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InterDance holds events for International Dance Day

BY CLAIRE DIETZ | APRIL 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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Dancers perform at the Coralville Center for the Performing Arts as part of the 2014 InterDance event. (Photo contributed by Carol Crow Johnk)

In the run-up to the International Dance Day on April 29, UNESCO's official Dance Day Around the World webpage highlighted an Iowa City event Tuesday.

InterDance, created nine years ago by Nora Garda, celebrates the world of dance in the state of Iowa.

It features two days of free performances and workshops throughout central Iowa City on Friday and Saturday. The events include tango at Trumpet Blossom Café, 310 E. Prentiss St., performances by dance companies on the Pentacrest, and workshops featuring Afro-Caribbean-Indian dance at Gateway Dance Theater, 700 S. Dubuque St.

A lover of dance and a chemist, Garda said more people should be aware of how dance has grown as an art in Iowa City.

"I have a big passion for dance, and I believe that more people should dance," she said. "We wanted to get together with dancers, share the work, share the problems, share the finished work, share the in-progress work. And not only established groups but also groups that do not have many opportunities to show their work."

University of Iowa dance Associate Professor Eloy Barragán will serve as a keynote speaker at Dance For the Camera at Fair Grounds Café, 345 S. Dubuque St., on Saturday.

"One of the things for me that is very important is that the university gets more involved in the community," Barragán said. "InterDance has definitely affected the community, not only the dance community but also the larger Iowa City community, because it allows people to see that dance is still very alive." 

Terri Miller Chait of Chait Galleries, 218 E. Washington St., who is a volunteer for InterDance, said the program benefits audiences and performers, particularly in workshops led by professional dancers.

"Because dancers are often performing, they don't have the opportunity to connect with other dancers, and these workshops allow them to connect," she said. "For the audience … it's sort of like a gallery walk where you go from one place to the next to see what type of dances are going to be presented."

Lisa Baum, a volunteer and the development director at KCCK 88.3, said InterDance was once hosted by the Coralville Center for Performing Arts — but now that Garda has brought it to Iowa City, more people are likely to turn out.

"I love that [Garda] is dancing in places that are not really dance places," Baum said. "Who's thinking about dancing at the Trumpet Blossom? But, why not? … We're just in these fabulous upside-down places."

InterDance has the potential to expand local culture, said Casey Cook, a community advocate and volunteer for the program.

"I think so much of living in Iowa City is quality of life," she said. "It's these sorts of things that weave the community together and give them an opportunity to talk about these experiences together. It is a very positive thing."

While not every dance genre will be represented, Garda said, audiences should expect a broad range of styles, including ballet, hip-hop, jazz, swing, and Irish step.

Baum — along with her fellow InterDance organizers — said Garda is making strides to foster local creativity.

"We absolutely have a dance oasis in Iowa City," she said. "The face of this is Nora Garda, and she is leading the charge."


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