Dance Gala to feature choreography by UI Fellows

Dance Gala to feature choreography by UI Fellows

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Annual event also showcases work by UI dance faculty

For more than 30 years, the University of Iowa’s Dance Gala has wowed audiences by showcasing some of the best choreography and dance from one of the most highly acclaimed dance programs in the country.

Dance Gala 2013 will deliver on this promise yet again with choreography by UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences Alumni Fellow Simone Ferro and Grant Wood Fellow Esther Baker-Tarpaga, as well as choreography led by the department’s internationally acclaimed faculty Charlotte Adams, Eloy Barragán, and Jennifer Kayle.

Performances will take place at 8 p.m. Oct. 17-19 and 23-26, and at 2 p.m. Oct. 20, all in Space Place Theatre in North Hall.

portrait of Simone Ferro
Simone Ferro

Ferro is a native of São Paulo, Brazil. She joined the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in 2001, where she directed the Master of Fine Arts program in dance for several years, and serves as chair of the Department of Dance at the Peck School of the Arts.

After a professional career as soloist with dance companies in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, and Geneva, Switzerland, Ferro completed graduate work in dance at the UI. She has collaborated extensively with local dance, theater, and opera companies, including the Milwaukee Ballet, the Milwaukee Repertory Theatre, the Florentine Opera, the Milwaukee Chamber Orchestra, the Milwaukee Opera Theater, Danceworks Performance Company, Wild Space Dance Company, and Theatre Gigante.

Ferro’s piece for Dance Gala 2013, Magnetic Field, is a duet based on the changing roles of two people who are bound to each other. “Even when they draw apart and are physically separated, they are still bound by a magnetic field that holds them together. There is a taking for granted that they will always be there for each other. But there is also a constant shifting of strength; they trade roles, each carrying and being carried, leading and being led. Magnetic Field examines the paradox that it makes you stronger to know that you can rely on someone physically and emotionally.”

portrait of Esther Baker-Tarpaga
Esther Baker-Tarpaga

Grant Wood Interdisciplinary Performance Fellow Baker-Tarpaga is co-artistic director of Baker & Tarpaga Dance Project, a transnational dance theatre company founded in 2004. She co-directs with Olivier Tarpaga a dance, music, and intercultural collaboration summer workshop in Ouagadougou, Burkina Faso.

She taught at the Ohio State University Department of Dance, Rio Hondo Community College, and Cypress Community College, and led a study abroad program in Senegal at Germaine Acogny’s Ecole de Sables. Baker-Tarpaga received a B.A. from Bowdoin College and an M.A. and M.F.A. in dance from UCLA’s Department of World Arts and Cultures.

Her evening-length work Beautiful Struggle toured to I Trotra Contemporary Dance Festival in Madagascar, Jacob’s Pillow Inside Out Festival, and the King Arts Complex in Ohio. She was recently a Marin Headlands Artist in Residence and is currently collaborating with Hind Benali on a performance project titled Her Other Side. In April she performed with Guillermo Gomez-Pena La Pocha Nostra’s premiere of Corpo Insurrecto 3.0: The Robo Proletariat at the San Francisco Performance Art Institute.

Baker-Targpaga is the recipient of New York Live Arts Suitcase Fund, Battelle Endowment for Technology and Human Affairs, Ohio Arts Council Individual Excellence Award, Johnstone Fund for New Music, Durfee, Javits Fellowship, Coca-Cola Critical Difference for Women, and UCIRA grant.

Her piece for Dance Gala 2013, How does th!$ app work? lol feels like I’m mi$behaving, is a new contemporary dance theater piece that abstractly examines iPhone addiction and our physical relation to the object, extended media, and physical body.

“This piece was inspired by cultural addiction to phones and screen time,” Baker-Tarpaga says. “From Facebook to email to Twitter, we are becoming cyborg bodies. The device has become part of our bodies; in this work, we integrate and manipulate the actual phone as light source, documentation trace; invasive, private, public; and popular media.”

Prices for Dance Gala 2013 tickets are as follows:

  • $20 non-students
  • $15 seniors (65+)
  • $10 college students/youth
  • $100 Patron Tickets (includes an $80 contribution to the Department of Dance through the University of Iowa Foundation)

Tickets are available through the Hancher Box Office at 319-335-1160 or 800-426-2437 or online.

The Department of Dance is part of the Division of Performing Arts in the UI College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.

Individuals with disabilities are encouraged to attend all UI-sponsored events. If you are a person with a disability who requires an accommodation in order to participate in this program, contact the Hancher Box Office in advance at 319-335-1158.


Kristan Hellige, Division of Performing Arts, 319-335-3213


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