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Dancers in Company performs home concert

BY JESSICA CARBINO | MARCH 03, 2011 7:20 AM

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Technology continues to infuse the dance world. And this year, the University of Iowa’s Dancers in Company is no exception.

For the first time, people from anywhere in the world can log on to the group’s website to watch its show live from their computer this weekend.

Dancers in Company will open its 27th season at 8 p.m. today in the Space/Place. Performances will continue through Saturday. Admission is $5.

Barragán approached Les Finken, the instructional systems analyst for UI Information Technology Services, with the idea of using new technology.

“We brainstormed and took on the project,” Finken said.

The company is now using Live Stream, which links audiences, choreographers, and dancers around the world. Live feed from video and audio taken from rehearsals or concerts are now featured on Dancers in Company website.

“We will use this technology to enrich and showcase the talent here,” said Dancers in Company Director and UI Assistant Professor Eloy Barragán.

This technology allows choreographers and audiences from elsewhere to be included in rehearsals on the UI campus, and they are also able to teach from it.

Dancers in Company serves the immediate and surrounding community through exposure to and contact with dance art, Barragán said.

“It showcases the diverse talents of the UI Department of Dance, specifically of students and faculty members,” he added.

Dancers in Company allows students to adapt to changes and get experience working in a group — this in turn prepares them for a pre-professional company and to embrace a professional setting.

Kim Chmielewski, a junior dancer at the UI, has been a part of Dancers in Company for the past three years.

“It’s a great organization with the department,” the dance and sociology major said. “It’s a great way to live the life of a company dancer.”

The company consists of 12 dancers — 11 women and one man. The dancers are chosen by faculty through open auditions for students in the department; they are judged on their maturity of approach to the movement and technique of small sections of different choreography.

Getting to this weekend’s show hasn’t been easy — the dancers have endured hour-long intense rehearsals every day since November to prepare for the performance.

“It’s been a real growing experience,” Chmielewski said.

The members’ input allows the group to come together and make progress.

“Through Dancers in Company, I have the opportunity to understand and know the students,” Barragán said.

In April, the Dancers in Company will tour six different cities, including Chicago, Dubuque, and St. Paul. The last performance will be May 7. In addition to showing its contemporary, modern improvisation and ballet pieces, the company will do lecture demonstrations as outreach to people of all ages.

“[Dancers in Company] encourages me to continue to be creative and open to new ideas,” Barragán said.

And the company teaches the basic concepts of discipline in ballet and modern, as well as stressing the importance of academics.

“We show the commitment and the love that dancers have,” Barragán said. “We want to reach the heart of the viewers and feed their soul with meaningful thoughts through dance and music.”


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