Dancers from across the state perform in Coralville

BY JULIA JESSEN | MAY 03, 2012 6:30 AM

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Dancers from across Iowa will flock to Coralville on Friday to showcase genres of dance ranging from ballet to Bollywood.

Iowa Dance 2012: Dancing our Visions is the local celebration of National Dance Week and International Dance Day. At 8 p.m. Friday, an eclectic mix of dance groups will perform at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts, 1301 Fifth St.

"Having dancers and choreographers together is always a great thing," said UI pharmaceuticals chemist Nora Garda, an organizer of the event. "We like to see what other dancers are doing, and we like to show what we're doing, so it's a nice exchange."

The annual event started in 2007, and this is the first time that the concert will be performed in a real theater and not an impromptu performing space, such as the Pedestrian Mall or the Public Library. Also, this year is the first time that the organizers have had to limit the number of groups attending because there was such an overwhelming response to the invitation.

"We try to have a variety in the dance styles and also have people from all over the state of Iowa come, and that is not always so easy," Garda said. "We work on a very limited budget, and we can't pay the artists to come, so the people who come and perform — it's really because they love to do it."

One of the groups performing at the concert is Travelers Dance, an Iowa City modern-dance company. The group will perform a piece that incorporates the writing of poet and former Iowa Writers' Workshop Professor Marvin Bell.

Angie Hayes, the artistic director of Travelers and the choreographer of the piece, said she will enjoy seeing the effect her choreography has on the audience.

"It's really fun for me to see the reaction of the audience to the different movements, because everybody will get something different from it even though I'm working from a basic idea that I want to get across," she said. "It's wonderful to see the different interpretations people have."

University of Iowa senior Briana Byrd, who will perform at the event with the Davenport-based Imani Dancers, said dancing allows her to communicate ideas that can only be expressed through movement.

"I would say I love that it lets me express myself in ways that I wouldn't be able to otherwise," she said. "It's very empowering, and it gives me a sense of strength that I think can be lacked vocally."

Byrd said she enjoys being able to share her passion with other dancers.

"We can all come together and really enjoy the movement that each of us has to present," she said. "It's very enriching experience, and it's something that we can all appreciate together."

Iowa Dance is a way for Iowans to participate in National Dance Week and International Dance Day and demonstrate their appreciation for the art form.

"Being in Iowa and having the possibility of saying we are celebrating those two big things in Iowa as well is a good feeling," Garda said.

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