UI Dance department's traveling troupe performs in IC

BY JULIA JESSEN | MARCH 01, 2012 6:30 AM

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Pirouetting across the stage, dancers blur into a flurry of movement as they articulate the message of the piece through their bodies.

A myriad of styles will be presented when the University of Iowa's Dancers in Company kicks off its 2012 season with a home concert at 8 p.m. today in North Hall's Space/Place.

"I believe that the reason the dancers are putting themselves through this much work is to reach the audience intellectually or spiritually, to touch them, reach their hearts and entertain them," said

Eloy Barragán, the director of the company and a UI assistant professor of dance.

Dancers in Company consists of 12 dancers selected each year from an audition for all the students in the Dance Department. The group travels to communities and schools to perform.

In previous years, the group traveled to places across the nation and other countries, including Mexico, Taiwan, and China. Barragán said that this year, the troupe will concentrate on areas in Iowa.

"The main thing is to bring dance to the youth and to the communities who are in need of seeing the art form of dance," he said. "And it's not just dance, it's also the show as a whole: the costume design, the music choices, and the whole experience that the audience has."

Junior dance and elementary education major Ashley Michalek said she is grateful for the chance to be able to bring dance to new audiences.

"Just the joy that we can give them through performing and how excited they get is so satisfying," she said. "It just reminds me of how great it is to be able to dance and how important that is to me."

Being part of the group involves a huge time commitment, as well as having to balance dance, studies, other activities, and a personal life. But the members of the company said the rewards are worth the work.

"I think it's really helped me mature as a person, as a dancer, as a performer and as a student," said junior dance and physical-therapy major Claire Mueller.

Mueller, who is in her second season with the company, said one of her favorite dances to perform is a piece called "String Theory," choreographed by dance Professor Alan Sener. The dance also features an animated backdrop.

"When I'm doing that dance, it's really easy for me to mix my artistic life, which is the dancing, with the scientific life and mold them into one," she said. "The difficulty comes in finding a balance between the two and then being able to project that well to the audience."

Barragán said anyone will enjoy Dancers in Company's performance.

"For those who are familiar to the dance art form, they will see fantastic performances, and they will be the first ones to see this high quality of artistry and dance, not just technically but artistically," he said. "And for the audience who is seeing it for the first time, they will see a celebration of beauty, art, athleticism, poetry, and different styles of dance."

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