The internationally-acclaimed Joffrey Ballet plans to perform for one night only in Des Moines next month to benefit the University of Iowa’s Hancher Auditorium, which was destroyed in last year’s record flooding.
Chuck Swanson, Hancher’s executive director, says he’s thrilled this fundraiser in Iowa’s capital city coming together.
"On September 11th at 8 o’clock at the Civic Center (of Greater Des Moines), we are going to have a performance by the Joffrey with music by the University of Iowa Symphony Orchestra," Swanson says. "It is really a benefit for both Hancher and the University of Iowa School of Music."
The Chicago-based Joffrey is considered one of the top ballet companies in the world. In the midst the worst-ever flooding on the Iowa City campus last year, Swanson says he was contacted via email by the leaders of the ballet and the Des Moines auditorium with offers of help. This single performance is what resulted.
"It’s important for us to keep the arts alive," Swanson says. "The whole arts campus was really devastated by the flood and when you get offers like this, from the Des Moines Civic Center and from the Joffrey, it just shows you that good things come out of bad things." U-of-I officials are still in the process of determining where to build the new auditorium, as the current location on the banks of the Iowa River is clearly no longer an option. Swanson says the price tag for Hancher — Part Two — is a bit overwhelming.
"I’m understanding it’s over 300-million dollars," Swanson says. "It is a lot of money but yet it’s a great investment for the university. It’s a great investment for the state of Iowa. I’m just anxious because it’s going to affect and be a such great asset for generations and generations to come."
He says funding through FEMA, the Federal Emergency Management Agency, will apparently take care of 90% of that cost for rebuilding Hancher elsewhere on campus. For information about the Joffrey performance in Des Moines, visit "civiccenter.org" or call (800) 745-3000.