UI traveling dance group to perform new show at home before touring across Iowa

The University of Iowa’s Dancers in Company will perform its first set of shows at Space Place Theater this Wednesday through Saturday.


Jake Maish

Mariko Ishikawa(left), Brooke Lilienthal(left center), Ianka Hou(right center), and Dharmini Piekarska(right) perform a piece during a dress rehearsal of the Dancers in Company 2020 Home Concert on Monday, Feb. 24, 2020 at the Space Place Theater in North Hall.

Samantha Murray, Arts Reporter

Against the black backdrop of Space Place Theater, the University of Iowa’s traveling dance company will take the stage to perform their first set of shows on Wednesday through Saturday before beginning their tour around the state of Iowa.

The company, which features both undergraduate and graduate students, will perform a variety of different styles of dance.

The company will perform over an hour of material, including several dances of a more intense, athletic nature.

Alexandra Bush is one of the professors leading and choreographing certain portions of the show. Bush said in an email to The Daily Iowan that the performance has something for everybody, presenting a full range of human emotion and interest.

Dancers in Company gives UI dance students a chance to experience what performing in a professional company is like. Bush believes the students have really embraced this chance and the diverse repertoire that comes with it.

“They learn how to negotiate their time and energy, as well as group dynamics and priorities,” Bush said. “We are a very small group — there are nine dancers this season — and they’ve really come together in a beautiful way to put this concert together as a community of dance artists.”

UI grad student Michael Landez joined the company on Bush’s request after a phone call last summer. He said audiences will be shocked by the rate of movement in the concert and how much can occur within their short time frame.

Landez is a part of several dances throughout, but he said the ones he is most excited for involve stretching his abilities, especially “Looks Like Happy.”

“… It is something that I’ve never personally done before,” Landez said. “There’s talking and texts. It involves some of the dancers to imitate animal sounds. It’s very fun. It’s very quirky.”

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UI senior Brooke Lilenthal is another performer in the show. After months of practicing and juggling busy schedules, she said she is excited to finally show off what the group has been working on to the rest of the state.

As Lilenthal graduates in May, this show will mark her last time performing at the Space Place Theater.

“I’m just excited,” Lilenthal said. “It’ll be sad on Saturday to be done with it for sure, so I’m trying to have a good week and not stress about it too much.”

While Dancers in Company practices and performs several dances, their main goal is community outreach, Lilenthal said. As they travel around the state, the dancers will hold workshops in each community they visit.

Lilenthal said part of this community outreach comes from the music they use. The Hawkeye Marching Band drumline performs the piece for the show. Lilenthal said this is just one example of the focus on Iowa spirit and community Dancers in Company has.

“I think that the show in particular is pretty good at catering to a wide variety of people, and it really does bring communities together which is a goal,” Lilenthal said. “I think everyone should come see it was only here for four days and then it’s gone throughout the state.”