer in the Department of Dance and longtime instructor for the UI Youth Ballet, has adapted the story for our school as a framework.”

Paquita follows the story of its namesake, a young Romani girl. She lives in Spain under the shadow of the occupation of Napoleon’s army, but unbeknown to her, she is a member of the noble family, having been abducted by Romanis as a baby. It is only when she saves the life of Lucien d’Hervilly, a French officer, that she spurs herself onto the path of rediscovery. The plot is a mix of romance, royalty, and espionage, led by a fiery musical score.

“It’s got really fun music inspired by traditional Spanish music,” Powers-Klooster said. “The play has more of a flair compared to a ballet people are always used to seeing, like The Nutcracker.”

The Spring Concert is more than just a performance; it’s an opportunity to expose even more of Iowa City to the benefit of the youth program.

“Dance is a really wonderful way for children to be physical and creative all at once — it’s really unique in that way,” Powers-Klooster said. “Sure they do sports or paint, but this is the one art form that really combines those two things.”

Ballet trains bodies at a young age, but Powers-Klooster is adamant that the benefits reach much further than the physical.

“By having this public forum of the dance school, it can help get the word out that this is a great chance for children to learn how bodies move through space, or about musicality, and artistry,” she said. “If it can get one more kid to dance, that’s great.”


The UI Youth Ballet and School of Dance’s Spring Concert

When: 7:30 p.m. Friday-Saturday, 2 p.m. May 15

Where: Space/Place

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