The University of Iowa’s bringing the renowned Joffrey Ballet to Iowa for a series of free shows across the state. The occasion is the 35th anniversary of the school’s Hancher Auditorium, and Executive Director Chuck Swanson says they wanted to include all Iowans, not just those who could buy a ticket and come to the theater.
They wanted to give a gift back to the state — “because if it wouldn’t be for the state, there wouldn’t be a Hancher Auditorium.” Swanson says each performance across the state will be on a specially-built outdoor stage. He says the shows will be free and accessible to people of all ages, including those who can’t afford to go to a ballet performance and those who’ve never seen it before.
Judy Hurtig is artistic director at Hancher. Every time they bring the Joffrey Ballet to the Hancher Auditorium, she says people come there from all over Iowa. So after building an audience for classical ballet, she says they hope to expand that and “bring that magic to Iowans all across the state.”
Hancher’s raised three-quarters of the 650-thousand dollars it’s expected to cost. Organizers decided they didn’t want another gala like they put on for the 30th anniversary, the twenty-fifth, twentieth and fifteenth. Instead of a “big gorgeous party in Hancher,” they wanted to do something different, and gift a gift to the state of Iowa. The dance company will make stops in Des Moines, Council Bluffs, Muscatine, Cedar Rapids, and Iowa City.