The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Dance Gala sashays into Hancher

The Dance Department’s Dance Gala is a diverse and vibrant set of compositions that produces a multitude of dance styles and meanings.
David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan
Students from the University of Iowa Dance Department perform the dance ‘Ask the Beasts’ as part of Dance Gala 2017 at Hancher Auditorium on Wednesday, Nov. 8, 2017. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

By Rhiana Chickering
[email protected]

Barragán’s piece, “Interior Solitude,” is based on the life of Camille Claudel, a French sculptor who formed stone materials into artistic expression of fear and the unknown.

“Interior Solitude” expresses the emotions concerning gender and racial inequality in addition to psychological abuse.

“The difference between men and women is alarming,” Barragán said. “I feel, as humans, we have not learned from history and humanity.”

Playwright, poet, actor, director Xavier Villanova wrote a play for Barragán’s “Internal Solitude.” The play’s text will be integrated into the dialogue.

Everything in Barragán’s piece forms a dialogue — the text, music, dancing, and even the power of stillness.

This diversity in dance styles is what makes this year’s Dance Gala unique.

“There really is a big range [of dance styles], from movement-based pieces to more theatrical [pieces that are] relatable at a more human, pedestrian level,” said dancer and M.F.A. student Bethany Miller. “Each piece has its own vibrancy.”

Most importantly, the choreographers and dancers are exceptionally passionate about what they do, and this passion is shown throughout the pieces.

“[I like] to see the passion of all the dancers on stage, because we all love this, and this is what we live for and to experience it ourselves … we can’t get any better than that,” said Christine Howe, a dancer and M.F.A. student.

For M.F.A.  student and dancer Abbey Carlos, the opportunity to interact with people from all over the department is a reward in itself.

“It’s nice to work with [all of these] different people … I love that I get to work with different faculty [and] different dancers and [to] just learn from everyone,” she said. “Working with different people challenges me.”

However, if you are not keen on dance knowledge, that does not matter, stresses Arianna Russ, the soloist in Duarte’s piece.

“You don’t have to be really well-versed in dance to understand or enjoy what Dance Gala has to offer,” Russ said. “If you don’t fully understand what a piece means, that’s OK. I think a lot of times people who aren’t dancers get a little intimidated by dance. [It’s] abstract movement in particular tends to be a little daunting, and I don’t think it needs to be, because people can take what they want from a performance and enjoy it for whatever they choose to enjoy it for.”

Dance Gala will accentuate current cultural, societal, and environmental beliefs in a creative, beautiful manner.

“What a better way to reflect [on] it through art in a very peaceful way,” Barragán said.

Pre-Show Talk

When: 7 p.m. Friday & 7 p.m. Saturday

Where: Hancher Stanley Café

Admission: Free (excluding performance)


Dance Gala

When: 8 p.m. Friday & Saturday

Where: Hancher

Admission: $5-$20

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